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.


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Students today have experienced the first recession of the 21st century, but they may not be able to compare their emotions and the daily consequences of this economic event to those of the people who lived through the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Grade Level: High School
8.2.12.A - D
8.1.12.B, C
1.8.12.A, B

Seeking, and finding, a job or career is a top priority for many teens and young adults in today’s world. In this respect, the young people of the 18th century were no different, although their options were more limited and the paths they chose were often set at a very young age. With formal schooling at colleges and academies usually available only to the wealthy or middle classes, many children as young as 12 years of age were expected to pursue a professional apprenticeship with an established tradesman or craftsman.

Grade Level:
Middle School
High School
8.3.8.A & C

Poor Pat Must Emigrate: 19th C. Irish Immigration
“…I am glad to here of yourself getting your health so well and of your father and mother being satisfied with their journey I think they went in a good time for the like of this kingdom at the present is not to be found I believe there is neither employment nor food the people is in a starving state and dying in the hundreds and the streets of Belfast crowded everyday with people gowing out to America half naked…”
--Letter from William Dunne to his nephew John Curtis in America. April 25, 1846

Grade Level:
Middle School
High School