Lesson Plans

45 Result(s)
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
"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
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?

Grade Range
6-12
Chronicling and Mapping the Women's Suffrage Movement

This lesson brings together digital mapping and the Chronicling America newspaper database as part of an inquiry into how and where the women’s suffrage movement took place in the United States. Primary source newspaper articles published between 1911-1920 and maps from 1918-1920 are used to prompt student research into how women organized, the type of elections that women could participate in, and the extent to which the 19th Amendment transformed voting rights in the U.S.

Grade Range
6-12
The Green Book: African American Experiences of Travel and Place in the U.S.

Release of the film Green Book (2018) inspired renewed interest in the experiences of African Americans when traveling in the United States during the 20th century. This inquiry-based lesson combines individual investigations with whole or small group analysis of primary sources and visual media to investigate the compelling question: How have the intersections of race and place impacted U.S. history and culture? 

Grade Range
6-12
“Praise Song for the Day” by Elizabeth Alexander

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.

Grade Range
6-12
Lesson Two. The Tyranny of the Majority

In this lesson, students continue their examination of Tocqueville’s argument about the power of the majority and its consequences. Having suggested previously that the majority can crush a minority without even hearing its screams, he elaborates on the dangers of unchecked and unlimited power in democratic America and how to deal with it.

Grade Range
6-8
The Preamble to the Constitution: A Close Reading Lesson

The Preamble is the introduction to the United States Constitution, and it serves two central purposes. First, it states the source from which the Constitution derives its authority: the sovereign people of the United States. Second, it sets forth the ends that the Constitution and the government that it establishes are meant to serve.