Lesson Plans

140 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
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
9-12
Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!: Simulating the Supreme Court

This lesson helps students learn about the judicial system through simulating a real court case involving student free speech rights. In addition to learning about how the Supreme Court operates, students will explore how the Supreme Court protects their rights, interprets the Constitution, and works with the other two branches of government.

Grade Range
6-8
Examining Utopia & Dystopia in The Giver

Throughout Lois Lowry’s The Giver, the main character Jonas realizes there are more elements to life than he has been led to believe. This lesson explores how The Giver addresses issues of personal identity, memory, and the value of reading and education, as well as other famous classics in this genre and books that students may have read on their own.

Grade Range
6-12
Shakespeare's Julius Caesar: Leadership and a Global Stage

What if Shakespeare's Julius Caesar was set in a modern and newly independent nation? What do citizens look for in a leader? In this lesson, students not only consider the significance of this updated staging and political quandary, but will address important questions about how and why Shakespeare is adopted, adapted, and appropriated by people around the world in order for them to express their own political and social concerns through the universal language of Shakespeare.

Grade Range
9-12
A Raisin in the Sun: Whose "American Dream"?

Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun provides a compelling and honest look into one family's aspirations to move to another Chicago neighborhood and the thunderous crash of a reality that raises questions about for whom the "American Dream" is accessible.