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Unit Plans

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

 

 

In this unit, students will expand their learning and knowledge of the significance of African and later African American music, as a strategy of survival, work motivation, community building, and an emotive vehicle of both joy and sorrow during the times of the Triangular Slave Trade and legalized slavery in the United States (including Pennsylvania). Students will ultimately gain knowledge and understanding about the impact and evolution of African American music upon the world right up to the present.

Middle School
8.2.8.A., 8.2.7.B.,

How (and why) did images of African Americans and of women in advertising change during the 1900s? The lesson plans in this unit draw on the rich Balch Institute Ethnic Images in Advertising collection to ask students to consider what ads from the past can tell us about the changing roles and perceptions of African Americans and women in American society.

High School, College

In the collections of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania are the records of a novel effort to rescue Philadelphia’s poor and orphaned children, the Children’s Aid Society of Pennsylvania (CAS).

Middle School, High School
8.2.9D, 8.2.9A

In celebration of the United States’ one-hundredth anniversary of independence, the International Exhibition of Arts, Manufactures, and Products of the Soil and Mine took place in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park. Popularly known as the “Centennial Exhibition,” this exhibition brought millions of people from across the world to Philadelphia, where they witnessed the accomplishments and advancements of the United States, and achievements of other contributing countries.

High School
8.1.9B, 8.1.12C

Emilie Davis was a free black woman living in Philadelphia during the Civil War. Her three diaries, written in 1863, 1864, and 1865, highlight her perspective on many important historical moments, such as, the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln’s assassination, and the Battle of Gettysburg. Comparing her diaries to other accounts and sources from the same time period will allow students to see the world in which that Emilie lived. As a woman in her early twenties, she was concerned with her personal goals, friends, and daily routines.

High School
8.1.6A, 8.1.7A-B

The American Revolution is commonly perceived as the tale of thirteen fed-up colonies banding together to defeat the tyranny of Great Britain, but is this really how it happened?  In the traditional narrative, Loyalists and women are few and far between, and there is no mention of the daily lives that continued during the conflict.

Middle School, High School
8.1.9.A-B, 8.3.9.A-B, 8.2.9B

Observing science textbooks of the 1800s gives students the opportunity to learn the historical roots of their scientifical lessons. One way to accomplish this lesson is through botany. The following lesson combines history with language arts and science in order to learn the parts of a plant, poetry, and how to create a herbarium using 19th century textbooks specifically designed for women.

Middle School
8.3.6-8A, 8.3.6-8B, 1.4.6-8A, 3.1.6A5

Propaganda played an important role in influencing popular culture and national pride during World War I.  In this unit, we provide a lesson that introduces propaganda - its definition, role, and different manifestations.  A second lesson looks at propaganda specifically developed by The National War Garden Commission, started by Charles Lathrop Pack in 1917.

High School
8.1.9.A, 8.1.12B

This WebQuest provides structure to a historical investigation of the Women’s Suffrage Movement by using the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s primary sources. HSP’s online resources allows students and teachers to examine and analyze a variety of different historical documents including historical newspapers, books, pamphlets, manuscripts, photographs, maps, artwork, archived videos and audio records.

High School, College
8.1.12C, 8.3.12D, 1.4.12 B + C, 1.5.12 A + B, 5.2.12E, 1.8.12B, 1.9.12 A + B

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.

High School
8.1.9.A, 8.1.12 A, 8,1,12 C, 8.1.U.A, 8.1.U.C, 8.3.U.B

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