Published Lessons

Lessons in this area of the site have been vetted and approved as model lessons. These lessons have been subjected to intense review, editing, revision and discussion. If you have an idea on how to improve, expand, or adapt a Published Lesson, you can still join the lesson group to share your ideas.

Civil War: To Secede Or Not To Secede?


Students will look at two accounts from opposing sides of the Civil War in order to analyze how Abraham Lincoln’s election fueled the decision to join the war effort. To demonstrate their understanding of the readings, students will use the writing strategy, RAFT (Role Audience Format Topic), where they will take on the role of the two individuals text messaging each other their reasons for being supporters of one side or the other.

The Daily Lives of Slaves


This lesson utilizes the Stanford History Education Group (SHEG) strategy of Opening Up the Textbook (OUT). In an OUT lesson, students complicate, expand, and bring to life the historical content in their textbook using primary source documents. This lesson focuses on the daily experience of slaves in the antebellum South—their living and working conditions, family life, and treatment by their masters and overseers—and how this experience is represented in the student textbook versus slave narratives. This lesson concludes with students writing a letter to the editors of their textbook critiquing/praising the textbook’s treatment of the slave experience and offering suggestions for future editions.

Understanding Loyalists & Patriots in the American Revolution


In this C3-aligned lesson, students will analyze primary source documents to understand the motives of those who supported and opposed the American Revolution before engaging in a “Patriot, Loyalist, or Neutral” game. The lesson concludes with (1) students working in pairs to write a two-voice poem representing a patriot and a loyalist or (2) students working individually to write letters/diary entries from the perspective of a patriot, loyalist, or someone who chose to remain neutral.

Bill of Rights – “Do I Have a Right?”


In this C3 aligned lesson, students will spend time exploring the Bill of Rights from the US Constitution. They will determine what each right guarantees, the reason behind the right being included in the Constitution, and examples of how the right has been protected since the amendment was written. They will demonstrate their learning through playing the game, “Do I Have a Right? Bill of Rights edition,” as well as through group presentations.

Abolitionists in Antebellum America


In this lesson, students will take on the role of abolitionists in antebellum America. After developing their own characters, students will work in small groups to read and analyze a variety of primary sources that pose challenges for abolitionists. As abolitionists at an organizational meeting, students will debate these issues before developing a majority consensus and creating a platform that outlines their group’s core beliefs on these issues. Finally, students will individually demonstrate their knowledge by staying in character to respond in writing to the issues raised by the documents.


U-S-Slavery-MuseumMini Lesson

Through cooperative learning students explore and analyze documents containing information about the lives of Fredrick Douglas and Harriet Tubman.

Deconstructing Reconstruction

reconstructionMini Lesson

In this lesson, students will identify the components of Reconstruction after the Civil War and determine whether Reconstruction was a success or a failure. In order to do so, students will analyze primary sources from opposing perspectives on Reconstruction before forming their own opinion, based on textual evidence.

Reconstruction: Civil War to Katrina (1865-1870)


What is the connection between the treatments of the freedman (former slaves) during Reconstruction after the Civil War to what happened to many African Americans after Hurricane Katrina?

The Nation Breaks Apart (1850-1865)


How did the geography of the North and South impact how each section developed differently in their respective cultures, economies, and views on slavery? How did the failure of compromises on these issues lead to Civil War?

Why They Cried


Looking at the “Trail of Tears” from a geographic and historic perspective, students will answer one essential question: Why did they cry?

Community Groups

Here you have the opportunity to download lessons and resources that are still "works in progress". Teachers have the opportunity to use the lesson as it exists, or they can choose to join the lesson group to collaborate on how to improve, expand, and adapt the lesson plan.

Why not start one?