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 Lincoln a racist? Students answer guiding questions about 4 documents: 1) Stephen Douglas debating Lincoln on race, 2) LincolnŰŞs retort to Douglas, 3) young LincolnŰŞs letter to a friend, and 4) a pro-slavery argument by John Robinson. Students then divide into groups of 4 and into pairs A and B within each group. Each pair presents the argument to the other that Lincoln was/was not racist; only at the end do students abandon their previous positions, reach consensus as a group, and defend that view in a final class discussion.
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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 analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Did Lincoln free the slaves or did the slaves free themselves? The teacher may use background information (provided) to set up the topic. Students then examine 2 documents: 1) LincolnŰŞs text of the Proclamation itself and 2) an 1881 recollection by Frederick Douglass on a meeting with Lincoln. For each, students answer worksheet questions in pairs and then fill out a graphic organizer to reach a conclusion. A final class discussion ends the lesson.
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.