Lesson Plans

35 Result(s)
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
K-5
Aesop and Ananse: Animal Fables and Trickster Tales

In this unit, students will become familiar with fables and trickster tales from different cultural traditions and will see how stories change when transferred orally between generations and cultures. They will learn how both types of folktales employ various animals in different ways to portray human strengths and weaknesses and to pass down wisdom from one generation to the next.

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
Fables and Trickster Tales Around the World

The following lesson introduces children to folk tales through a literary approach that emphasizes genre categories and definitions. In this unit, students will become familiar with fables and trickster tales from different cultural traditions and will see how stories change when transferred orally between generations and cultures.

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
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
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
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.