Lesson Plans

25 Result(s)
Grade Range
6-8
Jacob Lawrence's Migration Series: Removing the Mask

In this lesson, students analyze Jacob Lawrence’s The Migration of the Negro Panel no. 57 (1940-41), Helene Johnson’s Harlem Renaissance poem “Sonnet to a Negro in Harlem” (1927), and Paul Laurence Dunbar’s late-nineteenth-century poem “We Wear the Mask” (1896), considering how each work represents the life and changing roles of African Americans from the late nineteenth century to the Harlem Renaissance and The Great Migration.

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
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
K-5
The Meaning Behind the Mask

Students explore the cultural significance of masks, discuss the use of masks in stories, and then investigate the role masks play in ceremonies and on special occasions in various African cultures.

Grade Range
K-5
Music from Across America

Students examine and listen to a variety of forms of music to learn about the cultural, geographic, and stylistic diversity available within the United States.

Grade Range
6-12
Romare Bearden's The Dove: A Meeting of Vision and Sound

By examining The Dove by artist Romare Bearden, students will learn to appreciate the artistic and intellectual achievement of Black artists in America in the first half of the 20th century. By listening to music, students will see how art and music intersect to tell us a story. They will relate that story to their own lives.

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
6-8
Native American Cultures Across the U.S.

This lesson discusses the differences between common representations of Native Americans within the U.S. and a more differentiated view of historical and contemporary cultures of five American Indian tribes living in different geographical areas. Students will learn about customs and traditions such as housing, agriculture, and ceremonial dress for the Tlingit, Dinè, Lakota, Muscogee, and Iroquois peoples.

Grade Range
K-5
What Makes a Hero?

Who do we look up to and why? What constitutes a heroic action? After completing this lesson plan, students will be able to describe what makes a hero in various contexts.

Grade Range
6-12
Not “Indians,” Many Tribes: Native American Diversity

Students study the interaction between environment and culture as they learn about three vastly different indigenous groups in a game-like activity that uses vintage photographs, traditional stories, photos of artifacts, and recipes.