6 Lesson Plans
Reading Like a Historian: Albert Parsons SAC
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents and engage in a Structured Academic Controversy in an effort to answer the central historical question: Was [Haymarket Riot defendant] Albert Parsons a dangerous man? First, the teacher uses a timeline to introduce Haymarket and the 8 men put on trial in its aftermath. Students are then given 6 documents-several by Parsons himself, but also a newspaper account of the trial, trial testimony, and a 2006 secondary source-and answer guiding questions. Students then divide into groups of 4 and into pairs within each group. Each pair presents the argument to the other that Parson was/was not "dangerous"; only at the end can students abandon their previous positions, reach consensus in writing as a group, and defend that view in a final class discussion.
Reading Like a Historian: Chinese Immigration and Exclusion
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: What factors contributed to the Chinese Exclusion Act? After a mini-lecture on the Transcontinental Railroad, students read a timeline and formulate hypotheses as to why Chinese were legally excluded from mainstream society in 1882. They then answer guiding questions on 4 documents: 1) an anti-Chinese play, 2) a Thomas Nast cartoon, 3) an anti-Chinese speech, and 4) the autobiography of a Chinese immigrant. For homework, students write a 1-page answer to the central question using evidence from the documents.
Reading Like a Historian: Homestead Strike
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did the Homestead Strike turn violent? The teacher first recaps labor/industry relations of the era and introduces the Homestead Strike with a timeline. The teacher then models sourcing and close reading techniques with a document: Emma Goldman's 1931 autobiography. Students then do the same with an 1892 newspaper interview of Henry Frick, followed by corroboration guiding questions that pit the 2 authors against each other. In a final class discussion, students evaluate the validity of the sources and debate whether the historical "truth" about the strike is knowable.
Reading Like a Historian: Pullman Strike
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: How did Chicago newspapers cover the Pullman strike? The teacher begins by placing the Pullman strike in the context of other labor strikes and using a PowerPoint to convey basic information. Students are then divided into 4 groups, and each is given a different set of articles-1 each from the Chicago Times and Chicago Tribune-and told to use close reading strategies to figure out which paper was biased against the strikers and which favored them. Finally, each group chooses a representative to present to the entire class how that group arrived at its conclusion.
Reading Like a Historian: The 1898 North Carolina Election
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did the Democrats defeat the Fusion ticket in the 1898 North Carolina election? The teacher first recaps Southern politics and Populism, and then goes over a timeline. Students, in groups, analyze 3 documents-an account of a speech by Senator Ben Tillman, a proclamation by Governor Daniel Russell, and a race-baiting political cartoon-and answer guiding questions. A final class discussion attempts to explain why Democrats won in 1898.
Reading Like a Historian: The Battle of the Little Bighorn
In this lesson, students analyze primary and secondary sources in an effort to answer the central historical question: Who was responsible for the Battle of the Little Bighorn? After a mini-lecture on the late 1800s Indian Wars, students read a textbook account of the battle, and then compare it to 2 documents: 1) a report by the War Secretary, and 2) an account by Kate Bighead, a Cheyenne Indian. Students answer guiding questions for all documents, followed by a class discussion. For homework, students write a new textbook account using primary source information.