Lesson Plans

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.

Female Journalists of World War II & Today

Students analyze primary sources to investigate how female press corps broke barriers and challenged public perceptions during World War II. After, students research and report on a contemporary woman journalist who is providing news coverage in a war zone to keep citizens informed.

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and Migrant Workers

Students analyze primary sources to investigate how the press covered the treatment of sweatshop and migrant farm laborers in the early to mid-1900s. After, students plan an investigative news segment that explores how workers are treated today.

Investigative Journalists: The Muckrakers

Students analyze primary sources to learn about the muckrakers, a group of journalists at the turn of the twentieth century who were among the first in the press to expose social and economic injustices through investigative reporting and photojournalism. After, students write a short news article on a current issue with a social justice focus.