Lesson Plans

What’s the Problem with Patents?

Students analyze 20th-century primary sources to scrutinize patents over time. Next, students are introduced to the subject of bioethics and investigate contemporary biological patents. After, students participate in a debate about the ethics of medical research and patents.

The Long Civil Rights Movement

Students will analyze primary sources to investigate the long arc of the civil rights movement by examining economic and social conditions and actions that were taken prior to and after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. After, students will interview a local civil rights activist and/or design an action plan to make…

Champions of Change

Students analyze a variety of primary sources to consider how African American song took root as a means of spreading the message of equality  and as a critical part in unifying America in the struggle. After, students investigate the influence of contemporary music and musicians on memorializing the successes of the past and emphasizing the…

Making a Mark: Marching & Leaping Towards Reform

Students make connections between protest, reform, and legacy through investigation of the 1963 March on Washington, Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech, the poem “Crossing” by Jericho Brown, and an excerpt of a conversation about leaving a legacy to your country with poet, teacher, and activist Sonia Sanchez. After, students consider civic…

Civic Actions to Impact the Future

Students make connections between the past, present, and future of the environment through their own imaginings, analysis of a primary source image, and the poem “Letter to Someone Living Fifty Years from Now” by Matthew Olzmann. After, students might assess waste or pollution in their school or local community, then consider actions they could take…

The Importance of Voting

Students consider the importance of voting as they analyze primary sources and the poem “One Vote” by Aimee Nezhukumatathil. They then learn more about the connection between poetry and the women’s suffrage movement. After, students may investigate a contemporary politician or activist advocating for voting rights and present their findings to the class.

A New National Anthem

Students analyze the lyrics of the Star Spangled Banner, then investigate how a 1991 musical rendition of the song by Whitney Houston and a poem by Ada Limón provide them with deeper insights and understanding of the U.S. National Anthem. After, students create a new version of the national anthem by either creating an erasure…

Do Good Fences Make Good Neighbors?

By pairing primary sources with poetry, students consider the proverb, “Good fences make good neighbors” in the context of their own lives as well as in a local, national or global context.

How Did Birds Gain Political Protection?

Students analyze a variety of primary sources to investigate the impact turn-of-the-20th-century women’s fashion industry had on migratory birds, grassroots political efforts taken to protect the birds, and subsequent state and national laws. After, students will research a contemporary biodiversity issue and create a poster, flyer, or written announcement to inform people and call them…

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