This interdisciplinary lesson integrates analyzing historical primary resources with literary analysis. Students work in groups and express themselves creatively through a multi-media epic poem.
Examine the tension experienced by African Americans as they struggled to establish a vibrant and meaningful identity based on the promises of liberty and equality in the midst of a society that was ambivalent towards them and sought to impose an inferior definition upon them.
The primary sources used are drawn from a time of great change that begins after Reconstruction's brief promise of full citizenship and ends with the First World War's Great Migration, when many African Americans sought greater freedoms and opportunities by leaving the South for booming industrial cities elsewhere in the nation.
The central question posed by these primary sources is how African Americans were able to form a meaningful identity for themselves, reject the inferior images fastened upon them, and still maintain the strength to keep "from being torn asunder." Using the primary sources presented here, look for answers that bring your ideas together in ways that reflect the richness of the African American experience.
This lesson encourages students to identify problems facing African Americans immediately after Reconstruction. Students then work in small groups to identify documents describing a particular problem, consider opposing points of view, and suggest a solution and present their research findings.
Have you ever used a $10 bill, visited an American bank, or studied the United States Constitution? Then, you have encountered, to some extent, the influence of Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804). Indeed, this important figure in the nation’s foundational years assumed numerous integral roles, many of which had an impact on U.S. history, government, and culture. These roles include: writer, lawyer, father, husband, statesman, aide-de-camp, Treasury secretary, and in many ways, an individual with a keen vision for the U.S. that endures today.
In 1782 Jean de Crevecoeur published Letters from an American Farmer in which he defined an American as a "descendent of Europeans" who, if he were "honest, sober and industrious," prospered in a welcoming land of opportunity which gave him choice of occupation and residence. Students will look at life histories from the interviews of everyday Americans conducted by Works Progress Administration officials between 1936-1940 to see if his definition still holds true in this country 150 years later. Students will conclude by working toward a modern definition.
This site helps teachers and students navigate the vast online collections of primary source materials at the Library of Congress. The links, arranged by chronological period, lead to sets of selected primary sources on a variety of topics in U.S. history.
This is a lesson in which students take a trip around the world in 1896 using an online collection of 900 images. The collection includes photos of railroads, elephants, camels, horses, sleds and sleighs, sedan chairs, rickshaws, and other types of transportation, as well as city views, street and harbor scenes, landscapes, and people in North Africa, Asia, Australia, and Oceania.
Students use primary sources focused on baseball to explore the American experience regarding race and ethnicity. The unit should be used when studying the World War II era and the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement.
Students are immersed in primary source materials that relate to child labor in America from 1880-1920 to gain a personal perspective of how work affected the American child within a rapidly growing industrial society. This project is student-driven. Students engage in visual and information literacy exercises to gain expertise in analyzing historical data. Most importantly, students emerge from this experience with a very personal sense that children significantly and heroically affected the building of America.
This is a two-part teaching unit about the controversy among conservationists over a proposal to turn part of Yosemite National Park into a dam to furnish water to San Francisco. The first part explores the history of the conservation movement in general, while the second links to primary records, such as Congressional debates, of Hetch Hetchy itself.
This site includes images of newspaper articles (1787), notes Washington and Jefferson wrote on drafts of the Constitution (1787-88), Jefferson's chart of state votes (1788), Washington's diaries (1786-89), Hamilton's speech notes for proposing a plan of government, a Philadelphia map (1752), the broadside Bill of Rights (1791), and other artifacts.
This lesson plan casts students in the role of politically active citizens in 1787, when the Federal Convention in Philadelphia presented the nation with a new model of government. Students, using primary documents from American Memory, produce a broadside in which they argue for or against replacing the Articles of Confederation with the new model of the Constitution.
In the late 1800s, the United States supported an educational experiment that the government hoped would change the traditions and customs of American Indians. Special boarding schools were created in locations all over the United States with the purpose of "civilizing" American Indian youth . Thousands of Native American children were sent far from their homes to live in these schools and learn the ways of white culture. Many struggled with loneliness and fear away from their tribal homes and familiar customs. Some lost their lives to the influenza, tuberculosis, and measles outbreaks that spread quickly through the schools. Others thrived despite the hardships, formed lifelong friendships, and preserved their Indian identities. Through photographs, letters, reports, interviews, and other primary documents, students explore the forced acculturation of American Indians through government-run boarding schools.
This is a teaching unit that leads students to the famous Federal Writers Project and gets them started writing found poems. Among the examples is a free verse poem written after reading an account of surviving the Blizzard of 1888.
This site consists of three lessons examining George Washington's leadership in the French and Indian War, at the Federal Convention, and as chief executive. They are based on primary source documents from the George Washington Papers, 1741-1799. The lessons are intended for secondary students, grades 8-12. The documents from Washington's Letterbooks include focus questions that may be used in Socratic seminars and in cooperative learning groups.
This is a lesson in which students examine songs, interviews, and photos of migrant farm workers in California during the Great Depression and then create a scrapbook from the point of view of a migrant worker. Students use photos and recordings of migrant workers to create captions, letters, and songs. This lesson can be particularly useful when students are learning about the Great Depression or reading The Grapes of Wrath.
includes photos, a teachers guide, and other resources for learning about the largest migration in American history. This migration occurred in the 1930s when poor soil conservation practices and extreme weather in the Great Plains exacerbated the existing misery of the Great Depression.
This lesson helps students examine the motivations of people who traveled west during the 1800s, as well as the conditions they encountered, the conflicts between settlers and native people, and policies of the federal government. Students interpret first person narratives and choose a role for in-depth study -- a gold miner, fur trader, pioneer family, Native American, or explorer.
What evidence do we have that French Canadian immigrants settled in New England? Who were these people? Why did they come to the region in such large numbers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries? What was life like for them? What values did they bring with them that helped shape the region? Using American Life Histories, 1936-1940 and The Nineteenth Century in Print: Periodicals to answer these questions, students reach an understanding of the impact that French Canadians have had in New England.
The New Deal programs and agencies, created under the leadership of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, had a powerful impact on the relationship of government to the people of the United States. Yet a study of New Deal programs often leaves the student with a disconnected list of 'alphabet soup' programs and no real grasp of the impact of the New Deal.This lesson takes a student through a process of examining primary sources, both photographs and life histories, to develop a sense of the profound impact the Great Depression had on real people's lives. Then after studying New Deal Programs, students apply what they've learned to improve the situations of those people, whose life history interviews they have read. They synthesize the information gathered into an essay which has both an expository and a creative component. For 10th grade students.