Labor Day Lesson Plans & Resources

Share My Lesson has curated a collection of free lesson plans, activities, and resources to help teachers explore labor history with their K-12 students. Students will learn about the meaning of Labor Day, labor history, how Labor Day got its name, how labor unions work, and how labor unions have impacted the course of history.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Media, Modules (Teaching Unit), Oral Histories
  • Subject: State/Local Government
  • Grades: K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

The Meaning of Labor Day

In this ebook, we consider the origins and traditions of Labor Day, the role of the labor movement in America, and the satisfactions of the working life. Each selection includes a brief introduction by the editors with guiding questions for discussion. Includes short stories, speeches, and other writings from Samuel Gompers, Jack London, Mother Jones, Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, and more.

  • Resource Type: Primary Sources
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 7, 9, 10, 11, 12

Martin Luther King Jr.: Life and Legacy

Inspire students with lessons about the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This collection features free lesson plans, class activities, and blogs to help preK-12 students explore his commitment to the labor movement and the fight for economic justice and dignity, as well as his lasting contributions to the civil rights movement.

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

César Chávez Collection

March 31 is César Chávez Day. Use these K-12 lesson plans and resources to celebrate the life and legacy of this civil rights and labor activist. Topics span his early days as a migrant farmworker, his co-founding of the United Farm Workers union, his use of nonviolent protests to fight for the rights of laborers and includes other change-makers like Dolores Huerta, Lucas Benitez and Librada Paz. You’ll also find related lessons on social justice, on Martin Luther King, Jr., and Hispanic heritage month celebrations.

  • Resource Type: Audio, Essays, Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit), Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Citizens United v. FEC (2010)

Does a law that limits the ability of corporations and labor unions to spend their own money to advocate the election or defeat of a candidate violate the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech? The Supreme Court has held that donations and campaign spending are forms of speech.

  • Resource Type: Primary Sources, Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

The Thirteen Colonies (CKHG Unit)

This unit explores the development of three regions of English colonies using primary source documents and imaginative narratives. Across 35 lessons, students explore Jamestown, labor by indentured servants, and the reliance on enslaved workers in the southern colonies, look at the motives influencing the Pilgrims and Puritans in New England and the financial and religious reasons for settling the Middle Colonies.

  • Resource Type: Assessments, Books, Descriptive Text, Lesson Plans, Media, Modules (Teaching Unit), Primary Sources, Timelines
  • Subject: History
  • Grades: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

The Southern “Black Codes” of 1865-1866

Describes the development of Black Codes following Civil War and details sections of the South Carolina code on Civil Rights, labor contracts, vagrancy, apprenticeship, courts and punishment, and other restrictions. In small groups, students evaluate one of six sections of the South Carolina code through the lens of the 14th Amendment.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Growing Up American Style: Grades 3-5

This lesson is designed to be used in conjunction with the National Constitution Center’s Growing Up, American Style show, which is available as part of themed museum packages for groups and the Traveling History & Civics Program for schools.

Together, they help students see how life has changed for children living in the United States, specifically with respect to child labor.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 3, 4, 5

Growing Up American Style: Grades 6-8

This lesson is designed to be used in conjunction with the National Constitution Center’s Growing Up, American Style show, which is available as part of themed museum packages for groups and the Traveling History & Civics Program for schools.

Together, they help students see how life has changed for children living in the United States, specifically with respect to child labor.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8

Growing Up American Style: Grades 9-12

This lesson is designed to be used in conjunction with the National Constitution Center’s Growing Up, American Style show, which is available as part of themed museum packages for groups and the Traveling History & Civics Program for schools.

Together, they help students see how life has changed for children living in the United States, specifically with respect to child labor.

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