Unit Plans

Need new ideas on how to teach American history? Search our database of plans to discover plans aligned to  Common Core Standards and the Pennsylvania State Standards (SAS).    Big Ideas, Essential Question, Concepts and Competencies are outlined for you. 

Unit plans link to lesson plans that fit class periods.  Each lesson includes learning objectives, vocabulary, and background material for students and teachers as well as primary sources from our collection.

 

 

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Political cartoons were a popular source of information during the Civil War and created an excellent way to disperse a political or social opinion to a wide audience. The Lesson in this Unit features almost twenty political cartoons ranging from 1860-1868 that capture the spirit of the Civil War and help students to learn the multiple opinions and perspectives of those living through it.

Grade Level: High School
Standards:
8.1.5A
8.1.9A
8.1.12B & C
8.3.9C & D

The Lesson in this Unit discusses the Progressive Era from the late 1890’s through the 1912 Presidential Election. The political cartoons provided allow students to analyze opinions  and economic changes that took place. 

Grade Level: High School
Standards:
8.1.12A
8.1.12C
8.3.9B

Propaganda played an important role in influencing popular culture and national pride during World War I.  The National War Garden Commission, started by Charles Lathrop Pack in 1917, used it to advance their message. This lesson will talk about Propaganda during WWI by focusing on War Gardens and their role in society.

Grade Level: High School
Standards:
8.1.9.A
8.1.12B

Few disease outbreaks in the history of early America proved as tragic as the Philadelphia Yellow Fever epidemic of summer, 1793, and fewer still have lingered longer in historical memory.  A bustling center of international trade and commerce that welcomed people, goods, and pathogens from around the world, Philadelphians were well-acquainted with infectious disease prior to the 1793 outbreak.  The city had even known sporadic Yellow Fever outbreaks at various points throughout the eighteenth century.  But that feared disease returned to Philadelphia with a vengeance in summ

Grade Level: Middle School
Standards:
8.1.8 A
8.2.8 A + B
2.5.8 A

In the 19th century, both Southwark and Kensington became home to large Irish communities. The Kensington neighborhood was also home to American-born, mostly Protestant workers, and artisans. In 1844, the Protestant “native” Americans and the Catholic Irish immigrants of Kensington clashed violently for three days during the infamous “Bible Riots.”

Grade Level: High School
Standards:
1.4.12.C
1.5.12.B
8.2.9.C-D
8.2.12.C-D

The Vietnam War was a period of American involvement in Southeast Asia from 1961-1975 in which U.S. troops fought to try to stop communist North Vietnam and their allies from overtaking South Vietnam. Much of the War was fought in a non-traditional guerilla style, and there were many casualties on both sides. As the War continued and more young men were drafted, it became increasingly unpopular with the American public. Photographs and videos shown on the news, many of which were graphic and upsetting, brought the War into the American home

Grade Level: High School
Standards:
8.1.12.B
8.3.12.D

American fraternal societies have existed since 1700s. New immigrants were usually welcomed as members in these organizations.  By the 1890s, however, when millions of new immigrants from southern and eastern Europe began arriving in the United States, a rise in anti-immigrant sentiment and racist attitudes created a bias against allowing new immigrants and African Americans to join the older societies. Prevented from joining established societies like the Freemasons or Knights of Pythias, new immigrants and blacks formed their own.

Grade Level: High School
Standards:
8.1.12.B
8.2.12.D

Through the use primary sources, this unit introduces students to Italian immigration as well as the settlement and the development of Italian American ethnic identity in Pennsylvania. So many Italians headed to Pennsylvania looking for jobs that, from 1890 to 1960, their population by state was the second highest in the country, behind only New York State.

Grade Level: High School
Standards:
8.1.12.B
8.2.12.A+D
8.3.12.D
1.1.12.D
1.2.12.B

In this unit, students will examine the important and chaging role of the railroad in the 19th and early 20th centuries. They will learn about the railroad from two perspetives: those who worked on the railroad and those who rode the railroad. Students will come to understand the change in immigrant labor on the rails over time, gain knowledge of the working conditions and life experiences of immigrant railroad workers, and examine how railroads shaped larger social standards for behavior and comfort. 

Grade Level: High School
Standards:
8.1.9.A
8.1.12.A +B
8.3.9.B
8.3.12.B
1.2.9. A +D
1.2.11. D
1.2.12.A
1.6.10.A

In 1923, Bethlehem Steel president Eugene Grace negotiated a contract labor agreement with the Mexican Consulate for the recruitment of a Mexican labor force. The issues surrounding this event echo many of the same arguments and problems of the modern-day immigration debate.This unit explores the circumstances surrounding Bethlehem Steel’s recruitment of Mexican labor.

Grade Level: High School
Standards:
8.1.12.A
8.3.9.B
8.3.12.C
1.3.9 A + B