Lesson Plans

Immigration: Our Changing Voices

Students analyze primary sources to identify issues involved with the migration of a community or family and examine the traditional picture of immigration. After, students investigate their own family history and put it into the context of immigrant stories.

Family Customs Past and Present: Exploring Cultural Rituals

Students analyze primary sources to investigate rituals and customs of various cultures, then interview family members to deepen their understanding of their own cultural celebrations.

Explorations in American Environmental History: The Photographer, the Artist, and Yellowstone

Students analyze primary sources to understand the impact photographer William Henry Jackson and artist Thomas Moran had on the creation of Yellowstone National Park and how their artistic talents contributed to the creation of the American West. After, students may research a local environmental issue and create a work of art (photograph, painting, poster, etc.)…

American Lives Across the Centuries: What Is an American?

Students will use the words of Jean de Crèvecoeur in his 1782 work, Letters from an American Farmer, to guide them as they analyze a life history documented by the Works Progress Administration from 1936-1940, using their analyses to create a patchwork of biographies. After, students consider what it means to be an American today…

Environmental Resource Management: Local and Historical Perspectives

Students analyze primary sources to understand the contexts of America’s concern for the environment. After, students produce a paper or presentation on a contemporary topic of local concern that incorporates historical perspectives with current issues.

The American Dream

Students analyze, interpret, and conduct research with digitized primary source documents to define, present and defend their ideas about what the American Dream has been in different times. After, students consider their own American Dream – for themselves, their families and loved ones, their community, their nation and the world.

African American Identity in the Gilded Age: Two Unreconciled Strivings

Students explore their personal identities, then analyze primary sources to examine the tension experienced by African Americans as they struggled to establish a vibrant and meaningful identity based on the promises of liberty and equality in the midst of a society that was ambivalent towards them and sought to impose an inferior definition upon them.…

Suffrage Strategies: Voices for Votes

Students examine a variety of primary source documents related to the women’s suffrage movement to identify different methods people used to influence and change attitudes and beliefs about suffrage for women. Students then create original documents encouraging citizens to vote in current elections.

Covering Watergate & Furthering Transparency

Students analyze primary sources to learn the role of investigative reporting had in uncovering the Watergate affair and keeping citizens apprised as the story unfolded. After, students create their own front-page news story on a modern-day example of investigative journalism that furthered transparency on an issue.

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