Lesson Plans

Economics of Slavery, the Cotton Industry, and the Panic of 1837

Students analyze primary sources to investigate how market forces impacted the supply and demand for cotton in the early 1800s, the relation of the cotton industry to slavery and the economic and political factors that contributed to the Panic of 1837. Next, students summarize the learning in the form of an essay or poster. After,…


Did We Overcome?

Students analyze primary sources to deepen understanding of Jim Crow laws and the discrimination they perpetuated, how civil rights protests helped secure civil rights, and make connections between the past and recent events. After, students will create a pamphlet, modeled after the historical document they analyzed, that illustrates, defines, and discusses an instance where they…


Did the Founders Want Government to Work?

Students analyze primary source texts, including excerpts from the Federalist papers, to investigate the purposes of the Necessary and Proper Clause, the ways in which the separation of powers limit government, and how factions and personal liberties affect the functioning of government. Next, students will write an essay or produce another type of product to…


Did the Attack on Pearl Harbor Unify America?

Students analyze oral history interviews recorded shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor to investigate the perceptions of different groups of Americans and determine if this was an event that ultimately brought many Americans together. After, students will look into a current issue where people may have perspectives that are being overlooked, conducting and sharing…


Did Charles Sumner Deserve It?

Students analyze primary sources to learn about one particular event in U.S. history in order to consider more broadly actions taken against slavery. After, students brainstorm alternative actions that might have been taken and use these as a springboard to researching a current event with starkly competing views and determining the cause of those supporting…


How Well Do Our Parties Represent Us?

Students analyze primary sources to better understand the two-party political system in the United States through investigation of the manner in which political parties gained and nurtured constituents in the later 19th century and actions they took in the mid-20th century that brought satisfaction/dissatisfaction among constituents. After, students identify one significant reform either in electoral…


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…