Lesson Plans

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…

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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…

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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.

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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.

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