In this lesson, students will integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information about Brown v. Board of Education and the struggle for civil rights before and after the case through discussion, music, and video, using reasoning and evidence from class discussions to be inspired to do their part to educate and stop discrimination.
This resource is a lesson plan in which students analyze the 15th Amendment to the Constitution and then learn about the obstacles to actual voting rights that persisted in the post-Reconstruction South (black codes, poll taxes, lynching, etc.). It features a group-based assessment and a follow-up activity in which students create their own political cartoon.
In this lesson, students will determine to what extent the Cuban Missile Crisis changed the Cold War as they analyze primary and secondary documents, including letters and telegrams from President Kennedy First Secretary Khrushchev, regarding events that brought the United States and the Soviet Union to the brink of nuclear war.
This web resource from Smithsonian's History Explorer presents a series of lesson plans related to the American presidency. Through the lessons' activities and content, students will understand the evolution of presidential campaigns, explore the roles and responsibilities of the presidency, and learn about historical movements/events which limited the power of the position. Students will also research the impact of the media on the President's image and conduct interviews related to presidential loss/mourning.
In this lesson, students analyze primary and secondary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Is the image of the "happy 1950s housewife" accurate? The teacher first introduces the time period and some of its features: the baby boom, the GI Bill, suburbia, Leave it to Beaver. The teacher then shows images of the "happy housewife" from 50s-era publications. In groups, students analyze 2 documents: a Harper's magazine article on suburbia and a passage from Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique. They complete a graphic organizer that includes a hypothesis: does the stereotype seem true? Students then do the same with 2 more documents: secondary source analyses by Joanne Meyerowitz and Alice Kessler-Harris. The class completes the graphic organizer and shares final hypotheses in a group discussion: Should we believe the stereotype? How about the experience of minority women?
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did many Americans oppose the Vietnam War? First, students view 2 anti-war images and a timeline of anti-war events. They fill out a graphic organizer and formulate a hypothesis that answers the central question; discussion follows. Students then read 2 documents: a speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. and John Kerry's testimony before Congress. For both, they complete questions on a graphic organizer. Final class discussion: Why did anti-war sentiment grow? Did only college kinds participate? How do you think supporters of the war might have responded?
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Was JFK a strong supporter of Civil Rights? First, the teacher streams a video clip from Discovery Education on JFK and civil rights. Students form a hypothesis and discuss whether JFK was "strong" on civil rights based on this. Students then read a 1963 JFK speech supporting the Civil Rights Act; as a class, they answer sourcing, close reading and context questions and revisit their hypothesis. Students then read John Lewis's controversial original draft of the speech he delivered at the March on Washington. They answer guiding questions which corroborate both documents and attempt to reach a conclusion. If there is time, the teacher may bookend the lesson with another clip which shows how LBJ signed the eventual law into action.
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: How should we remember the dropping of the atomic bomb? First, students are told that they will choose an appropriate photo to accompany a U.N. website commemorating the dropping of the bomb. Students are then introduced to 2 narratives about WWII: "Hiroshima as Victimization" (the Japanese point of view) vs. "Hiroshima as Triumph" (the American point of view). The class is then divided into 2 halves, each of which looks at a variety of source documents-anecdotes, letters, and data-through its side's point of view only. Students then form groups of 4 to choose which image should be used in the "website." Each group shares its image and explains why they chose it. In a final discussion, the class talks about whether the bomb should have been dropped and whether they can second-guess a decision like Truman's.
In this lesson, designed to follow a more general study of the New Deal, students analyze primary and secondary source documents and engage in a Structured Academic Controversy in an effort to answer the central historical question: Was the New Deal a success or a failure? Students receive 7 documents, including a "fireside chat" by FDR, an oral interview, a speech by a WPA representative, unemployment statistics, and song lyrics by the Carter Family. Students then divide into groups of 4 and into pairs within each group to analyze the documents using a graphic organizer. Each pair presents the argument to the other that the New Deal was either (Pair A) successful or (Pair B) a failure. 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.
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: What was life like for Mexicans and Mexican-Americans in the 1920s? Students look at 3 documents: 1) an oral interview of a Mexican immigrant, 2) a traditional Mexican corrido ballad, and 3) a 2003 article from Journal of Social History that contains data on lynching. For each, students complete questions on a graphic organizer in groups. Class discussion: do you trust these documents? What other information would you like to see?
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why was the 18th Amendment adopted? Students first read the text of the amendment and answer brief guiding questions. Then, the teacher streams a video clip from Discovery Education about the temperance movement. Students then analyze, in small groups, 4 documents: 1) a statement by the National Temperance Council, 2) a New York Times article, 3) a propaganda poster, "Alcohol and Degeneracy," and 4) another such poster, "Children in Misery." For each, they answer detailed guiding questions. A final class discussion evaluates the strategies of temperance advocates: are their arguments convincing?
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did people, including women, oppose women's suffrage? It is recommended (but not essential) that the teacher begin by screening some of the HBO film Iron Jawed Angels to start a discussion about the motives of anti-suffragists. In groups, students then analyze 3 documents: 1) an excerpt from Molly Seawell's anti-suffragist book, 2) an anti-suffrage newspaper article, and 3) a speech by Tennessee Congressman John Moon. For each, students answer questions on a graphic organizer. In a final class discussion, students discuss the validity of anti-suffragists' motives, relate them to the film, and discuss what other sources they might want to read for further corroboration and contextualization.
In this lesson, students will study the first outbreak of violence in the American Revolution in an effort to answer the central historical question: What happened at the Battle of Lexington? Through sourcing and contextualization questions students will study a textbook passage on the battle, two primary source documents (one from a British soldier and one from a group of minutemen), and two paintings of the battle. As a final assessment, students will rewrite the textbook's account, taking into account the new perspectives they have learned.
In this lesson, students study the Great Awakening and one of its most notable preachers, George Whitefield, in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why was George Whitefield so popular? After viewing an online film clip and a brief PowerPoint to establish context for the Great Awakening and some of its "superstar" preachers, students are presented with three primary sources regarding Whitefield:
a long-after-the-fact anecdote by Benjamin Franklin,
a contemporary (but undated) account by a born-again Whitefield follower Nathan Cole, and
a hostile and dismissive letter by a rival preacher, Nathanael Henchman.
For each, students answer sourcing and contextualization questions and formulate a hypothesis as to Whitefield's popularity. A culminating class discussion addresses the central question.
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Were the Irish considered "white" in the 19th century? The teacher introduces the topic with background information on anti-Irish hostility. Students are then split into groups of 4 and given 2 political cartoons (one by Thomas Nast), a primary source except from a Know-Nothing newspaper, and a secondary source by historian David Roediger. For each, they answer guiding questions, and then, using all 4 documents, compare evidence that Irish were/were not considered "white." A final class discussion addresses the racially ambiguous status of the Irish.
In this lesson, students analyze primary sources in an effort to answer the central historical question: What was life like in American cities during the Industrial Era? The teacher introduces progressive photojournalist Jacob Riis and projects 2 of his photos; discussion questions ask students if the pictures are trustworthy (posed) and what they might tell us about Riis's audience. Students then read excerpts from Riis's book How the Other Half Lives: ugly stereotypes of ethnic Italians, Chinese, and Jews. Students answer guiding questions on the documents, and a final class discussion explores what Riis's work really tells about American urban life at this time.
In this lesson, students analyze primary sources in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did Teddy Roosevelt oppose the segregation of San Francisco's public schools? The teacher first informs students of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the resultant attempted segregation of Japanese students. Students then read 4 source documents-letters and public speeches-in which President Roosevelt discusses his reasons for opposing the law, as well as a political cartoon addressing the issue. For each, students answer questions on a graphic organizer: Why do you think TR opposed the issue? What can you infer about the U.S. in 1906? Finally, the class goes over a timeline of relevant events, enabling the teacher to show how reading contextually lets students learn historical context from documents. Students then respond in writing, using all evidence to reach a conclusion of their own.
In this lesson, students analyze maps, art, and primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: How did Americans justify westward expansion? To begin the lesson, students will examine a painting entitled "American Progress. "Students will compare 2 maps of the U.S.: a political map from 1872 and an electoral map from 1816. Next, students examine another 1816 map; the map is unusual in that it depicts the U.S. stretching to the Pacific—decades before this actually happened! Students will read 2 passages by John O'Sullivan, coiner of the phrase "Manifest Destiny," and answer guiding questions. A final class discussion reviews students' answers and touches on the subject of American Exceptionalism.
This lesson plan requires students to compare/contrast two maps, one from 1636 and the other from 1651, of early colonial Virginia. Students will think about how and why maps change over time, including how maps might be affected by changing historical events.
In this lesson, students analyze political cartoons in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did the United States annex the Philippines after the Spanish-American War? The teacher first uses a timeline to review basic information about the war, then distributes Rudyard Kipling's poem "The White Man's Burden," which students analyze in pairs. Then, students are split into 6 groups and receive 2 different cartoons each: 1 from a pro-imperial magazine like Judge or Puck, and 1 from an anti-imperial magazine like Life or The World. Using a graphic organizer, students examine the cartoons and then present 1 of them to the class, explaining how the cartoonist makes his point. A final class discussion contextualizes the cartoons and the events of the late 1890s.
This lesson focuses around two different versions of John Smith's "rescue" by Pocahontas. Students compare and contrast the two versions and encounter the idea of subjectivity versus objectivity in primary source historical documents. Finally, they read the brief opinions of two historians who provide their perspectives on the incident.
In this lesson, students investigate and answer the central historical question: What caused the Salem Witch Crisis of 1692? After brainstorming and learning some background context for the witch trials, pairs of students read and answer sourcing questions for 2 primary sources: a Cotten Mather speech and the testimony of Abigail Hobbs, a teenager accused of witchcraft. After they draw preliminary conclusions, students are then given 2 more documents—a chart and a map—which ground the witch trials in an economic and geographic context. Students ultimately draw on all 4 documents to explain the witch trials' cause in writing, and then share their conclusions with the class.
In this lesson, students analyze primary sources in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did the U.S invade Cuba? The teacher streams a short film (link included) while students take notes as to possible reasons for the invasion. Students then read the following: 1) song lyrics of an anti-Spanish propaganda a song written after the Maine sinking, 2) a telegram sent by Fitzhugh Lee, U.S. Consul-General in Cuba, and 3) a Senate campaign speech from Albert Beveridge. For each, students complete a graphic organizer and guiding questions. A final class discussion goes back to the original class hypotheses and determines which ones are most supported by the evidence.
In this lesson, students analyze the political cartoons of Thomas Nast in an effort to answer the central historical question: How did Northern attitudes toward freed African Americans change during Reconstruction? The teacher first shows students a contemporary political cartoon (not included) and explains how cartoons can teach us about the context of their time. Students then answer sourcing questions about Nast and analyze 2 of his cartoons: 1 from 1865 (in favor of black suffrage) and another from 1874 (dubious of the same). A final class discussion synthesizes students' opinions.
Type: Lesson Plan
Vetted resources students can use to learn the concepts and skills in this benchmark.
Vetted resources caregivers can use to help students learn the concepts and skills in this benchmark.