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Lesson Planet

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper: 19th Century African-American Writer and Reformer

For Teachers 6th - 12th Standards
Although some African American abolitionists—such as Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglass—are well known, others, like Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, remain in the shadows of history. Harper was a poet and activist who played an...
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Lesson Planet

Civil War Weaponry and Medicine: A Disastrous Mismatch

For Teachers 6th - 8th Standards
Ironically, science was the reason why the Civil War was so deadly. Despite the use of medical practices now considered barbaric—such as conducting surgery with bare, dirty hands—developments in weaponry meant that more men died on and...
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Lesson Planet

Northern Racism and the New York City Draft Riots of 1863

For Teachers 6th - 12th Standards
Just how racist were some people in the North during the American Civil War? Using excerpts of the Conscription Act, as well as graphic images of lynchings, young historians consider why white people in New York City rioted and killed...
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Lesson Planet

Lincoln and the Republicans: The Cause of the War?

For Teachers 6th - 8th Standards
In today's political rhetoric, many forget the pivotal role the Republican Party played in the causes of the Civil War. The party's formation was the final straw for Southerners who saw the enslavement of people of African descent a...
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Lesson Planet

Slavery and Civil Disobedience: Christiana Riot of 1851

For Teachers 6th - 8th Standards
When is it a moral obligation to disobey the law or to fight back? Using primary sources that document the "Christiana Riot" of 1851, learners consider these questions. The firsthand accounts tell the story of the riot, which happened...
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Lesson Planet

Juneteenth: An American History through Maps

For Students 6th - 12th
An interactive website traces the history of Juneteenth celebrations from their origin in Galveston, Texas, on June 19th to the present day.  Using interactive maps, learners can find information about the African-American population...
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Lesson Planet

What Is Juneteenth, and Why Is It so Important?

For Students 6th - 12th Standards
A short TEDEd video details the history of Juneteenth celebrations, the events of June 19, 1865, and the importance of Juneteenth celebrations.
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Lesson Planet

Speaking Up and Speaking Out: Exploring the Lives of Black Women During the 19th Century

For Teachers 6th - 12th Standards
Young historians investigate the often-hidden history of free and enslaved African American women before the Civil War. Using a collection of primary and secondary sources, including speeches, diaries, and poems, they evaluate the often...
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Lesson Planet

Red Record of Lynching Map Analysis

For Teachers 5th - 8th
Long before the civil rights movement, leaders were working to secure equal rights. An informative activity explains the 1922 anti-lynching campaign with a map. Scholars analyze the map, complete a worksheet, and participate in group...
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Lesson Planet

Ports of Immigration: Angel Island and Ellis Island

For Teachers 6th - 8th
Young historians travel back to the past to explore immigration in the United States. Scholars match images of immigrants to Angel and Ellis Island. The activity also includes a worksheet and a short group discussion to understand...
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Lesson Planet

Petition Against Annexation of Hawaii

For Teachers 6th - 12th
Stop westward expansion! The quick activity delves into the past to understand the petition against the annexation of Hawaii by the United States. Scholars analyze the petition to understand why native Hawaiians were against the...
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Lesson Planet

Patent Analysis: Wright Brothers' Flying Machine

For Teachers 3rd - 6th
Ideas take flight in an exciting activity exploring the Wright Brothers. Scholars view the Wright Brothers' patent for their flying machine and makes educated guesses as to the purpose of the document. Scholars discuss the purpose of...
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Lesson Planet

Lewis Hine Shedding Light on Child Labor through Photographs

For Teachers 6th - 12th
The Industrial Revolution: long hours, low pay, and unsafe conditions. An eye-opening activity explores the darker side of industry and exposes the realities of child labor with photos. Scholars view four photos from the famous...
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Lesson Planet

Nineteenth Century Reform Movements: Women's Rights

For Teachers 6th - 12th Standards
It's hard to imagine a world where women were marginalized from the seats of power. Yet, there are women today who remember what it was like to not be allowed to vote. Using a DBQ of images and other primary sources, such as political...
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Lesson Planet

Methods of Reform: The Lowell Mill Girls

For Teachers 6th - 8th Standards
Although the girls and women who worked in the Lowell Mills are not often seen this way, they are the forbearers of the American labor movement. Pupils examine primary sources, including testimony about life at Lowell and labor laws, as...
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Lesson Planet

The Star-Spangled Banner: Fact or Fiction?

For Teachers 3rd - 8th Standards
Is the Star-Spangled Banner an actual account of a gripping battle, or is it just a catchy tune? Young scholars compare eyewitness descriptions of the War of 1812 battle that inspired "The Star-Spangled Banner." They also examine images...
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Lesson Planet

Why is John Adams Standing on Thomas Jefferson's Foot?

For Teachers 3rd - 5th Standards
Was it a bromance, or were they frenemies? Young historians use a controversial portrait and letters between Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and others to evaluate the relationship between the two Founding Fathers. Examining the primary...
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Lesson Planet

How Did the Public View Women’s Contributions to the Revolutionary War Effort?

For Teachers 3rd - 5th Standards
Calling upon the legacies of Joan of Arc, Elizabeth I, and Catherine the Great, Esther Reed rallied Southern women to support the American Revolution. Using a broadside by Reed and other primary sources, such as poetry, young historians...
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Lesson Planet

iCivics Backyard Adventure

For Students 6th - 12th
Imagine arguing a real Supreme Court case! Running your own county government! Acting as President for a day! iCivics offers games, web scavenger hunts, and other activities that encourage summer scholars to learn about their communities...
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Lesson Planet

Breaking the Great League of Peace and Power: The Six Iroquois Nations During and After the American Revolution

For Teachers 3rd - 8th
What happens when you can't remain neutral? An informative lesson explores the impact of the American Revolution on the Iroquois Nations. Scholars learn about the six Iroquois nations and their treaty with the newly formed American...
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Lesson Planet

Fighting for Whose Freedom? Black Soldiers in the American Revolution

For Teachers 3rd - 5th
Fight for freedom! The lesson delves into the world of African American soldiers during the American Revolution. Scholars read documents, such as the Dunmore Proclamation, to understand how the British government treated African...
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Lesson Planet

The Founding Fathers and the Constitutional Struggle Over Centralized Power

For Teachers 3rd - 8th
Believe it or not, the Constitution was America's second attempt at a democratic government. Academics travel back to the past to explore the shortcomings of the Articles of Confederation that would eventually lead to the Constitutional...
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Lesson Planet

The Untold Story: The Black Struggle for Freedom during the Revolutionary War in Maryland

For Teachers 3rd - 5th
The American Revolution brought freedom to select groups and ignored others. An enlightening resource highlights the struggle of African Americans during the American Revolution and their efforts to escape slavery. Scholars analyze...
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Lesson Planet

Who Fired the Shot Heard Round the World?

For Teachers 6th - 8th
Take a closer look. Young academics become detectives in an engaging instructional activity on the American Revolution. Scholars work in groups to analyze documents to uncover whether the American colonists or British soldiers fired the...