In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: What caused the Palmer Raids? The lesson begins by asking students what communism/socialism means to them. Students share answers in pairs. The teacher then provides background information on the Red Scare and follows up by streaming a film clip from Discovery Education. Students then analyze 2 documentsŰÓ“The Case Against the Reds” by A. Mitchell Palmer and a deportation statement by Emma GoldmanŰÓand answer guiding questions for each. A final class discussion corroborates the documents: why did the nation allow the Palmer Raids to take place?
In this lesson, students analyze political cartoons in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did the United States annex the Philippines after the Spanish-American War? The teacher first uses a timeline to review basic information about the war, then distributes Rudyard KiplingŰŞs poem “The White ManŰŞs Burden,” which students analyze in pairs. Then, students are split into 6 groups and receive 2 different cartoons each: 1 from a pro-imperial magazine like Judge or Puck, and 1 from an anti-imperial magazine like Life or The World. Using a graphic organizer, students examine the cartoons and then present 1 of them to the class, explaining how the cartoonist makes his point. A final class discussion contextualizes the cartoons and the events of the late 1890s.
This lesson focuses around two different versions of John Smith's "rescue" by Pocahontas. Students compare and contrast the two versions and encounter the idea of subjectivity versus objectivity in primary source historical documents. Finally, they read the brief opinions of two historians who provide their perspectives on the incident.
In this lesson, students analyze primary sources in an effort to answer the central historical question: Were political bosses corrupt? The teacher begins by explaining progressivesŰŞ complaints about political machines and graft and then shows a political cartoon criticizing Tammany Hall. Students then read and analyze 2 documents: 1) a book excerpt by muckraker Lincoln Steffens, and 2) a ‘talkŰŞ by political boss George Plunkitt. For each, they answer guiding questions on a graphic organizer (the teacher models this extensively with the first document in the lesson). For HW, students write a dialogue between the 2 writers in which Steffens tries to convince Plunkitt to practice honest government.
In this lesson, students analyze primary sources in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did the Populist Party attract millions of supporters? The teacher begins with a PowerPoint which reviews the struggles of farmers and the emergence of political populism. Students then read a speech by populist speaker Mary Elizabeth Lease and annotate it. They then answer guiding questions about William Jennings BryanŰŞs “Cross of Gold” speech (excerpt). A final class discussion attempts to explain populismŰŞs appealŰÓthen and now.
In this lesson, students analyze primary sources and engage in a Structured Academic Controversy in an effort to answer the central historical question: What were the attitudes of Progressive social reformers toward immigrants? Students first read their textbookŰŞs passage on the Social Gospel and Settlement Houses. The teacher reviews the material, emphasizing main points, and then streams a brief film clip (link included) about women in the Progressive era. Students then divide into groups of 4 and into pairs within each group. Each pair presents the argument to the other that social reformers were either (Pair A) generous and helpful or (Pair B) condescending and judgmental. Only at the end can students abandon their previous positions, reach consensus in writing as a group, and defend that view in a final class discussion: how did social attitudes then differ from those of today?
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why was the 18th Amendment adopted? Students first read the text of the amendment and answer brief guiding questions. Then, the teacher streams a video clip from Discovery Education about the temperance movement. Students then analyze, in small groups, 4 documents: 1) a statement by the National Temperance Council, 2) a New York Times article, 3) a propaganda poster, “Alcohol and Degeneracy,” and 4) another such poster, “Children in Misery.” For each, they answer detailed guiding questions. A final class discussion evaluates the strategies of temperance advocates: are their arguments convincing?
This lesson utilizes 2 primary sourcesŰÓJohn WinthropŰŞs “City on a Hill” speech and John Cotton's "The Divine Right to Occupy the Land" speechŰÓto challenge students with the fundamental question: Were the Puritans selfish or selfless? Students respond by answering questions, writing an informal extended response utilizing textual evidence from both speeches, and discussing the issue in class.
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why was the Radical Republican plan for Reconstruction considered “radical?” The teacher first uses a PowerPoint to review the Civil War and introduce the challenges of Reconstruction. Students then analyze and answer guiding questions about 3 documents: a speech by Thaddeus Stevens, a Radical, and 2 speeches by President Andrew Johnson. A final class discussion evaluates the RadicalsŰŞ plan and compares it to JohnsonŰŞs approach: Which was more likely to unite the country?
In this lesson, students investigate and answer the central historical question: What caused the Salem Witch Crisis of 1692? After brainstorming and learning some background context for the witch trials, pairs of students read and answer sourcing questions for 2 primary sources: a Cotten Mather speech and the testimony of Abigail Hobbs, a teenager accused of witchcraft. After they draw preliminary conclusions, students are then given 2 more documentsŰÓa chart and a mapŰÓwhich ground the witch trials in an economic and geographic context. Students ultimately draw on all 4 documents to explain the witch trialsŰŞ cause in writing, and then share their conclusions with the class.
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did people care about the Butler Act? Students first read an excerpt from a 1914 textbook, A Civic Biology, and answer brief questions. The teacher then gives a mini-lecture on the rise of religious fundamentalism in the 1920s and streams a video clip on the Scopes Trial. Students fill out a graphic organizer during/after they watch and then they analyze 4 documents: 1) a letter to the editor of the Nashville Tennessean, 2) a speech from one of John ScopesŰŞ defense attorneys, 3) a magazine article written by a fundamentalist preacher, and 4) a New York Times article commenting on the media circus. For each, they answer guiding questions. A final class discussion contextualizes the documents: how did the context of the 1920s make this more than a simple debate over evolution?
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Were critics of the First World War anti-American? Students begin by free-writing: what is patriotism? Is it unpatriotic to criticize oneŰŞs government? Students receive 2 documents: a speech by Eugene Debs and a pamphlet by Charles Schenck. For both, they answer detailed questions on a graphic organizer. After discussing, students then look at the text of the 1917 Sedition Act and answer guiding questions. Finally, the class looks at Oliver Wendell HolmesŰŞ Supreme Court decision ruling against Schenck and discuss: Did he break the law? Do you agree with the decision? For homework, students answer the central question in writing with evidence from the documents.
In this lesson, students analyze a primary source in an effort to answer the central historical question: How did Americans react to ShaysŰŞ Rebellion? Students read a textbook excerpt (included) about ShaysŰŞ Rebellion and a letter from Thomas Jefferson speaking about ShaysŰŞ rebels. Students answer questions that ask them to analyze the letter through sourcing, contextualization, close reading, and corroboration questions. A final class discussion corroborates the textbook passage and the Jefferson letter in an effort to challenge the popular account in which all Americans feared the rebellion.
In this lesson, students analyze a variety of primary and secondary sources in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did the Founding Fathers keep slavery in the Constitution? Students first read Thomas JeffersonŰŞs original (deleted) anti-slavery grievance from the Declaration of Independence. Students are then given brief statements from 4 different Founders (Benjamin Franklin among them). These are followed by paragraph-length analyses from 3 historians who comment from a historical distance on the FoundersŰŞ unwillingness or inability to eliminate slavery. The lesson ends with a “debrief” class discussion.
In this unique 2-day lesson, students reflect on events from their own lives to understand how learning history depends on different perspectives and the reliability of source information. On Day 1, students write their version of their birth and discuss the limitation of their own perspective with a classmate. For homework, they then create an autobiographical “pamphlet” of key events and must interview another person to get their perspective on the event, corroborating the 2 versions and taking notes on the interview. On Day 2, students share their events and what they have learned, and the teacher explains how studying history depends on a similar corroborationŰÓcross-checkingŰÓof evidence.
In this lesson, students analyze primary and secondary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Which historical account of Social Security is more accurate? Students begin by responding to a prompt: should out-of-work Americans receive government assistance? The teacher then streams a video on the New Deal and its critics, including Huey Long, followed by discussion. Students then look at the summarized views of 2 historians, Carl Degler and Barton Bernstein. In pairs, students summarize and discuss. They then read 3 primary source documents: 1) a 1935 speech by FDR, 2) the testimony of NAACP spokesman Charles Houston before Congress, and 3) a letter to Mrs. Roosevelt by an anonymous critic of Social Security. For each, students answer guiding questions. In a final class discussion, students corroborate the documents and use them to side with the views of 1 historianŰÓDegler or BernsteinŰÓover the other.
In this lesson, students analyze primary sources in an effort to answer the central historical question: What accounted for American atrocities during the Philippine War? The teacher first uses a timeline to review basic information about the Philippine occupation and the 1902 Senate hearings regarding atrocities. Students then read numerous source documents from witness and participants in the war: the testimony of U.S. soldiers to the Senate, letters from soldiers to home, and a report from a Filipino soldier. Students use the sources and a graphic organizer to test 3 different hypotheses as to why soldiers were brutal. In a 1-page final response, students write about the hypothesis they find most convincing, using textual evidence. A final class discussion follows.
In this lesson, students analyze primary sources in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did the U.S invade Cuba? The teacher streams a short film (link included) while students take notes as to possible reasons for the invasion. Students then read the following: 1) song lyrics of an anti-Spanish propaganda a song written after the Maine sinking, 2) a telegram sent by Fitzhugh Lee, U.S. Consul-General in Cuba, and 3) a Senate campaign speech from Albert Beveridge. For each, students complete a graphic organizer and guiding questions. A final class discussion goes back to the original class hypotheses and determines which ones are most supported by the evidence.
In this lesson, students study the origins of the American Revolution and the colonial protests against the Stamp Act in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why were colonists upset about the Stamp Act? Students will read 3 primary source documents: 1) a short piece form the Boston-Gazette urging protest, 2) a letter from an English newspaper expressing bafflement over the protests, and 3) a letter from tax collector John Hughes complaining of his ill-treatment and blaming it on the Presbyterians. Following the teacherŰŞs model, students answer sourcing and contextualization questions for the first 2 documents and do the last on their own. Discussion questions which corroborate all 3 documents conclude the lesson.
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did Texans declare independence from Mexico in 1836? The teacher introduces the topic with a film clip (Note: requires registration to Discovery EducationŰŞs website) and timeline and elicits student hypotheses. Students are then given 4 documents: 1) the Texas Declaration of Independence, 2) a letter by Tejano Rafael Manchola, 3) a speech by Mexican Juan Seguin, and 4) a pamphlet by abolitionist Benjamin Lundy. Students then analyze each using a graphic organizer; a final class discussion invites students to participate in the historical debate.