This lesson plan covers the main ideas and contributions of the philosophers of the Enlightenment. The following historical figures are covered:
1. William Blackstone
2. Thomas Hobbes
3. John Locke
5. Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Included is a short powerpoint that sets up what the Enlightenment was and what the goals of the philosophers were. Then the main contribution of William Blackstone is covered. At that point, I break students up into teams and they read a 3 page article about the remaining philosophers. As they read, students fill out a 2 page chart with questions over each philosopher. I also place a large piece of butcher paper for each philosopher in the middle of the class during this process. As the teams read about each figure, they are to visually illustrate one of his key ideas or contributions on the poster.
Afterwards, the remainder of the powerpoint reviews the main points of the article with the students. The last slide directs the students to write a 1 paragraph process log about which philosopher they believe had the biggest impact on modern society.
For Texas Teachers, this lesson addresses the following TEKs:
WH1 History. The student understands traditional historical points of reference in world history. The student is expected to:
(E) identify major causes and describe the major effects of the following important turning points in world history from 1750 to 1914: the Enlightenment's impact on political revolutions
WH20 Government. The student understands how contemporary political systems have developed from earlier systems of government. The student is expected to:
(C) explain the political philosophies of individuals such as John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Charles de Montesquieu, Jean Jacques Rousseau, and William Blackstone
13 slide powerpoint, 3 page article, 2 page chart