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

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

The Vigilant Committee of Philadelphia operated between 1837 and 1852; it was the secret auxiliary of the Vigilant Association. The Vigilant Association was a group formed by the ardent abolitionist, Robert Purvis, in August 1837 to publicly promote antislavery ideology and "to create a fund to aid colored persons in distress." The Vigilant Committee's purpose was to appoint offices, raise revenue, and have resources readily available to assist runaway slaves while they stayed in or passed through Philadelphia. The organization dissolved in 1852.

Grade Level: High School
Standards:
8.2.9.A
8.2.12.D
8.3.12.D
8.3.9.B

Antebellum Philadelphia was home to the largest free black community in Philadelphia. These lessons explore the ways in which the Pennsylvania Abolition Society (PAS) worked with and for that community, providing education and employment assistance in the years following abolition in Pennsylvania and before the Civil War. The PAS also took an important role in documenting this community through censuses and home visits throughout the antebellum period.

Grade Level:
Middle School
High School
Standards:
8.1.9.A
8.1.9.B
8.1.U.B
8.1.U.C.
8.2.9.B.
C.C.8.5.9-10.A

Primary sources can enrich curriculum and engage students if used properly.  However, introducing students to using primary sources can be a daunting task. Use the lesson in this unit to introduce students to primary and secondary sources, to introduce the idea of multiple historical perspectives and to build skills for historical analysis.

Grade Level:
Middle School
High School
Standards:
8.1.7.B
8.1.8.B
8.1.9.B
8.1.12.B

In 1701, William Penn created a Charter of Privileges for the residents of his colony. Penn envisioned a colony that permitted religious freedom, the consent and participation of the governed, as well as other laws pertaining to property rights.

Grade Level: Middle School
Standards:
8.2.7.B
8.2.8.B
8.2.6.A
8.2.6.B
8.2.7.A
8.3.8.A

On June 1, 1812, the United States of America declared war on the British. Several international factors led President James Madison to declare war after years of failed negotiations and laws aimed at preventing another conflict with the British.

Grade Level: Grade School
Standards:
8.1.3.C
8.1.4.C
8.1.5.C
8.3.3.B
8.3.4.B
8.3.5.B

In the early 1900s, the Philadelphia labor movement struggled to overcome the obstacles of the city’s close alliance between politicians and businessmen. Few workers experienced an increase in benefits and wages, let alone the formation and recognition of a union. Many ethnic groups suffered from biased hiring policies and corrupt owners.

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

Xenophobia has played a large role in American History from the first English settlers of Pennsylvania to the modern day fears that accompany the arrival of new immigrant groups. People's fears are based on differences in religious, cultural, and social beliefs, as well as economic and national security concerns. The documents within the unit illustrate different xenophobic organizations and laws.

Grade Level: High School
Standards:
8.1.9.A
8.2.9.B
8.2.9.C
8.2.9.D
8.3.9.B
8.1.U.A