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

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

This unit incorporates three documents tracing the advancement of men and women from the status of fugitive slaves to black soldiers fighting for the Union Army in the American Civil War.

Grade Level: High School
Standards:
8.1.U.A
8.2.U.A
8.3.U.A
8.2.U.B
8.3.U.B

This unit examines the struggle women endured economically, politically, and socially in the United States during the nineteenth and twentieth century. Through the analysis of the Hucksters' Petition, National Woman Suffrage Association's Constitution, and the Equal Rights Amendment brochure, students will understand the struggle women encountered in their fight to obtain economic and political rights.

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

The significance of religious freedom in the founding of Pennsylvania can best be understood through an examination of the Jewish Petition to the Dutch West India Company, William Penn’s Charter of Privileges, Address to the Inhabitants of Philadelphia, and correspondence documenting the Philadelphia Bible Riots.

Grade Level: High School
Standards:
8.1.9.A
8.2.9.A
8.1.12.A
8.2.12.A
8.2.9.C
8.2.12.C

Philadelphia’s Chinatown, long viewed by policymakers and non-Chinatown residents as a tourist destination and a place to get a good, affordable meal, is a community with a long history. In studying the history of Chinatown, students can gain valuable knowledge about a range of histories, including the history of immigration policy in the United States, the formation of ethnic enclaves in urban environments, and the role of urban neighborhoods in the development of the city.

Grade Level: High School
Standards:
8.1.12.A
8.1.12.B
8.2.9.D
8.3.9.A
5.3.9.G
5.3.12.H

Exploring Nativism in Pennsylvania is a cross-curricular lesson plan that explores anti-immigrant sentiment and stereotyping during the 19th century. Using the Irish as a case study, students learn about the reasons nativism emerges in American life, and how they can apply the lessons of history to critically understand and contextualize attitudes toward immigrants today.

 
     

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

Throughout the twentieth century, blacks in Pennsylvania employed numerous strategies to achieve the civil rights they deserved. Their efforts for to receive their rights began with a strategy of New Deal liberalism in the 1940s and 50s headed by prominent black leaders. When attempts to rewrite the laws using the esablished political system failed, black leaders encouraged more direct action, like boycotts and sit-ins. The movement quickly took on a black nationalist approach.

Grade Level: High School
Standards:
1.2.12.C
1.2.12.D
5.2.12.A
8.1.12.C
8.2.12.A
8.2.12.B

"...they said they would go speak to their Chiefs and come and tell us what they said, they returned and said they would hold fast of the Chain of friendship. Out of our regard to them we gave them two Blankets and a Handkerchief out of the Small Pox Hospital. I hope it will have the desired effect."-- William Trent's Journal, 1763

Grade Level:
Middle School
High School
Standards:
1.6.6.A
7.1.6.A
8.1.7.B
8.2.6.A
8.2.7.B
8.2.8.B

...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
1.1.12.D
1.2.12.B