Lesson Plans

Reservation Controversies

Students analyze a variety of primary and secondary sources to gain an understanding of the history of government relations, policies, and experiences with Native Americans. After students research contemporary issues relating to American Indian reservations using Congress.gov, news media, and official tribal websites to consider the rights and responsibilities of both the government and the…

The New England Fishing Industry: Sea Changes in a Community

Students analyze photographs, maps and interviews to understand the geographic and economic characteristics of the U.S. Northeast coast and the link between New England’s economic and cultural past and the issues it faces for its future through researching industry issues, interviewing industry actors, and/or researching current legislation related to fishing and fisheries.

Immigration and Migration: Today and During the Great Depression

Students analyze historical primary sources, including oral histories, photographs and films and collection, to develop an understanding of the lives of immigrants during the Great Depression. Then students gather migration stories of a family member, friend, neighbor or community member, comparing the stories they collected to those of the past and considering the value that…

Exploring Community Through Local History: Oral Stories, Landmarks and Traditions

After being introduced to the American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1940 collection, students explore the local history and contemporary culture of their community through written and spoken stories; through landmarks such as buildings, parks, restaurants, or businesses; and celebration of cultural traditions.

The Conservation Movement at a Crossroads: The Hetch Hetchy Controversy

Students analyze primary sources to investigate the debate over damming the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park, which marked a crossroads in the American conservation movement when San Francisco’s need for a reliable water supply, along with a new political dynamic at the federal level, created a division between those committed to preserving the…

U.S. Constitution: Continuity and Change in the Governing of the United States

Students analyze primary sources to examine continuity and change in the governing of the United States, studying the Constitution and Bill of Rights, investigating important issues that confronted the first Congress, and examining current congressional debates over similar issues. After, students explore the historical effects of early Congressional decision-making in the establishment of national holidays,…

Music and U.S. Reform History: Stand Up and Sing

Throughout American history, popular music has reflected the mood and opinions of the times. By analyzing sheet music and song sheets, students explore issues related to industrialization and reform to answer the essential question, “How does society respond to change?” After, students work in groups to create song sheets about reform topics from the Progressive…

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