Lesson Plans

Reservation Controversies

Students analyze a variety of primary and secondary sources to gain an understanding of the history of government relations, policies, and experiences with Native Americans. After students research contemporary issues relating to American Indian reservations using Congress.gov, news media, and official tribal websites to consider the rights and responsibilities of both the government and the…


The New England Fishing Industry: Sea Changes in a Community

Students analyze photographs, maps and interviews to understand the geographic and economic characteristics of the U.S. Northeast coast and the link between New England’s economic and cultural past and the issues it faces for its future through researching industry issues, interviewing industry actors, and/or researching current legislation related to fishing and fisheries.


U.S. Constitution: Continuity and Change in the Governing of the United States

Students analyze primary sources to examine continuity and change in the governing of the United States, studying the Constitution and Bill of Rights, investigating important issues that confronted the first Congress, and examining current congressional debates over similar issues. After, students explore the historical effects of early Congressional decision-making in the establishment of national holidays,…


Welcome to Congress

Students are introduced to Congress through primary source analysis and discover how a member of Congress is part of two communities- their home community that they serve, and the community of Congress. After, the teacher may guide students in finding out about their congressional representative and consider sending the rep a letter (see Teacher’s Guide).


What Do You Do with a Voice Like That?

Pair the picture book, What Do You Do with a Voice Like That, with primary sources to have students investigate Representative Barbara Jordan and the role she played in a changing political landscape in the 1960s and 1970s and during the Watergate investigations of President Nixon. After, students may share, in words or pictures, an…


Congress and Child Labor

Students analyze primary source images and posters to explore why Congress decided long ago that it was important to pass labor laws to protect children, then apply what they have learned by creating their own historical poster. After, students could investigate child labor today or another contemporary issue related to children and make connections by…


Mandatory Vaccinations: Yea or Nay?

In this three-part lesson students discuss the proper role of government in making public health decisions. In Part I, students discuss their prior knowledge of vaccinations and the purpose of vaccinations. In Part II, students assume the roles of members of Congress to determine if they will vote on a bill to require parents to…


Vaccinations, Science, and the Law

In this two-part lesson students explain the role of science in informing public policy. In Part I, students discuss their prior knowledge of vaccinations and the purpose of vaccinations. In Part II, students assume the roles of members of Congress to determine if they will support a bill to require the federal government to compare…


Voting: Rights and Responsibilities

In this three-part lesson students use primary sources to explore voting rights in the United States. In Part I, students analyze two sets of documents to gain a deeper understanding of how suffrage has been both expanded and suppressed, developing claims about how voting rights impact equality. In Part II, students further analyze one of…