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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Students examine Martin Puryear’s "Ladder for Booker T. Washington" and consider how the title of Puryear’s sculpture is reflected in the meanings we can draw from it. They learn about Booker T. Washington’s life and legacy, and through Puryear's ladder, students explore the African American experience from Booker T.'s perspective and apply their knowledge to other groups in U.S. History. They also gain understanding of how a ladder can be a metaphor for a person’s and a group’s progress toward goals.
When the delegates to the Philadelphia Convention convened in May of 1787 to recommend amendments to the Articles of Confederation, one of the first issues they addressed was the plan for representation in Congress. This lesson will focus on the various plans for representation debated during the Constitutional Convention of 1787.
This lesson plan is the seventh in the “Incredible Bridges: Poets Creating Community” series. It provides a video recording of the poet, Elizabeth Alexander, reading the poem “Praise Song for the Day” composed for President Barak Obama’s 2009 inauguration ceremony. The companion lesson contains a sequence of activities for use with secondary students before, during, and after reading to help them enter and experience the poem.