Changes in voting qualifications and participation, the election of Andrew Jackson, and the formation of the Democratic Party"”due largely to the organizational skills of Martin Van Buren"”all contributed to making the election of 1828 and Jackson's presidency a watershed in the evolution of the American political system.
At Ashbrook University , they teach students and teachers about America by using original historical documents. This is their core list of documents that we believe all students and teachers ought to study in order to understand what it means to be an American.
By examining Lincoln's three most famous speeches the Gettysburg Address and the First and Second Inaugural Addresses in addition to a little known fragment on the Constitution, union, and liberty, students trace what these documents say regarding the significance of union to the prospects for American self-government.
EDSITEment brings online humanities resources directly to the classroom through exemplary lesson plans and student activities. EDSITEment develops AP level lessons based on primary source documents that cover the most frequently taught topics and themes in American history. Many of these lessons were developed by teachers and scholars associated with the City University of New York and Ashland University.
In this unit, students will become familiar with fables and trickster tales from different cultural traditions and will see how stories change when transferred orally between generations and cultures. They will learn how both types of folktales employ various animals in different ways to portray human strengths and weaknesses and to pass down wisdom from one generation to the next. Use the following lessons to introduce students to world folklore and to explore how folktales convey the perspectives of different world cultures.
One of the heroes of the Battle of Bunker Hill was Salem Poor, an African American. Black people fought on both sides during the American Revolution. Census data also reveal that there were slaves and free Blacks living in the North in 1790 and after. What do we know about African-American communities in the North in the years after the American Revolution?
In this special revised and updated feature for Black History Month, teachers, parents, and students will find a collection of NEH-supported websites and EDSITEment-developed lessons that tell the four-hundred-year old story of African Americans from slavery through freedom and citizenship to the presidency.
In this lesson, students view archival photographs, combine their efforts to comb through a database of more than 2,000 archival newspaper accounts about race relations in the United States, and read newspaper articles written from different points of view about post-war riots in Chicago.
Late in 1917, the War Department created two all-black infantry divisions. The 93rd Infantry Division received unanimous praise for its performance in combat, fighting as part of France's 4th Army. In this lesson, students combine their research in a variety of sources, including firsthand accounts, to develop a hypothesis evaluating contradictory statements about the performance of the 92nd Infantry Division in World War I.
About one-third of Patriot soldiers at the Battle of Bunker Hill were African Americans. Census data also reveal that there were slaves and free Blacks living in the North in 1790 and later years. What were the experiences of African-American individuals in the North in the years between the American Revolution and the Civil War?
"Democracy in America" by Alexis de Tocqueville is one of the most influential books ever written about America. While historians have viewed "Democracy" as a rich source about the age of Andrew Jackson, Tocqueville was more of a political thinker than a historian. His "new political science" offers insights into the problematic issues faced by democratic society.
This lesson introduces students to American colonial life and has them compare the daily life and culture of two different colonies in the late 1700s. Students study artifacts of the thirteen original British colonies and write letters between fictitious cousins in Massachusetts and Delaware.
This four-lesson curriculum unit will examine the nature of what Winston Churchill called the "Grand Alliance" between the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union in opposition to the aggression of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.
The decision of Britain's North American colonies to rebel against the Mother Country was an extremely risky one. In this unit, consisting of three lesson plans, students will learn about the diplomatic and military aspects of the American War for Independence.
Allegories are similar to metaphors: in both the author uses one subject to represent another, seemingly unrelated, subject. However, unlike metaphors, which are generally short and contained within a few lines, an allegory extends its representation over the course of an entire story, novel, or poem. This lesson plan will introduce students to the concept of allegory by using George Orwell’s widely read novella, Animal Farm, which is available on Project Gutenberg.
In this lesson plan, students will learn about the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac. In the introductory first lesson, they will see how animals are often used as symbols. In the second lesson, they will hear one of several versions of how the 12 animals were chosen. They will then focus upon a few of the animals in the story and see how they can be used as symbols of certain human characteristics. In the third lesson, they will be introduced to the other animals of the zodiac, and they will be given a chart on which they will assign traits to each animal. Then they will consult a number of websites to find the traits traditionally associated with the animals, which they will add to their list. Then, they will come up with a number of ways to compare and contrast the animals in the list. In the third lesson, they will focus upon the animal associated with the year of their birth, learning about its traits and discussing whether or not these apply to themselves and their peers. Finally, each student will make an acrostic, combining the letters of his or her first name with adjectives that relate to his or her zodiac sign.
The purpose of this project is two-fold: first, to encourage students to make the reading of poetry a creative act; and, second, to help students appreciate particular literary devices in their functions as semaphores or interpretive signals. Those devices that are about the imagery of a poem (metaphor, simile, personification, description) can be thought of as magnifying glasses: we see most clearly that upon which the poet focuses our gaze. Similarly, those poetic devices that are about the sound of the poem (alliteration, consonance, enjambment, onomatopoeia, and repetition) can be thought of as volume buttons or amplifiers: we hear most clearly what the poet makes us listen to most attentively.
Drawing upon the online archives of the U.S. Holocaust Museum, this lesson helps students to put the events described by Anne Frank into historical perspective, and also serves as a broad overview of the Nazi conquest of Europe during World War II. After surveying the experiences of various countries under Nazi occupation, the lesson ends with activities related specifically to the Netherlands and Anne Frank.
This lesson concentrates on Anne Frank as a writer. After a look at Anne Frank the adolescent, and a consideration of how the experiences of growing up shaped her composition of the Diary, students explore some of the writing techniques Anne invented for herself and practice those techniques with material drawn from their own lives.
The Bedouins of ancient Arabia and Persia made poetry a conversational art form. Several poetic forms developed from the participatory nature of tribal poetry. Today in most Arabic cultures, you may still experience public storytelling and spontaneous poetry challenges in the streets. The art of turning a rhyme into sly verbal sparring is considered a mark of intelligence and a badge of honor. Students will learn about the origins and structure of Arabic Poetry.
Organized around the compelling question "How have Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders engaged civically and contributed to U.S. culture?" and grounded in inquiry-based teaching and learning, this lesson brings history, civics, and the arts together to learn about the experiences and perspectives of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in U.S. history. Primary sources, literature, and works of art created by AAPI individuals and related organizations provide an historical as well as contemporary context for concepts and issues including civic participation, immigration, and culture.
The month of May is an opportunity for reflection on and commemoration of all that AAPI individuals and organizations have accomplished and contributed to U.S. history and culture. This piece highlights NEH projects and classroom resources for teaching about these experiences in America.
Australian Aboriginal art is one of the oldest continuing art traditions in the world. Much of the most important knowledge of aboriginal society was conveyed through different kinds of storytelling—including narratives that were spoken, performed as dances or songs, and those that were painted. In this lesson students will learn about the Aboriginal storytelling tradition through the spoken word and through visual culture. They will have the opportunity to hear stories of the Dreamtime told by the Aboriginal people, as well as to investigate Aboriginal storytelling in contemporary dot paintings.
The Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan was the hub of a rich civilization that dominated the region of modern-day Mexico at the time the Spanish forces arrived. In this lesson, students will learn about the history and culture of the Aztecs and discover why their civilization came to an abrupt end.
Understanding the Patriot attitude toward the British monarchy is helpful in understanding the Founders' reluctance to have a strong executive under the Articles of Confederation as well as their desire to build in checks of executive power under the Constitution.
This curriculum unit of three lessons examines the social, political and economic conditions of the southern states in the aftermath of the Civil War and shows how these factors helped to shape the Reconstruction debate as well as the subsequent history of American race relations.
Through studying Beatrix Potter's stories and illustrations from the early 1900s and learning about her childhood in Victorian England, students can compare/contrast these with their own world to understand why Potter wrote such simple stories and why she wrote about animals rather than people.
In this curriculum unit, students look at the role of President as defined in the Constitution and consider the precedent-setting accomplishments of George Washington.
Noh, the oldest surviving Japanese dramatic form, combines elements of dance, drama, music, and poetry into a highly stylized, aesthetic retelling of a well-known story from Japanese literature, such as The Tale of Genji or The Tale of the Heike. This lesson provides an introduction to the elements of Noh plays and to the text of two plays, and provides opportunities for students to compare the conventions of the Noh play with other dramatic forms with which they may already be familiar, such as the ancient Greek dramas of Sophocles. By reading classic examples of Noh plays, such as Atsumori, students will learn to identify the structure, characters, style, and stories typical to this form of drama. Students will expand their grasp of these conventions by using them to write the introduction to a Noh play of their own.
In this lesson students learn how Birth of a Nation reflected and influenced racial attitudes, and they analyze and evaluate the efforts of the NAACP to prohibit showing of the film.
By exploring historical accounts of events surrounding the Boston Tea Party, students learn about the sources and methods that historians use to reconstruct what happened in the past.
Reading Robert Browning's poem "My Last Duchess," students will explore the use of dramatic monologue as a poetic form, where the speaker often reveals far more than intended.
This lesson highlights the changing relationship between the city center and the suburb in the postwar decades, especially in the 1950s. Students will look at the legislation leading up to and including the Federal Highway Act of 1956. They will also examine documents about the history of Levittown, the most famous and most important of the postwar suburban planned developments.
By studying paintings from the Cave of Lascaux (France) and the Blombos Cave (South Africa), students will discover that pictures can be a way of communicating beliefs and ideas and can give us clues today about what life was like long ago.
Using the landmark feminist short story "The Yellow Wall-paper," students will employ close reading concepts to analyze setting, narrative style, symbol, and characterization.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman's story "The Yellow Wall-paper" was written during atime of change. This lesson plan, the first part of a two-part lesson, helps to set the historical, social, cultural, and economic context of Gilman's story.
This lesson provides a Common Core application for high school students for Chinua Achebe's novel Things Fall Apart. Students will undertake close reading of passages in Things Fall Apart to evaluate the impact of Achebe's literary techniques, the cultural significance of the work, and how this international text serves as a lens to discover the experiences of others.
Nigerian born Chinua Achebe is one of the world's most well-known and influential contemporary writers. His first novel, Things Fall Apart (1958), is an early narrative about the European colonization of Africa told from the point of view of the colonized people.
Students learn the linguistic strategies Achebe uses to convey the Igbo and British missionary cultures presented in the novel and how the text combines European linguistic and literary forms with African oral traditions.
The traditional religions of Great Britain's North American colonies had difficulty maintaining their holds over the growing population. This did not, however, result in a wholesale decline in religiosity among Americans. In fact, the most significant religious development of 18th century America took place along the frontier, in the form of the Great Awakening. This curriculum unit will, through the use of primary documents, introduce students to the First Great Awakening, as well as to the ways in which religious-based arguments were used both in support of and against the American Revolution.
This lesson provides students with tools to analyze primary source newspaper articles about the Great War (1914"“1917) in order to understand public opinion regarding the U.S. entry into the war from multiple perspectives.
This lesson brings together digital mapping and the Chronicling America newspaper database as part of an inquiry into how and where the women's suffrage movement took place in the United States. Primary source newspaper articles published between 1911-1920 and maps from 1918-1920 are used to prompt student research into how women organized, the type of elections that women could participate in, and the extent to which the 19th Amendment transformed voting rights in the U.S.
Created through a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress, Chronicling America offers visitors the ability to search and view newspaper pages from 1690-1963 and to find information about American newspapers published between 1690"“present using the National Digital Newspaper Program.
This lesson plan attempts to dissolve the artificial boundary between domestic and international affairs in the postwar period to show students how we choose to discuss history.
Whether it be called the Civil War, the War between the States, the War of the Rebellion, or the War for Southern Independence, the events of the years 1861-1865 were the most traumatic in the nation's history. This curriculum unit will introduce students to several important questions pertaining to the war.
In this lesson, student groups create a short, simple play based on their study of broadsides written just before the American Revolution. By analyzing the attitudes and political positions are revealed in the broadsides, students learn about the sequence of events that led to the Revolution
Drawing on the resources of the Library of Congress's Printed Ephemera Collection, this lesson helps students experience the news as the colonists heard it: by means of broadsides, notices written on disposable, single sheets of paper that addressed virtually every aspect of the American Revolution.
This lesson focuses on John Winthrop's historic "Model of Christian Charity" sermon which is often referred to by its"City on a Hill" metaphor. Through a close reading of this admittedly difficult text, students will learn how it illuminates the beliefs, goals, and programs of the Puritans. The sermon sought to inspire and to motivate the Puritans by pointing out the distance they had to travel between an ideal community and their real-world situation.
September 17th is Constitution Day, commemorating the day in 1787 when, at the end of a long hot summer of discussion, debate and deliberation, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed America's most important document.
This lesson looks at Thomas Paine and at some of the ideas presented in his pamphlet, "Common Sense," such as national unity, natural rights, the illegitimacy of the monarchy and of hereditary aristocracy, and the necessity for independence and the revolutionary struggle.
When most people think of the Civil Rights Movement in America, they think of Martin Luther King, Jr. Delivering his "I Have a Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. But "the Movement" achieved its greatest results due to the competing strategies and agendas of diverse individuals.
How do artists create a story that provides a message or provokes emotions in that single frame? This lesson will help students analyze ways in which the composition of a painting contributes to telling the story or conveying the message through the placement of objects and images within the painting.
Witness the unfolding drama of the Constitutional Convention and the contributions of those whom we have come to know as the Founding Fathers. In this lesson, students will become familiar with four important, but relatively unknown, contributors to the U.S. Constitution Convention: Oliver Ellsworth, Alexander Hamilton, William Paterson, and Edmund Randolph.
To what shared principles did the Founding Fathers appeal as they struggled to reach a compromise in the Constitutional Convention? In this lesson, students will learn how the Founding Fathers debated then resolved their differences in the Constitution. Learn through their own words how the Founding Fathers created"a model of cooperative statesmanship and the art of compromise."
The delegates at the 1787 Convention faced a challenge as arduous as those who worked throughout the 1780s to initiate reforms to the American political system. In this unit, students will examine the roles that key American founders played in creating the Constitution, and the challenges they faced in the process.
Focusing on the means used by the Incas to send messages over long distances, the lesson introduces students to the Inca Empire, which extended from northern Ecuador to central Chile and from the Andes to the west coast of South America between 1200 and 1535 CE.
Heavily influenced by social and scientific theories, including those of Darwin, writers of naturalism described"”usually from a detached or journalistic perspective"”the influence of society and surroundings on the development of the individual. In the following lesson plan, students will learn the key characteristics that comprise American literary naturalism as they explore London's "To Build a Fire" and Crane's "The Open Boat."
This curriculum unit of three lessons covers the critical problems for United States foreign policy posed by the outbreak of the wars of the French Revolution. Was the U.S. alliance with France still in effect? Did America's young economy require the maintenance of close ties with Britain? Ultimately, President Washington decided on a position of neutrality. This official position would last until the outbreak of war in 1812. Neutrality proved to be difficult to maintain, however, particularly in light of the fact that both Britain and France consistently interfered with American affairs.