Unit Plans

Need new ideas on how to teach American history? Search our database of plans to discover plans aligned to 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.

Check back often as over the next few months we update and post unit and lesson plans that existed on our previous website.

 

Browse Unit Plans

This unit plan teaches students how women’s roles during the American Civil War and World War I have both changed and remained the same. Students will analyze primary visual sources, such as paintings and photographs, to develop conclusions. Through various activities and worksheets, students will discover what a primary source is, how to analyze visual materials, and about women's roles during the Civil War and World War I.

Grade Level: High School
Standards:
8.1.9.A
8.1.12 A
8,1,12 C
8.1.U.A
8.1.U.C
8.3.U.B

The Battle of Gettysburg proved one of the largest and bloodiest battles in American military history. In just three days, the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia sustained roughly a combined 50,000 casualties (killed, missing and wounded) in armies that exceeded 130,000 soldiers. Though the war would continue for two more years, the Army of the Potomac's victory provided renewed hope to the Northern war effort, in the shadow of seemingly incessant Confederate victories. The maps used in conjunction with this lesson plan serve to explain the geography and topography of Gettysburg during the battle and how the Army of the Potomac's utilization of it served to facilitate it's victory.

Grade Level: High School
Standards:
8.1.U.C
7.1.U.A

Native American-European Contact is a cross-curricular lesson plan that explores the nature of the first encounters between Native Americans and Europeans in colonial Pennsylvania. Drawing on the concept of worldview, students learn to think critically about the cultural differences between Europeans and Native Americans, and how those differences shaped interaction and potential misunderstandings between the groups as they negotiated trade and diplomatic relationships.

Grade Level: High School
Standards:
8.1.12.B
8.1.12.C
8.2.12.B
8.2.12.D
9.2.12.D
9.3.12.A

Since the 1980s, there has been a surge in immigration to the United States from the African continent. African immigrants represent various nations, cultures, languages, and religions. Their immigration experiences are also very diverse and Africans leave their home countries and immigrate to the United States for various reasons.  African immigrants come to the United States by several methods including work/student visa, refugee resettlement, family reunification, political asylum, and the U.S. Diversity Lottery.

Grade Level: High School
Standards:
8.1.9.B
8.1.12.C
8.2.9.A
8.4.9.D

The reform movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries have great relevance to modern America, especially with respect to poverty and its attendant social problems. Then, as now, a growing wealth gap created pockets of severe poverty and large-scale unemployment, which endangered health and contributed to deficiencies in education and literacy.

Grade Level: High School
Standards:
8.1.12.B
8.3.9.A
6.1.9.D

...I hope, therefore, that my beloved countrymen and all Germany will care no less to obtain accurate information as to how far it is to Pennsylvania, how long it takes to get there; what the journey costs, and be sides, what hardships and dangers one has to pass through; what takes place when the people arrive well or ill in the country; how they are sold and dispersed; and finally, the nature and condition of the whole land. I relate both what is good and what is evil...
--Gottlieb Mittelberger's Journey to Pennsylvania, 1754

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

This lesson is part of a suite of lesson plans associated with PhilaPlace, that explores the neighborhoods of Philadelphia.  This unit reolves around the physical and social meeting place of ethnic cultures in an urban setting.  Particularly, the unit discusses the erection of a mural wall located on 9th street in downtown Philadelphia.  The unit explores, through discussion, direct isntruction and  the creation of personal wall murals, how different cultures can use a physical space to incorporate different traditions and beliefs

Grade Level: High School
Standards:
8.2.8.A
8.2.8.B
8.2.8.C
8.2.8.D
8.3.8.D
7.3.C.A

The Ninth Street Market is one of the nation’s oldest open-air markets, established around the turn of the 20th century by Italian immigrants who sold fruits, vegetables, and meats from carts and stands. The early commercial activities of the market were shaped by the factory life that surrounded the market.

Grade Level:
Middle School
High School
Standards:
8.2.9.A
8.2.12.B
8.2.12.C
7.1.6.A
7.1.6.B
7.3.12.A

On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which gave the military broad powers to ban any citizen from a coastal area stretching from Washington state to California and extending inland into southern Arizona. For the next four years, more than 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry—77,000 of them American citizens—were removed from this area and incarcerated indefinitely without criminal charges or trial. Forty-six years and eight presidents later, on August 10, 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 into law.

Grade Level: High School
Standards:
8.1.9.B
8.1.12.A
8.1.12.B
8.3.9.A
8.3.12.A
8.3.12.D

When the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920, Philadelphia was the largest city and Pennsylvania was by far the largest state in which women had not previously had the right to vote. Several Pennsylvanians had been prominent leaders in the long struggle to secure woman suffrage. Women like Dora Lewis and Caroline Katzenstein were active in the Pennsylvania and national branches of both the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) and the National Woman’s Party (NWP), the two organizations most responsible for the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment.

Grade Level: High School
Standards:
8.1.12.C
5.2.12.A
5.3.12.F
8.2.12 A
8.2.12.D