Lesson Plans

80 Result(s)
Grade Range
6-12
Afro Atlantic: Exploring Emancipation

This lesson plan uses A. A. Lamb's painting Emancipation Proclamation and resources from BlackPast to explore the successes and shortcomings of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Reconstruction amendments, as well as the roles played by Black people in securing their own freedom.

Grade Range
6-12
Afro Atlantic: Paths from Enslavement

Use Aaron Douglas’s mural Into Bondage to introduce the stories of famous Harlem Renaissance figures, including Langston Hughes, and to explore the history and importance of Juneteenth, a holiday celebrating the end of Black enslavement in the United States.  

Grade Range
6-12
Afro Atlantic: Mapping Journeys

Kerry James Marshall's painting Voyager, depicting two partially obscured Black figures standing aboard a ship, refers to an actual ship, Wanderer, which was among the last slave ships in the United States, illegally transporting more than 400 individuals from West Africa to Georgia in 1858—even though the importation of enslaved people had been banned in 1808. Use the painting as an entry point to discuss the Transatlantic slave trade and introduce students to the NEH-funded database Slave Voyages project. 

Grade Range
6-12
Visual Records of a Changing Nation

Students have multiple opportunities to analyze photographs captured during a national photography project about local history and changing places to create their own interpretations and exhibits. These materials were developed as part of a partnership between the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Grade Range
6-12
“From Time to Time”: Presidents and Communicating with the Public

From telegraphs to television to Twitter, how, why, and when presidents address the nation and global community has changed across U.S. history. This lesson examines the messages and mediums used by presidents and asks students to engage in point of view and change over time analyses as part of their evaluation of how presidents have communicated with the public in U.S. history.

Grade Range
6-12
Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad

In this lesson, students will comprehend the organizational structure of the Underground Railroad; learn about one of its most famous conductors, Harriet Tubman; and consider ways that heroines and heroes of slavery resistance should be remembered. 

Grade Range
6-12
"Sí, se puede!": Chávez, Huerta, and the UFW

The United Farm Workers organized to bring attention to the working conditions faced by farmers during the 1960s and 1970s. This lesson provides access to a collection of artifacts and primary sources on the UFW, while also placing César Chávez and Dolores Huerta within the larger civil rights movement of the time.

Grade Range
6-12
A Day for the Constitution

Whether you are spending one class session examining the U.S. Constitution for Constitution Day this September 17th or more, our lesson activities have you covered. Here you will find questions, videos, and access to materials that can be amended and implemented to teach a Constitution Day lesson. An introduction and warm-up are provided, followed by three separate activities that can be used on their own or combined depending on the time allotted for Constitution Day. The lesson includes reflection questions and prompts for closure.

Grade Range
6-12
Japanese American Internment Camps during WWII

This lesson examines the incarceration of 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry during WWII. Students will analyze primary sources to learn about the consternation caused by the questionnaire that was used to determine the loyalty of the Japanese and Japanese Americans incarcerated in War Relocation Authority (WRA) camps, and the subsequent removal of “disloyals” to the Tule Lake Segregation Camp.

Grade Range
6-12
Scraping the Sky: Architecture and American History

In 2017, 144 skyscrapers (towers at least 660 feet tall) joined the skylines of 69 cities across the globe—a record that will likely be broken again before the end of 2018. This inquiry-based lesson combines individual investigations of primary resources and visual media with group analysis to investigate the following inquiry: How is the evolution of the American skyscraper related to broader themes of modern U.S. history, economics, and culture?