|The 1828 Campaign of Andrew Jackson and the Growth of Party Politics
Curriculum Unit overview. Changes in voting qualifications and participation, the election of Andrew Jackson, and the formation of the Democratic Party—due largely to the organizational skills of Martin Van Buren—all contributed to making the election of 1828 and Jackson’s presidency a watershed in the evolution of the American political system. In this unit, students analyze changes in voter participation and regional power, and review archival campaign documents reflecting the dawn of politics as we know it during the critical years from 1824 to 1832.
|300 Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae: Herodotus’ Real History
Students may be familiar with this famous battle from its depiction in Zack Snyder's movie 300, based on Frank Miller's graphic novel. In this lesson students learn about the historical background to the battle and are asked to ponder some of its legacy, including how history is reported and interpreted from different perspectives.
|Abraham Lincoln on the American Union: “A Word Fitly Spoken”
Curriculum unit. By examining Lincoln's three most famous speeches—the Gettysburg Address and the First and Second Inaugural Addresses—in addition to a little known fragment on the Constitution, union, and liberty, students trace what these documents say regarding the significance of union to the prospects for American self-government.
|African-American Communities in the North Before the Civil War
Fully one-third of Patriot soldiers at the Battle of Bunker Hill were African Americans. Census data also reveal that there were slaves and free Blacks living in the North in 1790 and after. What do we know about African-American communities in the North in the years after the American Revolution?
|African-American Soldiers After World War I: Had Race Relations Changed?
In this lesson, students view archival photographs, combine their efforts to comb through a database of more than 2,000 archival newspaper accounts about race relations in the United States, and read newspaper articles written from different points of view about post-war riots in Chicago.
|African-American Soldiers in World War I: The 92nd and 93rd Divisions
Late in 1917, the War Department created two all-black infantry divisions. The 93rd Infantry Division received unanimous praise for its performance in combat, fighting as part of France’s 4th Army. In this lesson, students combine their research in a variety of sources, including firsthand accounts, to develop a hypothesis evaluating contradictory statements about the performance of the 92nd Infantry Division in World War I.
|African-Americans and the New Deal’s Civilian Conservation Corps
The Civilian Conservation Corps, a New Deal recovery and relief program provided more than a quarter of a million young black men with jobs during the Depression. By examining primary source documents students analyze the impact of this program on race relations in America and assess the role played by the New Deal in changing them.
|After the American Revolution: Free African Americans in the North
About one-third of Patriot soldiers at the Battle of Bunker Hill were African Americans. Census data also reveal that there were slaves and free Blacks living in the North in 1790 and later years. What were the experiences of African-American individuals in the North in the years between the American Revolution and the Civil War?
|The Alphabet is Historic
Curiculum Unit overview. The youngest and newest writers often have a deep interest in the origin of writing
itself. These lessons will follow the history of our alphabet.
|American Colonial Life in the Late 1700s: Distant Cousins
This lesson introduces students to American colonial life and has them compare the daily life and culture of two different colonies in the late 1700s. Students study artifacts of the thirteen original British colonies and write letters between fictitious cousins in Massachusetts and Delaware.
|American Diplomacy in World War II
Curriculum unit overview. This four-lesson curriculum unit will examine the nature of what Winston Churchill
called the "Grand Alliance" between the United States, Great Britain, and the
Soviet Union in opposition to the aggression of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.
|The American War for Independence
Curriculum Unit overview. The decision of Britain's North American colonies to rebel against the Mother Country was an extremely risky one. In this unit, consisting of three lesson plans, students will learn about the diplomatic and military aspects of the American War for Independence.
|“An Expression of the American Mind”: Understanding the Declaration of Independence
This lesson plan looks at the major ideas in the Declaration of Independence, their origins, the Americans’ key grievances against the King and Parliament, their assertion of sovereignty, and the Declaration’s process of revision. Upon completion of the lesson, students will be familiar with the document’s origins, and the influences that produced Jefferson’s “expression of the American mind.”
|Angkor What? Angkor Wat!
Beginning in the 9th century the Khmer empire, which was based in what is today
northwestern Cambodia, began to gather power and territory in mainland Southeast
Asia. It would grow to be one of the largest empires in Southeast Asian history.
In this lesson, students will learn about Angkor Wat and its place in Cambodian,
and Southeast Asian, history. Students will attempt to “read” the
temple, in a way which resembles the reading of a primary document, to gain
insight into this history.
|Animals of the Chinese Zodiac
In this lesson plan, students will learn about the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac. In the process, they will learn about Chinese culture, as well as improve reading, writing, and researching skills
|Anishinabe - Ojibwe - Chippewa: Culture of an Indian Nation
This lesson focuses on one American Indian Nation, the Anishinabe, also known as the Ojibwe, Ojibway, or Chippewa Indians. Students will learn how to conduct a research project on different historical, geographical, and cultural aspects of this Native American group.
|Anne Frank: One of Hundreds of Thousands
Drawing upon the online archives of the U.S. Holocaust Museum, this lesson helps students to put the events described by Anne Frank into historical perspective, and also serves as a broad overview of the Nazi conquest of Europe during World War II. After surveying the experiences of various countries under Nazi occupation, the lesson ends with activities related specifically to the Netherlands and Anne Frank.
|Anne Frank: Writer
This lesson concentrates on Anne Frank as a writer. After a look at Anne Frank the adolescent, and a consideration of how the experiences of growing up shaped her composition of the Diary, students explore some of the writing techniques Anne invented for herself and practice those techniques with material drawn from their own lives.
|Argument in an Athenian Jail: Socrates and the Law
Debate the relationship between individual rights and the rule of law with a philosopher condemned to death.
|Australian Aboriginal Art and Storytelling
Australian Aboriginal art is one of the oldest continuing art traditions in the world. Much of the most important knowledge of aboriginal society was conveyed through different kinds of storytelling.
|The Aztecs — Mighty Warriors of Mexico
The Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan was the hub of a rich civilization that dominated the region of modern-day Mexico at the time the Spanish forces arrived. In this lesson, students will learn about the history and culture of the Aztecs and discover why their civilization came to an abrupt end.
|Background on the Patriot Attitude Toward the Monarchy
Understanding the Patriot attitude toward the British monarchy is helpful in understanding the Founders’ reluctance to have a strong executive under the Articles of Confederation as well as their desire to build in checks of executive power under the Constitution.
|Balancing Three Branches at Once: Our System of Checks and Balances
Learn about the checks and balances system of the three branches of the U.S. government.
|The Beauty of Anglo-Saxon Poetry: A Prelude to Beowulf
After encountering visually stunning examples of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts and engaging with the literary conventions of Anglo-Saxon poetry, students will be prepared to study Beowulf. Dispelling stereotypes about the so-called “dark ages,” this lesson helps students learn about the production of early manuscripts and the conventions of Anglo-Saxon poetry, solve online riddles, and write riddles of their own.
|Before and Beyond the Constitution: What Should a President do?
In this curriculum unit, students look at the role of President as defined in the Constitution and consider the precedent-setting accomplishments of George Washington
|Before Brother Fought Brother: Life in the North and South 1847-1861
Curriculum Unit overview. More Americans lost their lives in the Civil War than in any other conflict. How did the United States arrive at a point at which the South seceded and some families were so fractured that brother fought brother?
|Born on a Mountaintop? Davy Crockett, Tall Tales, and History
Using the life of Davy Crockett as a model, students learn the characteristics of tall tales and how these stories reflect their historical moment. The lesson culminates with students writing a tall tale of their own.
|The Boston Tea Party: Costume Optional?
By exploring historical accounts of events surrounding the Boston Tea Party, students learn about the sources and methods that historians use to reconstruct what happened in the past.
|The Campaign of 1840: William Henry Harrison and Tyler, Too
Curriculum Unit overview. After the debacle of the one-party presidential campaign of 1824, a new two-party
system began to emerge. Strong public reaction to perceived corruption in the
vote in the House of Representatives, as well as the popularity of Andrew Jackson,
allowed Martin Van Buren to organize a Democratic Party that resurrected a Jeffersonian
philosophy of minimalism in the federal government. What issues were important to the presidential campaign of 1840? Why is the
campaign of 1840 often cited as the first modern campaign?
|Carl Sandburg’s “Chicago”: Bringing a Great City Alive
In this lesson students examine primary documents including photographs, film, maps, and essays to learn about Chicago at the turn of the 20th century and make predictions about Carl Sandburg's famous poem. After examining the poem's use of personification and apostrophe, students write their own pieces about beloved places with Sandburg's poem as a model.
|Cave Art: Discovering Prehistoric Humans through Pictures
By studying paintings from the Cave of Lascaux and other caves in France, students will discover that pictures can be a way of communicating beliefs and ideas and can give us clues today about what life was like long ago.
|Certain Crimes Against the United States: The Sedition Act
Curriculum Unit overview. As the end of the 18th century drew near, relations between the United States and France were deteriorating. In 1797 President Adams expressed his concern about the possibility of war with France and dissension at home caused by France and its supporters. At the same time, two opposing political parties were developing in the U.S., with Thomas Jefferson-led Democratic-Republicans tending to sympathize with France in foreign policy. Their loyalty was called into question by the Federalists. It was a dangerous time both for the security of the young Republic and the freedoms its citizens enjoyed.
|Charlotte Perkins Gilman's “The Yellow Wall-paper”—The “New Woman”
Charlotte Perkins Gilman's story "The Yellow Wall-paper" was written during this time of great change. This lesson plan, the first part of a two-part lesson, helps to set the historical, social, cultural, and economic context of Gilman's story.
|Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wall-paper”—Writing Women
Charlotte Perkins Gilman's story "The Yellow Wall-paper" was written during this time of great change. This lesson plan, the first part of a two-part lesson, helps to set the historical, social, cultural, and economic context of Gilman's story.
|Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart: Teaching Through the Novel
This lesson introduces students to Achebe's first novel and to his views on the role of the writer in his or her society.
|Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart: Oral and Literary Strategies
Through close reading and textual analysis of Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe's 1958 novel about the British colonization of Nigeria, students learn how oral, linguistic, and literary strategies are used to present one’s own story and history through literature.
|Choosing Sides: The Native Americans' Role in the American Revolution
Native American groups had to choose the loyalist or patriot cause—or somehow maintain a neutral stance during the Revolutionary War. Students will analyze maps, treaties, congressional records, first-hand accounts, and correspondence to determine the different roles assumed by Native Americans in the American Revolution and understand why the various groups formed the alliances they did.
|Colonial Broadsides and the American Revolution
Drawing on the resources of the Library of Congress's Printed Ephemera Collection, this lesson helps students experience the news as the colonists heard it: by means of broadsides, notices written on disposable, single sheets of paper that addressed virtually every aspect of the American Revolution.
|Colonial Broadsides: A Student-Created Play
In this lesson, student groups create a short, simple play based on their study of broadsides written just before the American Revolution. By analyzing the attitudes and political positions are revealed in the broadsides, students learn about the sequence of events that led to the Revolution
|Common Sense: The Rhetoric of Popular Democracy
In 1776 Tom Paine, an obscure immigrant, published a small pamphlet that ignited independence in America by shifting the political landscape of the patriot movement from reform within the British imperial system to independence from it. This lesson looks at Paine and at some of the ideas presented in Common Sense, such as national unity, natural rights, the illegitimacy of the monarchy and of hereditary aristocracy, and the necessity for independence and the revolutionary struggle.
|Common Visions, Common Voices
Trace similar motifs in the artwork and folklore of India, Africa, the Maya, and Native Americans.
|Competing Voices of the Civil Rights Movement
When most people think of the Civil Rights Movement in America, they think of Martin Luther King, Jr. Delivering his "I Have a Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. But "the Movement" achieved its greatest results due to the competing strategies and agendas of diverse individuals. This unit presents the views of several
important black leaders who shaped the debate over how to achieve freedom and equality in our nation.
|Congressional Committees and the Legislative Process
Learn how committees influence the legislative agenda and why your representatives’ committee assignments matter to you.
|The Constitutional Convention of 1787
The delegates at the 1787 Convention faced a challenge as arduous as those who worked throughout the 1780s to initiate reforms to the American political system. In this unit, students will examine the roles that key American founders played in creating the Constitution, and the challenges they faced in the process.
|The Constitutional Convention: Four Founding Fathers You May Never Have Met
Witness the unfolding drama of the Constitutional Convention and the contributions of those whom we have come to know as the Founding Fathers. In this lesson, students will become familiar with four important, but relatively unknown, contributors to the U.S. Constitution Convention: Oliver Ellsworth, Alexander Hamilton, William Paterson, and Edmund Randolph.
|The Constitutional Convention: What the Founding Fathers Said
To what shared principles did the Founding Fathers appeal as they struggled to reach a compromise in the Constitutional Convention? In this lesson, students will learn how the Founding Fathers debated then resolved their differences in the Constitution. Learn through their own words how the Founding Fathers created “a model of cooperative statesmanship and the art of compromise."
|Couriers in the Inca Empire: Getting Your Message Across
Focusing on the means used by the Incas to send messages over long distances, this lesson plan illustrates one of the many creative ways throughout history that humans have devised to meet a universal need -- that of cross-country communication. The lesson introduces students to the Inca Empire, which extended from northern Ecuador to central Chile and from the Andes to the west coast of South America between 1200 and 1535 AD.
|Critical Ways of Seeing The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in Context
By studying Mark Twain's novel, Huckleberry Finn, and its critics with a focus on cultural context, students will develop essential analytical tools for navigating this text and for exploring controversies that surround this quintessential American novel.
See how the rhetoric of women’s rights evolved from the “Declaration of Sentiments” of 1848 to the suffragist arguments that finally prevailed.
|The Debate in the United States over the League of Nations
Curriculum Unit overview. American foreign policy continues to resonate with the issues surrounding the debate over U.S. entry into the League of Nations-collective security versus national sovereignty, idealism versus pragmatism, the responsibilities of powerful nations, the use of force to accomplish idealistic goals, the idea of America. Understanding the debate over the League and the consequences of its ultimate failure provides insight into international affairs in the years since the end of the Great War and beyond. In this lesson, students read the words and listen to the voices of some central participants in the debate over the League of Nations.
|Declare the Causes: The Declaration of Independence
Help your students see the development of the Declaration as both an historical process and a writing process through the use of role play and creative writing.
|Dr. King's Dream
Students will listen to a brief biography, view photographs of the March on Washington, hear a portion of King's I Have a Dream speech, and discuss what King's words mean to them.
|Dramatizing History in Arthur Miller's The Crucible
By closely reading historical documents and attempting to interpret them, students consider how Arthur Miller interpreted the facts of the Salem witch trials and how he successfully dramatized them in his play, The Crucible. As they explore historical materials, such as the biographies of key players (the accused and the accusers) and transcripts of the Salem Witch trials themselves, students will be guided by aesthetic and dramatic concerns: In what ways do historical events lend themselves (or not) to dramatization? What makes a particular dramatization of history effective and memorable?
|Dust Bowl Days
Students will be introduced to this dramatic era in our nation's history through photographs, songs and interviews with people who lived through the Dust Bowl.
|The Eagle Has Landed: Aztecs Find a Home
This lesson introduces students to the Aztec Empire and people and to the legend of their founding of Tenochtitlan, the city that later became the capital of Mexico.
|Edith Wharton: War Correspondent
Through reading chapters of Edith Wharton's book, Fighting France, From
Dunkerque to Belfort, students will see how an American correspondent recounted
World War I for American readers.
|Edward Hopper's House by the Railroad: From Painting to Poem
After a close reading and comparison of Edward Hopper's painting House by the Railroad and Edward Hirsch's poem about the painting, students explore the types of emotion generated by each work in the viewer or reader and examine how the painter and poet each achieved these responses.
|Egypt’s Pyramids: Monuments with a Message
This lesson introduces students to Egyptian pyramids and to artifacts and archaeology in general. Through a discussion of the size, scale, and purpose of pyramids, students learn how these structures tell audiences of today about the peoples of ancient Egypt. An extension lesson allows students to consider what messages modern monuments provide about present-day cultures.
|Egyptian Symbols and Figures: Hieroglyphs
Students will examine the art and history of ancient Egypt through the oldest writing system in the world. This lesson teaches students how to understand and write Egyptian hieroglyphs.
|Egyptian Symbols and Figures: Scroll Paintings
This lesson introduces students to Egyptian art, culture, and history through the ancient tomb paintings and mythological figures of the Book of the Dead.
|Eleanor Roosevelt and the Rise of Social Reform in the 1930s
This lesson asks students to explore the various roles that Eleanor Roosevelt a key figure in several of the most important social reform movements of the twentieth century took on, among them: First Lady, political activist for civil rights, newspaper columnist and author, and representative to the United Nations.
|The Election Is in the House: The Presidential Election of 1824
Curriculum Unit overview. The presidential election of 1824 represents a watershed in American politics. The collapse of the Federalist Party and the illness of the "official candidate" of the Democratic-Republicans led to a slate of candidates who were all Democratic-Republicans. This led to the end of the Congressional Caucus system for nominating candidates, and eventually, the development of a new two-party system in the United States. In this unit, students will read an account of the election from the Journal of the House of Representatives, analyze archival campaign materials, and use an interactive online activity to develop a better understanding of the election of 1824 and its significance.
|The Emancipation Proclamation: Freedom's First Steps
(Formerly titled "Attitudes Toward Emancipation"). Why was the Emancipation Proclamation important? While the Civil War began as a war to restore the Union, not to end slavery, by 1862 President Abraham Lincoln came to believe that he could save the Union only by broadening the goals of the war. Students can explore the obstacles and alternatives America faced in making the journey toward "a more perfect Union."
|The Emergence and Evolution of the Cuneiform Writing System in Ancient Mesopotamia
The earliest writing systems evolved independently and at roughly the same
time in Egypt and Mesopotamia, but current scholarship suggests that Mesopotamia’s
writing appeared first. That writing system, invented by the Sumerians, emerged
in Mesopotamia around 3500 BCE. This lesson plan is designed to help students
appreciate the parallel development and increasing complexity of writing and
civilization in Mesopotamia.
|Esperanza Rising: Learning Not to Be Afraid to Start Over
In this lesson students will look behind the story at the historical, social, and cultural circumstances that help account for the great contrasts and contradictions that Esperanza experiences when she moves to California. The lesson also invites students to contemplate some of the changes Esperanza undergoes as she grows from a pampered child into a resourceful and responsible young woman.
|Evaluating Eyewitness Reports
Practice working with primary documents by comparing accounts of the Chicago Fire and testing the credibility of a Civil War diary.
|Exploring Arthurian Legend
Trace the elements of myth and history in the world of the Round Table.
Date Revised: 06/22/06
|Eyewitness to History
Explore connections between family history and the history of the world around us.
|Families in Bondage
Learn how slavery shattered family life through the pre-Civil War letters of those whose loved ones were taken away or left behind.
|Family and Friendship in Quilts
The lessons in this
unit are designed to help your students recognize how people of different cultures
and time periods have used cloth-based art forms to pass down their traditions
|FDR and the Lend-Lease Act
This lesson shows students how broadly the Lend-Lease Act of March 1941 empowered the federal government—particularly the President—and asks students to investigate how FDR promoted the program in speeches and then in photographs.
|FDR's Fireside Chats: The Power of Words
In this lesson which focuses on two of FDR's Fireside Chats, students gain a sense of the dramatic effect of FDR's voice on his audience, see the scope of what he was proposing in these initial speeches, and make an overall analysis of why the Fireside Chats were so successful.
|The Federalist Debates: Balancing Power Between State and Federal Governments
This lesson focuses on the debates among the U.S. Founders surrounding the distribution of power between states and the federal government. Students learn about the pros and cons of state sovereignty vs. federalism and have the opportunity to argue different sides of the issue.
|The First Amendment: What's Fair in a Free Country?
After completing the lessons in this unit, students will be able to summarize the contents of the First Amendment and give an example of speech that is protected by the Constitution and speech that is not protected by the Constitution.
|The First American Party System: Events, Issues, and Positions
Curriculum Unit overview. Fear of factionalism and political parties was deeply rooted in Anglo-American
political culture before the American Revolution. Leaders such as George Washington
and Thomas Jefferson hoped their new government, founded on the Constitution,
would be motivated instead by a common intent, a unity. But political parties
did form in the United States, with their beginnings in Washington's cabinet.
|“Fly Girls”: Women Aviators in World War II
This lesson plan explores the contributions of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) during World War II, and their aviation legacy.
|Folklore in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God
Learn how writer Zora Neale Hurston incorporated and transformed black folklife in her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. By exploring Hurston’s own life history and collection methods, listening to her WPA recordings of folksongs and folktales, and comparing transcribed folk narrative texts with the plot and themes of the novel, students will learn about the crucial role of oral folklore in Hurston’s written work.
|Following the Great Wall of China
The famous Great Wall of China, which was built to keep the China’s horse-riding neighbors at bay, extends more than 2,000 kilometers across China, from Heilongjiang province by Korea to China’s westernmost province of Xinjiang. This lesson will investigate the building of the Great Wall during the Ming Dynasty, and will utilize the story of the wall as a tool for introducing students to one period in the rich history of China.
|Freedom by the Fireside: The Legacy of FDR's “Four Freedoms” Speech
One of the most famous political speeches on freedom in the twentieth century was delivered by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his 1941 State of the Union message to Congress.This lesson examines some of the nuances and ambiguities inherent in the rhetorical use of "freedom." The objective is to encourage students to glimpse the broad range of hopes and aspirations that are expressed in the call of—and for—freedom.
|From the White House of Yesterday to the White House of Today
In this curriculum unit, students take a close look at the design of the White House and some of the changes it has undergone. They also reflect on how the “President’s House” has been and continues to be used.
|Galileo and the Inevitability of Ideas
Test the arguments on both sides in the case that shook the foundations of faith and science.
|George Washington: The Living Symbol
Compare the leader who emerges through Washington’s own writings with the symbolic figure of patriotic memory.
|Go West: Imagining the Oregon Trail
Students compare imagined travel experiences of their own with the actual experiences of 19th-century pioneers.
|The Great War: Evaluating the Treaty of Versailles
Was the Treaty of Versailles, which formally concluded World War I, a legitimate attempt by the victorious powers to prevent further conflict, or did it place an unfair burden on Germany? This lesson helps students respond to the question in an informed manner. Activities involve primary sources, maps, and other supporting documents related to the peace process and its reception by the German public and German politicians.
|Hammurabi’s Code: What Does It Tell Us About Old Babylonia?
King Hammurabi ruled Babylon, located along the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers, from 1792-1750 BCE however, today he is most famous for a series of judgments inscribed on a large stone stele and dubbed Hammurabi's Code. In this lesson students will learn about the contents of the Code, and what it tells us about life in Babylonia in the 18th century BCE.
|Haven’t I Seen You Somewhere Before? samsara and karma in the Jataka Tales
Many English speakers are familiar with the Sanskrit word karma, which
made its way into the language during the first half of the nineteenth century.
It is often used in English to encapsulate the idea that "what goes around comes
around." A more complete understanding of the word is brought to life in the
stories known collectively as the Jataka Tales. This lesson will introduce students to the concepts of samsara and karma, as well as to the Jataka Tales.
|Having Fun: Leisure and Entertainment at the Turn of the Twentieth Century
How did Americans "have fun" a century ago? In this lesson, students will learn how Americans spent their leisure time and explore new forms of entertainment that appeared at the turn of the century. In addition, they will learn how transportation and communication improvements made it possible for Americans to travel to new destinations.
|History in Quilts
The lessons in this unit are designed to help your students recognize how people of different cultures and time periods have used cloth-based art forms (quilts) to pass down their traditions and history.
|Holocaust and Resistance
In this lesson, students reflect on the Holocaust from the point of view of those who actively resisted Nazi persecution. Weigh the choices faced by those for whom resistance seemed both futile and the essence of survival.
|A House Dividing: The Growing Crisis of Sectionalism in Antebellum America
Curriculum Unit overview. In this unit, students will trace the development of sectionalism in the United States as it was driven by the growing dependence upon, and defense of, black slavery in the southern states.
|I Do Solemnly Swear: Presidential Inaugurations
Students reflect on what the presidential inauguration has become and what it has been by examining archival materials.
|I Hear the Locomotives: The Impact of the Transcontinental Railroad
Students analyze archival material such as photos, documents, and posters, to understand the phenomenon of the Transcontinental Railroad.
|I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Someone a Letter
Using EDSITEment's vast online resources, you and your students read the correspondence of the famous, the infamous, and the ordinary and use these letters as a starting point for discussion of and practice in the conventions and purposes of letter writing.
|I've Just Seen a Face: Portraits
Students learn to analyze a variety of portraits, both literary and visual.
|If You Were a Pioneer on the Oregon Trail
As a class, students create an imagined travel experience and then compare it with the actual experiences of 19th-century pioneers.
|Images at War
Explore American attitudes toward conflict through Civil War photographs and World War II poster art.
|Images of the New World
How did the English picture the native peoples of America during the early phases of colonization of North America? This lesson plan will enable students to interact with written and visual accounts of this critical formative period at the end of the 16th century, when the English view of the New World was being formulated, with consequences that we are still seeing today.
|In My Other Life
Find out what it might feel like to grow up in an Asian, African, or Latin American country.
|In Old Pompeii
Take a virtual field trip to the ruins of Pompeii to learn about everyday life in Roman times.
|The Industrial Age in America: Robber Barons and Captains of Industry
How shall we judge the contributions to American society of the great financiers and industrialists at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries? In this lesson, students explore a variety of primary historical sources to uncover some of the less honorable deeds as well as the shrewd business moves and highly charitable acts of the great industrialists and financiers, men such as Andrew Carnegie, J. Pierpont Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, and Cornelius Vanderbilt.
|The Industrial Age in America: Sweatshops, Steel Mills, and Factories
About a century has passed since the events at the center of this lesson-the Haymarket Affair, the Homestead Strike, and the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. In this lesson, students use primary historical sources to explore some of the questions raised by these events, questions that continue to be relevant in debates about American society: Where do we draw the line between acceptable business practices and unacceptable working conditions? Can an industrial-and indeed a post-industrial-economy succeed without taking advantage of those who do the work?
|Introducing Jane Eyre: An Unlikely Victorian Heroine
Through their interpretation of primary documents that reflect Victorian ideals,
students can learn the cultural expectations for and limitations placed on Victorian
women and then contemplate the writer Charlotte Brontë's position in that
context. Then, through an examination of the opening chapters of Jane Eyre, students
will evaluate Jane's status as an unconventional Victorian heroine.
|Introduction to Modernist Poetry
Curriculum Unit overview. Modernist poetry often is difficult for students to analyze and understand. A primary reason students feel a bit disoriented when reading a modernist poem is that the speaker himself is uncertain about his or her own ontological bearings. The rise of cities; profound technological changes in transportation, architecture, and engineering; a rising population that engendered crowds and chaos in public spaces; and a growing sense of mass markets often made individuals feel less individual and more alienated, fragmented, and at a loss in their daily worlds.
|It Came From Greek Mythology
Enliven your students' encounter with Greek mythology, to deepen their understanding of what myths meant to the ancient Greeks, and to help them appreciate the meanings that Greek myths have for us today.
|Jack London's The Call of the Wild: “Nature Faker”?
A critic of writer Jack London called his animal protagonists “men in fur,” suggesting that his literary creations flaunted the facts of natural history. London responded to such criticism by maintaining that his own creations were based on sound science and in fact represented “…a protest against the ‘humanizing’ of animals, of which it seemed to me several ‘animal writers’ had been profoundly guilty.” How well does London succeed in avoiding such “humanizing” in his portrayal of Buck, the hero of his novel, The Call of the Wild?
|James Madison: From Father of the Constitution to President
Curriculum Unit overview. Even in its first 30 years of existence, the U.S. Constitution had to prove
its durability and flexibility in a variety of disputes. More often than not,
James Madison, the "Father of the Constitution," took part in the discussion.
Students study census data showing the names and occupations of early settlers of the English settlement at Jamestown, Virginia.
(Archaeology, U.S. Colonial History)
|Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice: The Novel as Historical Source
Jane Austen's classic novel offers insights into life in early nineteenth-century England. This lesson, focusing on class and the status of women, teaches students how to use a work of fiction as a primary source in the study of history.
|Jazz and World War II: A Rally to Resistance, A Catalyst for Victory
Learn about the effects that the Second World War had on jazz music as well as the contributions that jazz musicians made to the war effort. This lesson will help students explore the role of jazz in American society and the ways that jazz functioned as an export of American culture and a means of resistance to the Nazis.
|Jefferson vs. Franklin: Renaissance Men
Students examine primary sources in order to compare the intellectual achievements of Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. The lesson serves as an introduction to the complementary EDSITEment lesson, Jefferson vs. Franklin: Revolutionary Philosophers.
|Jefferson vs. Franklin: Revolutionary Philosophers
Explore the philosophical contributions that Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson made to the movement for American independence. The lesson introduces students to some of the important precursor documents, such as Franklin's Albany Plan of 1754 and Jefferson's Draft of the Virginia Constitution, that led to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
|Kennewick Man: Science and Sacred Rights
Explore the controversy sparked by the discovery of a prehistoric skeleton.
|La Vie en Cave!
In this French language lesson, elementary-school students learn about the ways that early humans communicated through art by exploring cave paintings of France and creating their own wall artwork.
|A Landmark Lesson: The United States Capitol Building
Presented with a variety of archival documents, your students can answer that question: What makes the Capitol symbolic? Working in small groups, the students will uncover and share the Capitol's story.
|Learning the Blues
Take a virtual field trip to Memphis, Tennessee, and explore the history of the blues.
|The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Students explore the artistry that helped make Washington Irving our nation's first literary master and ponder the mystery that now haunts every Halloween--What happened to Ichabod Crane?
|Leonardo da Vinci: Creative Genius
Leonardo da Vinci—one of history’s most imaginative geniuses—was
certainly born at the right time and in the right place. In this lesson plan,
the students will explore Leonardo da Vinci and the age in which he lived and
consider the meaning of the Greek quotation, “Man is the measure of all
things” and why it particularly applies to the Renaissance and to Leonardo.
|Lessons of the Indian Epics: Following the Dharma
The epic poem the Ramayana is thought to have been composed more than 2500 years ago, and like the Iliad and the Odyssey, was originally transmitted orally by bards. This lesson will introduce students to the Indian concept of dharma through a reading of the epic, The Ramayana.
|Lessons of the Indian Epics: The Ramayana: Showing your Dharma
The story of the Ramayana has been passed from generation to generation by numerous methods and media. Initially it was passed on orally as an epic poem that was sung to audiences by a bard, as it continues to be today.
|Let Freedom Ring: The Life & Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Students listen to a biography of Martin Luther King, Jr., view photographs of the March on Washington, and study King's use of imagery and allusion in his I Have a Dream speech.
|Life in Old Babylonia: The Importance of Trade
Trade was critical to Old Babylonia, where many highly prized natural resources were scarce but agricultural goods were in surplus. A vibrant trading system developed, bringing manufactured goods and raw materials from as far as Turkey, and even India, 1500 miles away. Trade became integral to the economy and the culture. In this lesson, students explore the trade industry in Old Babylonia and its far-flung influence.
|Life in the Floating World: Ukiyo-e Prints and the Rise of the Merchant Class in Edo Period Japan
The Edo Period (1603-1868) in Japan was a time of great change. The merchant
class was growing in size, wealth, and power, and artists and craftsmen mobilized
to answer the demands and desires of this growing segment of society. Perhaps
the most well known art form that gained popularity during this period was the
woodblock print, which is often referred to as ukiyo-e prints. In this lesson students will learn about life in Japan during the Edo period through an investigation of ukiyo-e prints.
|Life on the Great Plains
Examine the history and geography of a region that has been at the heart of the American experience.
|Like Father, Like Son: Presidential Families
The lessons in this unit provide an opportunity for students to learn about and discuss two U.S. families in which both the father and son became President.
|Lincoln Goes to War
Relive the decisions that led to the attack on Fort Sumter to determine whether Lincoln aimed to preserve peace or provoke the hostilities that led to the Civil War.
|Lions, Dragons, and Nian: Animals of the Chinese New Year
In this lesson, the students study the differences between eastern and western dragons and discover why the eastern dragons are associated with the Chinese New Year. They learn about the dragon dancers and lion dancers in the New Years parade and discover that firecrackers are set off to drive off evil spirits, particularly one called Nian.
|Listening to History
This lesson plan is designed to help students tap oral history by conducting interviews with family members.
|Live from Ancient Olympia!
This exhibit includes sections on the cultural and historical context of the Games.
|Live From Antiquity!
Return to ancient Athens for the world premier of Antigone. This is the revised and updated version of the lesson plan.
|Lost Hero: Who Was Really Our First President?
In this curriculum unit, students look at the role of President as defined in the Articles of Confederation and consider the precedent-setting accomplishments of John Hanson, the first full-term “President of the United States in Congress Assembled.”
|Magna Carta: Cornerstone of the U.S. Constitution
Magna Carta served to lay the foundation for the evolution of parliamentary government and subsequent declarations of rights in Great Britain and the United States. In attempting to establish checks on the king's powers, this document asserted the right of "due process" of law.
|Mapping Colonial New England: Looking at the Landscape of New England
The lesson focuses on two 17th century maps of the Massachusetts Bay Colony to trace how the Puritans took possession of the region,
built towns, and established families on the land. Students will learn how these
New England settlers interacted with the Native Americans, and how to gain
information about those relationships from primary sources such as maps.
|Mapping Our Worlds
Students explore the world of maps and learn how to view the world around them in a two-dimensional format.
|Mapping the Past
Find out what ancient maps can tell us about the aspirations of those who made them.
|Marco Polo Takes A Trip
During the Middle Ages, most people in Europe spent their entire lives in the village where they were born. But in the 13th century, a young Italian named Marco Polo traveled all the way to China! In this lesson, students will learn about the remarkable travels of Marco Polo.
|Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Power of Nonviolence
Students learn about Martin Luther King, Jr.'s philosophy of nonviolence and the teachings of Mohandas K. Gandhi that influenced King's views.
|Martin Puryear’s Ladder for Booker T. Washington
Students examine Martin Puryear’s Ladder for Booker T. Washington and consider how the title of Puryear’s sculpture is reflected in the meanings we can draw from it. They learn about Booker T. Washington’s life and legacy, and through Puryear's ladder, students explore the African American experience from Booker T.'s perspective and apply their knowledge to other groups in U.S. History. They also gain understanding on how a ladder can be a metaphor for a person’s and a group’s progress toward goals.
|The Meaning Behind the Mask
Students explore the cultural significance of masks, discuss the use of masks in stories, and then investigate the role masks play in ceremonies and on special occasions in various African cultures.
|Metaphorical Gold: Mining the Gold Rush for Stories
Explore the Alaskan Gold Rush by "mining" EDSITEment resources for primary texts and period photographs. Just as writer Jack London discovered "metaphorical gold" in the Yukon, students can search several online databases for period details that will enhance their own narratives based on the Gold Rush era.
|Mexican Culture and History through Its National Holidays
In this lesson students will study four popular Mexican holidays and examine images to see how these particular celebrations represent Mexico's colorful history.
|Midnight Ride of Paul Revere—Fact, Fiction, and Artistic License
An interdisciplinary lesson focusing on Paul Revere's Midnight Ride. While many students know this historical event, this lesson allows them to explore the true story of Paul Revere and his journey through primary source readings as well as to compare artist Grant Wood's and poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's interpretations of it.
|Mission Nuestra Señora de la Concepción and the Spanish Mission in the New World
In this Picturing America
lesson, students explore the historical origins and organization of the Spanish missions in the New World, and discover the varied purposes these communities of faith served.
|The Monroe Doctrine: Origin and Early American Foreign Policy
Curriculum Unit overview. Monroe brought a vision of an expanded America to his presidency—a vision
that helped facilitate the formulation of what has become known as the Monroe
Doctrine. In this unit, students will review the Monroe Doctrine against a background
of United States foreign relations in the early years of the republic.
|Morality “Tails” East and West: European Fables and Buddhist Jataka Tales
Fables, such as those attributed to Aesop, are short narratives populated by
animals who behave like humans, and which convey lessons to the listener. Jataka
Tales are often short narratives which tell the stories of the lives of the
Buddha before he reached Enlightenment. In this lesson students will be introduced to both Aesop’s fables and to a few of the Jataka Tales, and through these stories will gain an understanding of one genre of storytelling: morality tales.
|More Amazing Americans: A WebQuest
Through a series of interactive lessons, guided by a WebQuest, students learn about many amazing Americans. Ulimately, students get to nominate and highlight their own amazing Americans.
|Music from Across America
Students listen to a variety of popular, traditional, and ethnic American music, from the evocative sounds of Native American drumming to the lively sounds of zydeco music from Louisiana.
|My Piece of History
Students examine pictures of household objects from the late 20th century, gather historical information about them from older family members, and then create an in-class exhibit of historical objects from their own homes.
|Native American Cultures Across the U.S.
This lesson discusses the differences between common representations of Native Americans within the U.S. and a more differentiated view of historical and contemporary cultures of five American Indian tribes living in different geographical areas. Students will learn about customs and traditions such as housing, agriculture, and ceremonial dress for the Tlingit, Dinè, Lakota, Muscogee, and Iroquois peoples.
|Nature and Culture Detectives: Investigating Jack London's White Fang
In White Fang, Jack London sought to trace the “development of domesticity, faithfulness, love, morality, and all the amenities and virtues.” In this lesson, students explore images from the Klondike and read White Fang closely to learn how to define and differentiate the terms “nature” and “culture."
|Norman Rockwell, Freedom of Speech—Know It When You See It
This lesson plan highlights the importance of First Amendment rights by examining Norman Rockwell’s painting of The Four Freedoms. Students discover the First Amendment in action as they explore their own community and country through newspapers, art, and role playing.
|Not Everyone Lived in Castles During the Middle Ages
In this lesson, students will learn about the lifestyle of the wealthy elite and then expand their view of medieval society by exploring the lives of the peasants, craftsmen, and monks.
|Not 'Indians,' Many Tribes: Native American Diversity
Students study the interaction between environment and culture as they learn about three vastly different Native groups in a game-like activity that uses vintage photographs, traditional stories, photos of artifacts, and recipes.
|Not Only Paul Revere: Other Riders of the American Revolution
While Paul Revere's ride is the most famous event of its kind in American history, other Americans made similar rides during the Revolutionary period. After learning about some less well known but no less colorful rides that occurred in other locations, students gather evidence to support an argument about why at least one of these "other riders" does or does not deserve to be better known.
|Oh, Say, Can You See What the Star-Spangled Banner Means?
Using archival material, students will associate Francis Scott Key's Star Spangled Banner with historic events and recognize the sentiments those words inspired. Students will explore the symbolic nature of the American flag.
|The Olympic Medal: It's All Greek to Us!
This lesson plan uses an EDSITEment-created Greek alphabet animation
to help students "decode" the inscription on the Olympic medal. Because the
Olympic medal is both a familiar and mysterious object for students, it presents
an ideal prompt to build basic literacy in the Greek alphabet. Thus, this lesson
uses the Athens 2004 medal inscription as an elementary "text" to help students
practice reading Greek and to help reinforce the link between ancient Greek
culture and the Olympic games.
|On the Home Front
Learning about World War II American efforts helps students gain some perspective regarding the U.S. response to the conflict generated by the September 11th terrorist attacks.
|On the Oregon Trail
Work with primary documents and latter-day photographs to recapture the experience of traveling on the Oregon Trail.
|On the Road with Marco Polo
In this curriculum unit, students will become Marco Polo adventurers, following his route to and from China in order to learn about the geography, local products, culture, and fascinating sites of those regions.
|On This Day With Lewis and Clark
Looking at historic maps of the West, students can begin to appreciate the immensity and mystery of the mission Lewis and Clark accepted.
|Ordinary People, Ordinary Places: The Civil Rights Movement
By researching these "ordinary" people and the now historic places where they brought about change, students will discover how the simple act of sitting at a lunch counter in North Carolina could be considered revolutionary, and how, combined with countless other acts of nonviolent protest across the nation, it could lead to major legislation in the area of civil rights for African Americans.
|The Origins of the Cold War, 1945-1949
Curriculum unit overview. Since the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, Soviet leaders had been claiming that communism and capitalism could never peacefully coexist. Agreements regarding the postwar world were reached at Yalta and Potsdam, but the Soviets wasted no time in violating them. Harry Truman believed that the proper means of responding to an international bully was a credible threat of force.
|Other Worlds: The Voyage of Columbus
Meet the people whose encounter with Columbus led to the creation of a New World.
|The Panic of 1837 and the Presidency of Martin Van Buren
President Martin Van Buren inherited “the severe downturn in the American economy that began in 1836.” In this lesson, students will analyze period political cartoons as they study the causes of the economic downturn, Van Buren’s response as president, and the reaction to his measures.
|The Path of the Black Death
The Black Death cut a path—both literal and figurative—through the middle of the 14th Century. In this lesson, students analyze maps, firsthand accounts, and archival documents to trace the path and aftermath of the Black Death.
|Pearl S. Buck: “On Discovering America”
American author Pearl S. Buck spent most of her life in China. She returned to America in 1934, "an immigrant among immigrants…in my native land." In this lesson, students will explore American attitudes toward immigration in the 1930s through Pearl S. Buck's essay, "On Discovering America." They will explore the meaning of the term "American" in this context and look at how the media portrayed immigrants.
|Perspective on the Slave Narrative
Trace the elements of history, literature, polemic, and autobiography in the 1847 Narrative of William W. Brown, An American Slave. This Lesson Plan was revised 01/19/2006
|Pioneer Values in Willa Cather's My Antonia
Students learn about the social and historical context of Willa Cather’s My Antonia and work in groups to explore Cather's commentary on fortitude, hard work, faithfulness, and other values that we associate with pioneer life
|The Poet's Voice: Langston Hughes and You
Poets achieve popular acclaim only
when they express clear and widely shared emotions with a forceful, distinctive,
and memorable voice. But what is meant by voice in poetry, and what qualities
have made the voice of Langston Hughes a favorite for so many people?
|Poetry of The Great War: 'From Darkness to Light'?
The historian and literary critic Paul Fussell has noted in The Great War and Modern Memory that, "Dawn has never recovered from what the Great War did to it." With dawn as a common symbol in poetry, it is no wonder that, like a new understanding of dawn itself, a comprehensive body of "World War I Poetry" emerged from the trenches as well.
|“Police Action”: The Korean War, 1950-1953
In 1950, North Korean forces, armed mainly with Soviet weapons, invaded South Korea in an effort to reunite the peninsula under communist rule. This lesson will introduce students to the conflict by having them read the most important administration documents related to it.
|Portrait of a Hero
Heroes abound throughout history and in our everyday lives. After completing the activities, students will be able to understand the meaning of the words hero and heroic.
|The Preamble to the Constitution: How Do You Make a More Perfect Union?
Students will learn how the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution was shaped by historical events and how it reflected the fundamental values and principles of a newly independent nation.
|President Madison's 1812 War Message
Curriculum Unit overview. A crisis over U.S. shipping rights actually began while George Washington was
president and grew during Thomas Jefferson's term in office (1800-1808), when
Madison served as Secretary of State. Between 1805-07, a large number of American
ships were seized and impressments of American sailors into service on British
ships increased, leading Congress to pass an extreme measure, the Embargo Act
of 1807. The act restricted trade with foreign nations (Napoleon's France was
also interfering with American shipping during its long conflict with the British).
A state of war then began in 1803 and would continue until after Napoleon's abdication
|The President's Roles and Responsibilities: Communicating with the President
Through these lessons, students learn to identify and describe the various roles and responsibilities of the U.S. president and their own roles as citizens of a democracy.
|The President's Roles and Responsibilities: Understanding the President's Job
This lesson introduces students to the roles and responsibilities of the president of the United States and helps them understand how the president and the public communicate with each other by allowing them to express their views in a letter to the president.
|Profiles in Courage: To Kill A Mockingbird and the Scottsboro Boys Trial
Students study select court transcripts and other primary source material from the second Scottsboro Boys Trial of 1933, a continuation of the first trial in which two young white women wrongfully accused nine African-American youths of rape.
|Profiles in Courage: Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird
This lesson plan asks students to read To Kill A Mockingbird carefully with an eye for all instances and manifestations of courage, but particularly those of moral courage.
|“The Proper Application of Overwhelming Force”: The United States in World War II
Curriculum Unit overview. After learning that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor, thus ensuring that the United States would enter World War II, Prime Minister Winston Churchill breathed a sigh of relief. "Hitler's fate was sealed," he would later recall. "Mussolini's fate was sealed. As for the Japanese, they would be ground to powder. All the rest was merely the proper application of overwhelming force."
In this unit, students will examine the role that the United States played in bringing about this victory.
|Quest for the American Dream in A Raisin in the Sun
The play A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry is used as a focal point for discussion of "The American Dream" as students explore how the social, educational, economical and political climate of the 1950's affected African Americans' quest for "The American Dream".
|Reading, Writing and 'Rithmetic in the One-Room Schoolhouse
This lesson ecourages students to explore the similarities and differences of being a student in a one-room schoolhouse versus attending their own well-equipped, modern school.
|The Red Badge of Courage: A New Kind of Courage
In The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane presents war through the eyes —and thoughts —of one soldier. The narrative’s altered point of view and stylistic innovations enable a heightened sense of realism while setting the work apart from war stories written essentially as tributes or propaganda.
|The Red Badge of Courage: A New Kind of Realism
The Red Badge of Courage’s success reflects the birth of a modern sensibility; today we feel something is true when it looks like the sort of thing we see in newspapers or on television news.
|Regulating Freedom of Speech
With the Internet, students can observe firsthand how today's
Court exercises this responsibility at a time when technology
has extended the freedom to speak in ways our nation's founders
could not have imagined.
|Religion in 18th Century America
The traditional religions of Great Britain’s North American colonies had difficulty maintaining their holds over the growing population. This did not, however, result in a wholesale decline in religiosity among Americans. In fact, the most significant religious development of 18th century America took place along the frontier, in the form of the Great Awakening. This curriculum unit will, through the use of primary documents, introduce students to the First Great Awakening, as well as to the ways in which religious-based arguments were used both in support of and against the American Revolution.
|Remember the Ladies: The First Ladies
Explore the ways in which First Ladies were able to shape the world while dealing with the expectations placed on them as women and as partners of powerful men.
|Revolutionary Tea Parties and the Reasons for Revolution
This lesson explores tea party protests other than the Boston Tea Party, and includes activities to help students analyze the reasons behind the tea protests as well as their consequences for the American Revolution.
|The Road to Pearl Harbor: The United States and East Asia, 1915-1941
Curiculum unit overview. Although most Americans were shocked by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the outbreak of war between the two countries came as no surprise to most observers of international affairs. Using contemporary documents, students explore the rise of animosity between the United States and Japan from its origins in World War I and culminating two decades later in the Pearl Harbor attack.
|The Royal Art of Benin
This lesson plan introduces students to art of the West African kingdom of Benin, which flourished from the 12th or 13th to the end of the 19th centuries in what is now southern Nigeria. Students learn about how the royal power of the king of Benin was communicated through brass plaques and use symbolism to create their own paper plaques.
|Scripting the Past: Exploring Women's History Through Film
Students employ the screenwriter's craft to gain a fresh perspective on notable women in American history.
|“Shooting An Elephant”: George Orwell's Essay on his Life in Burma
George Orwell, is today best known for his last two novels, the anti-totalitarian works Animal Farm and 1984. He was also an accomplished and experienced essayist. Among his most powerful essays is the 1931 autobiographical essay "Shooting an Elephant," which Orwell based on his experience as a police officer in colonial Burma. This lesson plan is designed to help students read Orwell's essay both as a work of literature and as a window into the historical context about which it was written.
|Slave Narratives: Constructing U.S. History Through Analyzing Primary Sources
The realities of slavery and Reconstruction hit home in poignant oral histories from the Library of Congress. In these activities, students research narratives from the Federal Writers' Project and describe the lives of former African slaves in the U.S. -- both before and after emancipation. From varied stories, students sample the breadth of individual experiences, make generalizations about the effects of slavery and Reconstruction on African Americans, and evaluate primary source documents.
|The Social Security Act
This lesson engages students in the debate over the Social Security Act that engrossed the nation during the 1930s.
Students examine photographs of sod houses, build a model sod house, and picture themselves living in a soddie to gain a firsthand perspective on this important period of American history.
Tap into an African-American song tradition that has fired hope throughout the long struggle for freedom.
|Stars and Stripes Forever: Flag Facts for Flag Day
Students will learn what a symbol is, and how this particular symbol—the American flag—is an important part of our everyday lives.
|The Statue of Liberty: Bringing the 'New Colossus' to America
While the French had kept their end
of the bargain by completing the statue itself, the Americans had still not fulfilled
their commitment to erect a pedestal. In this lesson, students learn about the
effort to convince a skeptical American public to contribute to the effort to
erect a pedestal and to bring the Statue of Liberty to New York.
|The Statue of Liberty: The Meaning and Use of a National Symbol
Help clarify the nature of symbols for your students as they study the Statue of Liberty, complete research on a national symbol, and use their research to communicate a message of their own.
|Stories in Quilts
Quilts can be works of art as well as stories through pictures. They also tell a story about their creators and about the historical and cultural context of their creation through the choices made in design, material, and content.
|A Story of Epic Proportions: What makes a Poem an Epic?
Some of the most well known, and most important, works of literature in the world are examples of epic poetry. This lesson will introduce students to the epic poem form and to its roots in oral tradition.
|The Supreme Court: The Judicial Power of the United States
The federal judiciary, which includes the Supreme Court as well as the district
and circuit courts, is one of three branches of the federal government. The
judiciary has played a key role in American history and remains a powerful voice
in resolving contemporary controversies. This lesson provides an introduction to the Supreme Court. Students will learn
basic facts about the Supreme Court by examining the United States Constitution
and one of the landmark cases decided by that court.
|Symmetry in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Arthur, Camelot, Gawain, a challenge, a perilous journey, a beheading, an enchantment,
and a shape-shifter are the ingredients of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
For the modern reader, Sir Gawain's tale is riveting even without understanding
its symmetry or cultural and historical context. Viewed through the lens of
the medieval thinker, reading this Arthurian tale becomes a rich, multi-layered
|Taking Up Arms and the Challenge of Slavery in the Revolutionary Era
Was the American Revolution inevitable? This lesson is designed to help students understand the transition to armed resistance and the contradiction in the Americans’ rhetoric about slavery through the examination of a series of documents. While it is designed to be conducted over a several-day period, teachers with time constraints can choose to utilize only one of the documents to illustrate the patriots’ responses to the actions of the British.
|Tales of King Arthur
In this lesson, students will discover how historical events gradually merged with fantasy to create the colorful tales we enjoy today. This Lesson Plan revised: 12/30/2005
|The American Civil War: A “Terrible Swift Sword”
This curriculum unit introduces students to important questions pertaining to the war: strengths and weaknesses of each side at the start of the conflict; the two turning points of the war-the concurrent battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg-as well as the morality of the Union's use of "total war" tactics against the population of the South; Abraham Lincoln's wartime leadership.
|“The Missiles of October”: The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962
Most historians agree that the world has never come closer to nuclear war than it did during a thirteen-day period in October 1962, after the revelation that the Soviet Union had stationed several medium-range ballistic missiles in Cuba. This lesson will examine how this crisis developed, how the Kennedy administration chose to respond, and how the situation was ultimately resolved.
|Then and Now: Life in Early America, 1740 - 1840
Using archival materials, re-creations, and classroom activities, help your students think about which aspects of everyday life have changed and which have stayed the same.
|Thomas Edison’s Inventions in the 1900s and Today: From “New” to You!
This lesson plan introduces students to Thomas Edison’s life and inventions. It asks students to compare and contrast life around 1900 with their own lives and helps students understand the connections between the technological advancements of the early twentieth century and contemporary society and culture.
|Traces: Historic Archaeology
Students electronically recover and analyze artifacts from historic archeological sites in order to discover what these artifacts reveal about the people who used them.
|Traditions and Languages of Three Native Cultures: Tlingit, Lakota, & Cherokee
This lesson compares the cultures and languages of the Tlingit, Lakota, and Cherokee American Indian tribes, and helps students learn the importance of preserving a group's traditions.
|Trekking to Timbuktu—Student Version
Curriculum Unit overview. For many people, Timbuktu is a metaphor for the mysterious, the remote, or the unobtainable. But the Malian city of Timbuktu was, in fact, once a thriving center of commerce and intellectual activity. In the lessons of this curriculum unit, students will learn about the geography of Mali and the early trade networks that flourished there.
|Trekking to Timbuktu—Teacher Version
Curriculum Unit overview. For many people, Timbuktu is a metaphor for the mysterious, the remote, or the unobtainable. But the Malian city of Timbuktu was, in fact, once a thriving center of commerce and intellectual activity.
In the lessons of this curriculum unit, students will learn about the geography of Mali and the early trade networks that flourished there. They will study how the spread of Islam influenced the cultures and economies along the Niger River. They will find out about the three kingdoms that evolved in ancient and medieval West Africa. They will discover how Timbuktu rose from a simple watering place to the most important city in Islamic West Africa. And they will find out what is being done today to protect the city’s antiquities
|Under the Deep Blue Sea
This lesson gives students the opportunity to explore oceans and ocean life. Students will listen to stories and poems with oceanic settings and learn about the forms of sea life featured in each.
|Understanding the Salem Witch Trials
In 1691, a group of girls from Salem, Massachusetts accused an Indian slave named Tituba of witchcraft, igniting a hunt for witches that left 19 men and women hanged, one man pressed to death, and over 150 more people in prison awaiting a trial. In this lesson, students will explore the characteristics of the Puritan community in Salem, learn about the Salem Witchcraft Trials, and try to understand how and why this event occurred.
|The United States and Europe: From Neutrality to War, 1921-1941
Curiculum unit overview. Over the two decades between World War I and World War II, Americans pursued strategies aimed at preventing another war. In this four lesson unit, students use primary sources and an interactive map to examine the rise of antiwar sentiment and legislation in the United States and the main arguments used by both sides as to whether the United States should enter the war or remain neutral.
|United States Entry into World War I: A Documentary Chronology
In this curriculum unit, students reconsider the events leading to U.S. entry into World War I through the lens of archival documents.
|Voices of the American Revolution
This lesson helps students "hear" some of the diverse colonial voices that, in the course of time and under the pressure of novel ideas and events, contributed to the American Revolution. Students analyze a variety of primary documents illustrating the diversity of religious, political, social, and economic motives behind competing perspectives on questions of independence and rebellion.
|Voting Rights for Women: Pro- and Anti-Suffrage
Students research archival material to examine nineteenth and early twentieth century arguments for and against women's suffrage.
|Walt Whitman to Langston Hughes: Poems for a Democracy
Walt Whitman sought to create a new and distinctly American form of poetry. His efforts had a profound influence on subsequent generations of American poets. In this lesson, students will explore the historical context of Whitman's concept of "democratic poetry" by reading his poetry and prose and by examining daguerreotypes taken circa 1850. Next, students will compare the poetic concepts and techniques behind Whitman's "I Hear America Singing" and Langston Hughes' "Let America Be America Again," and will have an opportunity to apply similar concepts and techniques in creating a poem from their own experience.
|Walt Whitman's Notebooks and Poetry: the Sweep of the Universe
Clues to Walt Whitman's effort to create a new and distinctly American form of verse may be found in his Notebooks, now available online from the American Memory Collection. In an entry to be examined in this lesson, Whitman indicated that he wanted his poetry to explore important ideas of a universal scope (as in the European tradition), but in authentic American situations and settings using specific details with direct appeal to the senses.
|Was There an Industrial Revolution? Americans at Work Before the Civil War
In this lesson, students explore the First Industrial Revolution in early nineteenth-century America. By reading and comparing first-hand accounts of the lives of workers before the Civil War, students prepare for a series of guided role-playing activities designed to help them make an informed judgement as to whether the changes that took place in manufacturing and distribution during this period are best described as a 'revolution' or as a steady evolution over time.
|Was There an Industrial Revolution? New Workplace, New Technology, New Consumers
In this lesson, students explore the First Industrial Revolution in early nineteenth-century America. Through simulation activities and the examination of primary historical materials, students learn how changes in the workplace and less expensive goods led to the transformation of American life.
|Washington and the Whiskey Rebellion
Weigh the choices Washington faced in the nation’s first Constitutional crisis by following events through his private diary.
|We Must Not Be Enemies: Lincoln's First Inaugural Address
Students explore the historical context and significance of Lincoln's inaugural address through archival documents.
|What Happens in the White House?
Curriculum Unit overview. The “President’s House,” built under George Washington’s personal supervision, was the finest residence in the land and possibly the largest. In a nation of wooden houses, it was built of stone and ornamented with understated stone flourishes. It did not fit everyone’s concept for the home of the leader of the young democracy. In this lesson, students take a close look at the White House in recent times and throughout our history.
|What is History? Timelines and Oral Histories
This lesson plan addresses the ways people learn about events from the past and discusses how historical accounts are influenced by the perspective of the person giving the account. To understand that history is made up of many people’s stories of the past, students interview family members about the same event and compare the different versions, construct a personal history timeline and connect it to larger historical events, and synthesize eyewitness testimony from different sources to create their own “official” account.
|What Made George Washington a Good Military Leader?
Curriculum Unit overview. What combination of experience, strategy, and personal characteristics enabled Washington to succeed as a military leader?
In this unit, students will read the Continental Congress's resolutions granting powers to General Washington; analyze some of Washington's wartime orders, dispatches, and correspondence in terms of his mission and the characteristics of a good general
|What Masks Reveal
Explore the cultural significance of masks by investigating the role they play in ceremonies and on special occasions in societies from widely separated regions of the world.
|What Portraits Reveal
Tour a gallery of presidential portraits to learn how they can reflect shifting attitudes and conflicting points of view.
|What Should a House Do?
Students will look closely at the design, construction and materials of at least one Native American house and one house built by European settlers to understand why houses are designed the way they are.
|What They Left Behind: Early Multi-National Influences in the United States
Students make connections between European voyages of discovery, colonial spheres of influence, and various aspects of American culture.
|What Was Columbus Thinking?
Students read excerpts from Columbus's letters and journals, as well as recent considerations of his achievemenets in order to reflect on the motivations behind Columbus's explorations.
|What’s In A Name?
In this curriculum unit, students will learn about the origins of four major types of British surnames. They will consult lists to discover the meanings of specific names and later demonstrate their knowledge of surnames through various group activities. They will then compare the origins of British to certain types of non-British surnames. In a final activity, the students will research the origins and meanings of their own family names.
|Where I Come From
Students take research into their heritage a step beyond the construction of a family tree, traveling through cyberspace to find our what's happening in their ancestral homelands today.
|Who Was Cinque?
Meet the leader of the Amistad revolt through contemporary news reports, court records, and illustrations.
|Who Were the Foremothers of Women’s Equality?
This lesson introduces students to the achievements of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, the "foremothers" of women's equality. By studying a variety of primary historical materials, students will also learn about some of the lesser-known activists who fought alongside Stanton and Anthony in the formative Women's Rights Movement.
|Why Do We Remember Revere? Paul Revere's Ride in History and Literature
After an overview of the events surrounding Paul Revere's famous ride, this lesson challenges students to think about the reasons for that fame. Using both primary and secondhand accounts, students compare the account of Revere's ride in Longfellow's famous poem with actual historical events, in order to answer the question: why does Revere's ride occupy such a prominent place in the American consciousness?
|William Penn’s Peaceable Kingdom
By juxtaposing the different promotional tracts of William Penn and David Pastorius, students will understand the ethnic diversity of Pennsylvania along with the “pull” factors of migration in the 17th century English colonies.
|Witch Hunt or Red Menace? Anticommunism in Postwar America, 1945-1954
Curriculum unit overview. Americans emerged from World War II as the only major combatant to avoid having its homeland ravaged by war, the U.S. economy was clearly the strongest in the world, and, of course, the United States was the only country in the world to possess that awesome new weapon, the atomic bomb. However, over the next five years relations between the United States and the Soviet Union went from alliance to Cold War. In this curriculum unit students will study this turbulent period of American history, examining the various events and ideas that defined it, and considering how much of the anticommunist sentiment of the era was justified, and how much was an overreaction.
|Witnesses to Joan of Arc and The Hundred Years' War
Joan of Arc is likely one of France's most famous historical figures, and has been mythologized in popular lore, literature, and film. She is also an exceptionally well-documented historical figure. Through such firsthand accounts students can trace Joan's history from childhood, through her death, and on to her nullification trial.
|Women in Africa: Tradition and Change
Examine the role of women in African society as represented in traditional artwork and postcolonial literature.
|Women in the White House
Explore the role and impact of recent First Ladies through research and family interviews.
|Women’s Equality: Changing Attitudes and Beliefs
Students analyze archival cartoons, posters, magazine humor, newspaper articles and poems that reflect the deeply entrenched attitudes and beliefs the early crusaders for women’s rights had to overcome.
|Women’s Suffrage: Why the West First?
Students compile information to examine hypotheses explaining why the first nine states to grant full voting rights for women were located in the West.
|Woodrow Wilson and Foreign Policy
Curriculum Unit. The influence of President Woodrow Wilson on American foreign policy has been profound and lasting. Using a variety of primary sources, students analyze the origins of the ambitious foreign policy that came to be known as Wilsonianism and compare it with important alternative traditions in American foreign policy.
|The World of Haiku
Explore the traditions and conventions of haiku and compare this classic form of Japanese poetry to a related genre of Japanese visual art.
|Worth a Thousand Words: Depression-Era Photographs
Spend a day with a model American family and the photographer who molded our view of their lives.