Lesson Plans

71 Result(s)
Grade Range
9-12
Lesson 1: The Question of an American Empire

This lesson will introduce the students to the challenges of American foreign policy in the late 19th century and specifically to the political debate over whether the United States should acquire further territory and/or become a European-style empire.

Grade Range
9-12
Lesson 2: The Spanish–American War

On April 11, 1898, two months after the battleship U.S.S. Maine was destroyed by an explosion in Havana harbor, President McKinley sent a message to Congress requesting authority to use the U.S. armed forces to end a brutal civil war in the Spanish colony of Cuba. This lesson plan, through the use of primary sources and a WebQuest Interactive, will focus on the causes of the war and the political debate in the United States over the advisability of intervening militarily in the affairs of countries.

Grade Range
9-12
Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart

Nigerian born Chinua Achebe is one of the world's most well-known and influential contemporary writers. His first novel, Things Fall Apart (1958), is an early narrative about the European colonization of Africa told from the point of view of the colonized people.

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
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
9-12
Chinua Achebe’s 'New English' in Things Fall Apart

This lesson provides a Common Core application for high school students for Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart. Students will undertake close reading of passages in Things Fall Apart to evaluate the impact of Achebe’s literary techniques, the cultural significance of the work, and how this international text serves as a lens to discover the experiences of others.

Grade Range
6-8
In My Other Life

The world is made up of many different people, living in diverse places with a variety of perspectives, customs, and beliefs. In this lesson, examine the world through multiple perspectives to learn about examples of what it might be like to grow up in Asian, African, or Latin American countries.

Grade Range
6-8
Lesson 2: Trekking to Timbuktu: Trade in Ancient West Africa (Teacher Version)

For many people, Timbuktu is a metaphor for the mysterious, the remote, or the unobtainable. But the Malian city of Timbuktu was, in fact, once a thriving center of commerce and intellectual activity.

In the lessons of this curriculum unit, students will learn about the geography of Mali and the early trade networks that flourished there. They will study how the spread of Islam influenced the cultures and economies along the Niger River. They will find out about the three kingdoms that evolved in ancient and medieval West Africa.