Lesson Plans

In Service of a Cause?

Students analyze images in conjunction with historical and contemporary texts, comparing and contrasting point of view, details, claims, evidence, and reasoning as they learn about the purpose of the 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry led by John Brown and consider whether or not his actions were justified in the historical context. After, students debate whether the use of force or violence in service of a cause can ever be justified.

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Gettysburg Address Game On

Students consider whether equality is important to our democracy as they develop a deep understanding of the literary and historical value of the Gettysburg Address through analysis of primary sources and a close reading of the text with several game-based activities to reinforce their knowledge and understanding. After, students connect their learning to today by writing a response to the lesson focus question: In what ways is equality a proposition, or belief, worth fighting for? Numerous extension activities are also provided.


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Introduction to the Constitution

In preparation to learn about the rights and responsibilities detailed in the U.S. Constitution and the purpose for its structure of government, students develop their ability to compare and contrast documents and make their own historical interpretations as they complete a close reading of the Preamble. After, students put the Preamble into their own words.

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Signing the Declaration of Their Independence

Students compare and contrast a famous print celebrating the Declaration of Independence with a political cartoon about woman suffrage, then complete a close read of the Declaration's introduction or preamble. After, students create a product of their choosing that provides a commentary on the meaning of that text in the context of today.

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Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down

Pair the picture book, Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down, with primary sources to have students practice close reading, build vocabulary, and investigate the civil rights movement in the context of the Greensboro sit-ins. After, students may share, in words or pictures, an example of how they have stood up for a cause they believe in.

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The Meaning of the Federalist Papers

This lesson explores the Federalist Papers. In Part I, students engage in a discussion about how they get information about current issues. Next, they read a short background of the Federalist Papers and work individually or in pairs to closely examine the text. In Part II, student pairs analyze excerpts from the Federalist Papers and relate these documents to what they have already learned. In Part III, students work in small groups to research a Federalist or Anti-Federalist and role-play this person in a classroom debate.

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