American Slavery Lesson Plans: Teaching Hard History

If you are lesson planning for the school year, or getting ready to celebrate Juneteenth — the June 19 holiday recognizing the abolition of slavery — this Share My Lesson collection has what you need to teach preK-12 students the history of American slavery. This preK-12 lesson and activity curated collection is in response to a Southern Poverty Law Center report, “Teaching Hard History: American Slavery,” that shows that schools are failing to teach American Slavery. This collection of resources features some of our partner and users’ best material to ensure schools and teachers have the support they need to teach about the history of American slavery.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Core Documents Collection: Documents and Debates 1493-1865

The Core Documents Collection – Documents and Debates is structured around a series of topics, each based on a question for debate. For each topic, there is a collection of documents that, together, form the basis of argument over that topic – from those who debated it at a given point in American history. Volume One covers 1493-1865, and Volume Two covers 1865-2009.
The goal is to explore a series of critical moments in American history by asking questions for which there are not simple yes/no answers, but instead call for informed discussion and rational debate. The Documents and Debates readers also include appendices of additional documents, and together are a perfect fit for any American History survey course, including AP U.S. History.

  • Resource Type: Primary Sources
  • Subject: History
  • Grades: 10, 11, 12

The Core Documents Collection – Documents and Debates 1865-2009

The Core Documents Collection – Documents and Debates is structured around a series of topics, each based on a question for debate. For each topic, there is a collection of documents that, together, form the basis of argument over that topic – from those who debated it at a given point in American history. Volume One covers 1865-2009.
The goal is to explore a series of critical moments in American history by asking questions for which there are not simple yes/no answers, but instead call for informed discussion and rational debate. The Documents and Debates readers also include appendices of additional documents, and together are a perfect fit for any American History survey course, including AP U.S. History.

  • Resource Type: Primary Sources
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy, Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 10, 11, 12

Core Documents Collection: The Cold War

This collection of documents on the Cold War continues TeachingAmericanHistory.org’s extended series of document collections covering major periods, themes and institutions in American history and government. The volume covers American aid to Europe in the early years of the Cold War and American intervention in subsequent years in conflicts around the world to contain the spread of Soviet power. Its documents also explore the dometic effects of the Cold War, chronicling how national security concerns affected relations between American citizens and between Americans and their government. Each volume includes:

  • Key documents on the period, theme or institution, selected by an expert and reviewed by an editorial board
  • A thematic table of contents, showing the connections between various documents
  • Study questions for each document as well as questions that refer to other documents in the collection
  • Notes on each document to identify people, events, movements, or ideas to improve understanding of the document’s historical context
  • Resource Type: Modules (Teaching Unit), Primary Sources
  • Subject: History
  • Grades: 10, 11, 12

Environmental Laws Timeline Activity

Students will have to select 25 environmental laws in American history from a much larger list. Their goal is to produce their own timeline of American environmental law history to present to the rest of the class. In doing so, they will develop critical thinking and analytic skills and articulate the importance of the Rule of Law to protecting the environment.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

The History of Immigration Law in the United States

This lesson provides a background on the history of immigration policy in the United States, that is the philosophical origins, legal debates, and legal history from the Founding of the nation to the late 1900s. Students will come to understand how American lawmakers viewed immigrants and the reasoning behind the evolving nature of immigration policy.

  • Resource Type: Editorial Cartoons, Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Moments in History: Remembering Thurgood Marshall

Few people know the legal mind of justices or judges as well as the law clerks who have worked with them. Justice Thurgood Marshall’s former law clerks offer unique insights into the character, values, and thought processes of the first African American to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States.  In this 8.5-minute video called “Moments in History:  Remembering Thurgood Marshall,” prominent lawyers reminisce about the examples of compassion and courage they saw in the life and work of this legal legend.  

  • Resource Type: Video
  • Subject:
  • Grades: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

60-Second Civics Podcasts

60-Second Civics is a podcast that provides a quick and convenient way for listeners to learn about our nation’s government, the Constitution, and our history. The podcast explores themes related to civics and government, the constitutional issues behind the headlines, and the people and ideas that formed our nation’s history and government. The show’s content is primarily derived from the Center for Civic Education’s education for democracy curricula, including We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution, Foundations of Democracy, and Elements of Democracy. It’s easy to subscribe! Listen on iTunes or Stitcher or subscribe via RSS.

  • Resource Type: Audio
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

The Northwest Ordinance and Westward Expansion

The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 changed American history. It provided that new states shared coequal status with the original thirteen states. It set out the process for territories to become states and it was the first and only federal anti-slavery policy pre- Civil War. While the Ordinance also established the orderly westward expansion it did so at the expense of Native Americans already living in the territory.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: History
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Indigenous Peoples and Native American Lesson Plans & Resources

November is National Native American Heritage Month, and now more and more schools are recognizing Indigenous Peoples Day, in lieu of Columbus Day, on the second Monday in October. Share My Lesson has curated this collection of free lessons, activities, and videos to assist educators in teaching about the ways of life of indigenous peoples from around the world in order to foster understanding of our shared sense of humanity.