In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents and engage in a Structured Academic Controversy in an effort to answer the central historical question: Was [Haymarket Riot defendant] Albert Parsons a dangerous man? First, the teacher uses a timeline to introduce Haymarket and the 8 men put on trial in its aftermath. Students are then given 6 documentsŰÓseveral by Parsons himself, but also a newspaper account of the trial, trial testimony, and a 2006 secondary sourceŰÓand answer guiding questions. Students then divide into groups of 4 and into pairs within each group. Each pair presents the argument to the other that Parson was/was not “dangerous”; 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.
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did people, including women, oppose womenŰŞs suffrage? It is recommended (but not essential) that the teacher begin by screening some of the HBO film Iron Jawed Angels to start a discussion about the motives of anti-suffragists. In groups, students then analyze 3 documents: 1) an excerpt from Molly SeawellŰŞs anti-suffragist book, 2) an anti-suffrage newspaper article, and 3) a speech by Tennessee Congressman John Moon. For each, students answer questions on a graphic organizer. In a final class discussion, students discuss the validity of anti-suffragistsŰŞ motives, relate them to the film, and discuss what other sources they might want to read for further corroboration and contextualization.
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did many Americans oppose the Vietnam War? First, students view 2 anti-war images and a timeline of anti-war events. They fill out a graphic organizer and formulate a hypothesis that answers the central question; discussion follows. Students then read 2 documents: a speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. and John KerryŰŞs testimony before Congress. For both, they complete questions on a graphic organizer. Final class discussion: Why did anti-war sentiment grow? Did only college kinds participate? How do you think supporters of the war might have responded?
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: How should we remember the dropping of the atomic bomb? First, students are told that they will choose an appropriate photo to accompany a U.N. website commemorating the dropping of the bomb. Students are then introduced to 2 narratives about WWII: “Hiroshima as Victimization” (the Japanese point of view) vs. “Hiroshima as Triumph” (the American point of view). The class is then divided into 2 halves, each of which looks at a variety of source documentsŰÓanecdotes, letters, and dataŰÓthrough its sideŰŞs point of view only. Students then form groups of 4 to choose which image should be used in the ‘website.ŰŞ Each group shares its image and explains why they chose it. In a final discussion, the class talks about whether the bomb should have been dropped and whether they can second-guess a decision like TrumanŰŞs.
In this lesson, students view and discuss a PowerPoint presentation in an effort to answer the central historical questions: Why did people oppose womenŰŞs suffrage? Did anti-suffragists think men were superior to women? As a starter, the teacher displays a photo of a WWI-era suffragette and asks students when they think the picture was taken. Then, using the PowerPoint, students review the history of the suffrage movement, starting with the Seneca Falls convention (the class pauses to read and discuss Mott and StantonŰŞs “Declaration of Sentiments”) and finishing with Alice PaulŰŞs acts of civil disobedience and the passage of the 19th Amendment. Discussion questions are included throughout.
In this lesson, students will study the first outbreak of violence in the American Revolution in an effort to answer the central historical question: What happened at the Battle of Lexington? Through sourcing and contextualization questions students will study a textbook passage on the battle, 2 primary source documents (one from a British soldier and one from a group of minutemen), and 2 paintings of the battle. As a final assessment, students will rewrite the textbookŰŞs account, taking into account the new perspectives they have learned.
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Who was a stronger advocate for African-Americans, Booker T. Washington or W.E.B. DuBois? The teacher first uses a mini-lecture and a streaming video clip from Discovery Education to explain late 19th-century race relations in the South. Students then analyze an excerpt from WashingtonŰŞs ‘Atlanta CompromiseŰŞ speech as the teacher modelsŰÓextensivelyŰÓsourcing, contextualization, corroboration, and close reading techniques, answering questions on a graphic organizer. Students then do the same, on their own, with a selection from DuBoisŰŞ Souls of Black Folk. A final class discussion evaluates the 2 men: who was more right in his approach, given the historical context?
In this lesson, students analyze primary and secondary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: What caused the Chicago race riots of 1919? The teacher begins with a mini-lecture on the Great Migration and then streams the video trailer for a documentary film called Up South. Students then read 2 secondary source accounts of the riots: 1 from a generic textbook and another from John H. FranklinŰŞs From Slavery to Freedom. Students analyze with a graphic organizer and discuss: which account is more believable and why? They then do the same for 3 primary sources, drawn from contemporary newspapers and magazines. A final class discussion attempts to identify the real cause of the riots and places them in a larger context of racial violence at the time.
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: What factors contributed to the Chinese Exclusion Act? After a mini-lecture on the Transcontinental Railroad, students read a timeline and formulate hypotheses as to why Chinese were legally excluded from mainstream society in 1882. They then answer guiding questions on 4 documents: 1) an anti-Chinese play, 2) a Thomas Nast cartoon, 3) an anti-Chinese speech, and 4) the autobiography of a Chinese immigrant. For homework, students write a 1-page answer to the central question using evidence from the documents.
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Was JFK a strong supporter of Civil Rights? First, the teacher streams a video clip from Discovery Education on JFK and civil rights. Students form a hypothesis and discuss whether JFK was ‘strongŰŞ on civil rights based on this. Students then read a 1963 JFK speech supporting the Civil Rights Act; as a class, they answer sourcing, close reading and context questions and revisit their hypothesis. Students then read John LewisŰŞs controversial original draft of the speech he delivered at the March on Washington. They answer guiding questions which corroborate both documents and attempt to reach a conclusion. If there is time, the teacher may bookend the lesson with another clip which shows how LBJ signed the eventual law into action.
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Who was primarily responsible for the Cold War: the United States or the Soviet Union? The teacher begins with a timeline and brief PowerPoint to set up early Cold War chronology. Students then receive 2 documentsŰÓChurchillŰŞs “Iron Curtain” speech and the “Truman Doctrine” speechŰÓanswer guiding questions and formulating an initial (probably pro-American) hypothesis. They then corroborate this with another 2 documentsŰÓa telegram by Soviet ambassador Novikov and a critical speech by Henry WallaceŰÓand formulate another (perhaps more sympathetic to the Soviet position) hypothesis. Students share answers and discuss as a class: which hypothesis is more believable? What further evidence would you like to see?
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did the Russians pull their missiles out of Cuba? The teacher begins by recapping the Cold War and the presence of missiles in Cuba and streams a video clip from Discovery Education about the Crisis and the negotiations that ended it. Students then analyze, in pairs, 3 documents: 1) a letter from Chairman Khrushchev to President Kennedy, 2) a letter from Kennedy to Khrushchev, and 3) a cable from Soviet ambassador Dobrynin to his foreign ministry. For each, they answer guiding questions. A final class discussion addresses the documents: What kind of a deal was struck? Why was it secret? Does the class textbook mention it?
In this lesson, students study primary and secondary sources in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did the Founders write the Declaration of Independence? Students will examine contrasting views by two historians. Then they will read the preamble of the Declaration (2 versions of varying reading complexity are provided) and rewrite it in their own words. Students will also examine a simplified list of the grievances against King George specified in the Declaration. Finally, students and teacher attempt to answer the central question and determine which featured historian has the better argument.
In this lesson, students inhabit the roles of historians as they try to judge the accuracy and trustworthiness of one primary source over another. Students are divided into groups of 3 and given 6 historical questionsŰÓfor each, 2 sources/accounts are listed and students explain which they find more trustworthy, and why. (Example: a high school history textbook vs. a contemporary newspaper account.) In a class discussion, students explain their answers, and the teacher has the opportunity to explain that true historical understanding is intertextual, depending on corroboration of sources.
This lesson requires students to look at 2 passenger manifests of English colonists headed to the New World: one to the Chesapeake and the other to New England. From the passengersŰŞ names, ages, and occupations, students must infer information about the “average” colonist who settled each region.
In this lesson, students analyze primary sources in an effort to answer the central historical question: What sank the Maine? The teacher introduces the concept of media sensationalism and shows a painting of the MaineŰŞs destruction and a propaganda song blaming the Spanish. Students then receive opposing newspaper accounts from HearstŰŞs New York Herald and the New York Times; for each, they fill out a graphic organizer and/or guiding questions. A class discussion explores how the reporting of news influences readersŰŞ opinions. For homework, students explain--using textual evidence--which account they find more believable.
In this lesson, students analyze two primary sources in an effort to answer the central historical question: What type of government did Federalists and Anti-Federalists prefer? The lesson begins with a mini-lesson introducing historical context for the Constitutional Convention, the Great Compromise over Representation, and the ratification process. Students then analyze, with the aid of a graphic organizer, two documents: one by an Anti-Federalist (Melancton Smith) and one by a Federalist (Alexander Hamilton). Students discuss as a class the two positions and their modern-day implications.
In this lesson, students study the Great Awakening and one of its most notable preachers, George Whitefield, in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why was George Whitefield so popular? After viewing an online film clip and a brief PowerPoint to establish context for the Great Awakening and some of its “superstar” preachers, students are presented with 3 primary sources regarding Whitefield: 1) a long-after-the-fact anecdote by Benjamin Franklin, 2) a contemporary (but undated) account by a born-again Whitefield follower Nathan Cole, and 3) a hostile and dismissive letter by a rival preacher, Nathanael Henchman. For each, students answer sourcing and contextualization questions and formulate a hypothesis as to WhitefieldŰŞs popularity. A culminating class discussion addresses the central question.
In this lesson, students analyze primary and secondary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Was the Great Society successful? Students first read LBJŰŞs “Great Society” speech and answer sourcing, close reading and context questions about it before discussing as a class. The teacher then hands out a list of Great Society programs and asks: Which have you heard of? Which do you think were successful? Students then watch a film clip about the Great Society, streamed via Discovery Education. This is followed up with 2 secondary sources: a “Pro” perspective from historian Joseph Califano and a “Con” perspective from Thomas Sowell. They fill out a graphic organizer in groups and discuss: Which historian is more convincing? What kind of evidence does each use to make his case? How do these arguments still play out today?
In this lesson, students analyze primary and secondary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: How and why did the U.S. fight the Cold War in Guatemala? The teacher begins by explaining how covert actions were part of the Cold War. Students read 2 brief accounts of the CIA takeover from recent textbooks. Students answer questions in pairs. Class discussion: Why does each textbook include details the other leaves out? Students then read a declassified CIA documentŰÓan assassination list with names deletedŰÓand discuss: how does this document challenge the textbook accounts? A final class discussion attempts to place this incident in the larger context of what students have learned about the Cold War.
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Was the U.S. planning to go war with North Vietnam before the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution? The teacher begins by showing a map of Vietnam (PowerPoint) and giving students extensive background informationŰÓand a timelineŰÓabout U.S. involvement in the conflict. Students then review 4 documents: 1) the text of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, 2) a memo from McGeorge Bundy to LBJ, 3) a telegram from State Secretary Rusk to the Vietnamese embassy, and 4) the transcript of a phone conversation between Bundy and LBJ. Students answer extensive guiding questions for all documents and write a paragraph-length response to the central question, corroborating all that they have learned. A final class discussion evaluates the evidence.
In this lesson, students analyze two primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: What were the differences between [Alexander] Hamilton and [Thomas] Jefferson? Students first read a textbook summary/description (not included) of the Hamilton/Jefferson dynamic. Then, students are given a letter by each manŰÓboth addressed to George Washington and written on the same dayŰÓeach of which addresses the ongoing feud with the other man. In pairs, students read the documents and answer sourcing, corroboration, contextualization, and close reading questions, including some intriguing ones which encourage students to “pick sides” in the rivalry.
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did the Homestead Strike turn violent? The teacher first recaps labor/industry relations of the era and introduces the Homestead Strike with a timeline. The teacher then models sourcing and close reading techniques with a document: Emma GoldmanŰŞs 1931 autobiography. Students then do the same with an 1892 newspaper interview of Henry Frick, followed by corroboration guiding questions that pit the 2 authors against each other. In a final class discussion, students evaluate the validity of the sources and debate whether the historical “truth” about the strike is knowable.
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Were the Irish considered ‘whiteŰŞ in the 19th century? The teacher introduces the topic with background information on anti-Irish hostility. Students are then split into groups of 4 and given 2 political cartoons (one by Thomas Nast), a primary source except from a Know-Nothing newspaper, and a secondary source by historian David Roediger. For each, they answer guiding questions, and then, using all 4 documents, compare evidence that Irish were/were not considered ‘white.ŰŞ A final class discussion addresses the racially ambiguous status of the Irish.
In this lesson, students analyze primary sources in an effort to answer the central historical question: What was life like in American cities during the Industrial Era? The teacher introduces progressive photojournalist Jacob Riis and projects 2 of his photos; discussion questions ask students if the pictures are trustworthy (posed) and what they might tell us about RiisŰŞs audience. Students then read excerpts from RiisŰŞs book How the Other Half Lives: ugly stereotypes of ethnic Italians, Chinese, and Jews. Students answer guiding questions on the documents, and a final class discussion explores what RiisŰŞs work really tells about American urban life at this time.
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why were Japanese-Americans interned during World War II? The teacher first distributes a timeline, which the class reviews together. Students then view a government-made newsreel from 1942 explaining the rationale for internment. This is followed by 4 more documents, including the ‘Munson Report,ŰŞ an excerpt from the Supreme CourtŰŞs decision in U.S. v Korematsu, and the 1983 report of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians. For each, students answer guiding questions and formulate a hypothesis: according to the document, why was internment necessary? A final class discussion has students determine which document(s) best explain what occurred.
In this lesson, students analyze primary sources in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did Teddy Roosevelt oppose the segregation of San FranciscoŰŞs public schools? The teacher first informs students of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the resultant attempted segregation of Japanese students. Students then read 4 source documentsŰÓletters and public speechesŰÓin which President Roosevelt discusses his reasons for opposing the law, as well as a political cartoon addressing the issue. For each, students answer questions on a graphic organizer: Why do you think TR opposed the issue? What can you infer about the U.S. in 1906? Finally, the class goes over a timeline of relevant events, enabling the teacher to show how reading contextually lets students learn historical context from documents. Students then respond in writing, using all evidence to reach a conclusion of their own.
In this lesson, students analyze several primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Was John Brown a “misguided fanatic?" The teacher may use a PowerPoint and/or timeline (both are included) to set up the topic. Students then examine 2-3 documents (note: 3 are included, but the third is optional and guiding questions for it are not included): 1) BrownŰŞs last letter, written on the day of his death sentence, 2) an 1881 recollection by Frederick Douglass, and 3) a letter by Brown admirer L. Maria Child. Students answer sourcing and contextualization questions for each, and a final class discussion address BrownŰŞs fanaticism or lack of it.
This lesson challenges students to answer the central historical question: What caused King Philip's War of 1675? After warming up with some historical background information, students are presented with 2 primary source documents: a 1675 document ostensibly representing King Philip's "perspective" (but actually written by a colonist) and a post-war query as to the war's causes instigated by the English government. Students then answer questions (sourcing, contextualization, close reading) to analyze the passages and work in pairs to answer a final corroboration question on the war's ultimate cause.
In this lesson, students analyze secondary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Who started the Korean War? The teacher begins by first explaining that textbooks can be biased sources and then uses a brief PowerPoint to show the geography of Korea and why/when war began there. Students then form pairs and read 2 accounts of the war: one from a South Korean textbook and another from a North Korean book. For both, students not only summarize and answer questions, but they must identify which source is which (North or South Korea?) and use textual details to prove it. In a class discussion, students share their answers. If time remains, the class may corroborate these sources with their own class textbook.
In this lesson, students analyze primary and secondary source documents, as well as engage in a Structured Academic Controversy, in an effort to answer the central historical question: Were Lewis and Clark respectful to the Native Americans they encountered on their journey? Detailed directions are provided for both teacher and students as to how to conduct a Structured Academic Controversy. All primary and secondary source documents (a letter from Thomas Jefferson, 4 excerpts from ClarkŰŞs journals from 1805 and 1806, and a Time magazine article exploring the expedition from the Native AmericanŰŞs point of view) are included with the lesson.
In this lesson, students analyze 3 primary source documents (an editorial by Alexander Hamilton, and back-and-forth letters by Senators Rufus King and Timothy Pickering) in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did Federalists oppose the Louisiana Purchase? The teacher models sourcing and contextualization to help students analyze the documents while the students fill in a graphic organizer. A final class discussion attempts to uncover the Federalist criticsŰŞ real motivationsŰÓwas their opposition practical or political?
In this brief lesson, students study the writings of Loyalists during the American Revolution in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did some colonists support England and oppose independence? After a brief teacher introduction establishing historical context, students will read read 2 primary source documents: 1) a pamphlet by Charles Inglis, Anglican minister, explaining the many drawbacks to American independence, and 2) an anonymous newspaper letter urging reconciliation with Britain. While reading, students complete a graphic organizer that applies sourcing, contextualization, corroboration, and close reading to each passage. A final class discussion asks students to draw a conclusion as to whether the Loyalists or Patriots were more reasonable.
In this unique introductory lesson, teachers use the example of a hypothetical “lunchroom fight” to introduce students to the approach and disciplines they will use in the Reading Like a Historian curriculum, sourcing and corroboration in particular. Students pretend to be a principal who must debrief many different witnesses, students, teachers, etc. to the fight. In groups, students answer guiding questions: why might there be so many versions of the truth? What might make 1 witness more/less believable than another? In a group discussion, the teacher connects this type of analysis to the students' upcoming study of historical primary sources.
In this lesson, students analyze maps, art, and primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: How did Americans justify westward expansion? To begin the lesson, students will examine a painting entitled “American Progress.” Students will compare 2 maps of the U.S.: a political map from 1872 and an electoral map from 1816. Next, students examine another 1816 map; the map is unusual in that it depicts the U.S. stretching to the PacificŰÓdecades before this actually happened! Students will read 2 passages by John OŰŞSullivan, coiner of the phrase “Manifest Destiny,” and answer guiding questions. A final class discussion reviews studentsŰŞ answers and touches on the subject of American Exceptionalism.
This lesson plan requires students to compare/contrast two maps, one from 1636 and the other from 1651, of early colonial Virginia. Students will think about how and why maps change over time, including how maps might be affected by changing historical events.
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why was Marcus Garvey a controversial figure? Students first read their textbookŰŞs passage on Garvey and discuss; the teacher then distributes a timeline to extend studentsŰŞ background knowledge. The teacher may also (optional) stream some video clips on Garvey “In His Own Words,” about 5 minutes total. Students then analyze 4 documents: 1) an excerpt from the Autobiography of Malcolm X, 2) a letter from NAACP members and others to the Attorney General complaining of Garvey, 3) a memo by J. Edgar Hoover, and 4) GarveyŰŞs own Autobiography. For all, students answer extensive guiding questions and engage in Socratic discussion with the teacher: why was Garvey so popular and controversial? Students then answer the question in writing using all the documents as evidence.
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: What was life like for Mexicans and Mexican-Americans in the 1920s? Students look at 3 documents: 1) an oral interview of a Mexican immigrant, 2) a traditional Mexican corrido ballad, and 3) a 2003 article from Journal of Social History that contains data on lynching. For each, students complete questions on a graphic organizer in groups. Class discussion: do you trust these documents? What other information would you like to see?
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did the Montgomery Bus Boycott succeed? The teacher first introduces the boycott and Rosa Parks by streaming a film clip from historicalthinkingmatters.org. Students then break into 3 groups and look at a textbook account of the boycott and a timeline, making a “claim” as to why the boycott succeeded and sharing it with the whole class. The groups then corroborate with 2 more documentsŰÓa letter by Jo Ann Robinson and a memo by Bayard RustinŰÓand make another claim. Finally, 2 more documentsŰÓa letter by Virginia Durr and a speech by Martin Luther King, Jr.ŰÓare added to the mix, and students formulate and share a final claim. In a final class discussion, students reflect on how their claims did/did not change as they encountered more evidence.
In this lesson, designed to follow a more general study of the New Deal, students analyze primary and secondary source documents and engage in a Structured Academic Controversy in an effort to answer the central historical question: Was the New Deal a success or a failure? Students receive 7 documents, including a “fireside chat” by FDR, an oral interview, a speech by a WPA representative, unemployment statistics, and song lyrics by the Carter Family. Students then divide into groups of 4 and into pairs within each group to analyze the documents using a graphic organizer. Each pair presents the argument to the other that the New Deal was either (Pair A) successful or (Pair B) a failure. 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.