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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This activity is designed to introduce students to the environmental consequences of industrial and urban development in the late 19th century. Students will learn about the devastating effects of industrial waste on the drinking-water supply of Philadelphia in the late 19th century and about the solutions employed to improve public health. They will use primary sources published by the Philadelphia Water Department and the Philadelphia County Medical Society in 1885.

Grade Level: High School
Standards:
1.6.12.A
7.4.9.A
7.4.12.A
8.1.9.A
8.2.9.B
8.1.12.B

In the years after the Civil War many people, like Octavius Catto, worked tirelessly to break down racial barriers and ensure that blacks received the social and political rights they deserved. In many places, including Philadelphia, baseball provided a platform through which to do this. Through their talent, intelligence, diligence, and drive both on and off the field, men like Octavius Catto and the players in Pythian's Base Ball Club worked to build strong ties as well as local and national support systems for the black community of Philadelphia.

Grade Level: High School
Standards:
1.6.9.A
8.1.12.C
8.2.9.D
8.2.12.D
8.4.9.C
8.4.12.C

The Gilded Age of the late 19th century is not typically recalled as an age of reform. Characterized by industrialization, urbanization, and rapid population growth, it was an era of remarkable economic expansion. The Gilded Age also saw a dramatic expansion in the size and scope of government—the federal government employed just 53,000 people in 1871, but numbered 256,00 employees by 1900. Patronage politics was the norm, at every level of government.

Grade Level: High School
Standards:
8.1.12.A
8.1.9.C
5.2.9.D
5.3.9.G
5.3.12.C

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
Standards:
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
Standards:
1.2.9.E
8.1.8.B-C
8.2.9.A
8.2.9.C
8.3.8.A & C

“…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.

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