Challenge your students to think beyond themselves in this Point-of-View focused thematic unit examining major 1900s American protest movements. Explore the photos and words of the Founding Fathers and Supreme Court, Alice Paul and the Silent Sentinels, Dorothea Lange and the Japanese American WW 2 Internment, Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Sit-in Movement, and Richard Oakes and his Alcatraz Occupation. Culminate their learning with a DBQ essay and a PBL protest project of their own!
Interested in taking your textbook-guided and chronologically ordered U.S. History classroom into a question-driven, source-based, authentic project-ending format? Use the simple question, “How American is protest?” and this collection of activities and sources to try it out!
Learning “sticks” when it is highly connected within a larger story and there is immediate, personal connection. This unit does just that!
Social studies thinking skills strengthened:
- Annotate and analyze the primary source photographs and written words of famous protesters
- Compare and assess differing points of view on just how patriotic these famous protest were
- Continually consider learning and own position along a continuum of nuance
- Research current news media sources regarding a favorite company’s current business practices in order to write a formal business letter
- Develop a clear and supported claim in a highly scaffolded culminating essay
exercising one’s own rights while not violating the rights of others.
America was birthed out the ultimate protest- an outright rebellion- and we couldn’t be prouder. Many of our greatest national heroes were unceasing protesters. Yet, today, we seem to grumble at those in the streets for their disruption. Why is that so?
Introduce your students to various American groups- women, ethnic minorities, young adults- who used their core values, their unwavering passion, and their clever strategies to make this nation more perfect through their first amendment rights and challenge your students to answer for themselves, “How American is protest?”
Leave the boring chronological textbook behind and head straight to the compelling sources that make this question central to our pride and identity as Americans, and engage your students to create their own expression of activism to create change in their world!
The beauty of a thematic unit is your freedom to mix-and-match, add-and-subtract: each activity is self-contained, allowing for complete customization to meet local standards, time restraints, and interests. This unit can be done well in anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks.
Included in this complete unit:
- Unit coversheet and detailed daily lesson plans from the unit hook to the final assessment
- Graphic organizer and concept definition sheet for students’ unit-long note taking
- Current Day Hook: examine and assess a collection of recent protest movements
Sub-Topics (2-4 class periods each, depending on customization)
- Thematic Connection: Quote Speed Dating activity to start thinking about protest, free speech, and patriotism
- Foundations Connection: First Amendment Rights analysis to understand the Founding Fathers’ and the Supreme Court’s positions on free speech
- Progressive Era: Silent Sentinels photo gallery and protest sign analysis
- Word War II: Japanese American internment photo gallery, propaganda and speech analysis
- Civil Rights Movement: Lunch counter sit-in photo gallery analysis and national debate analysis
- 1960s: Alcatraz Occupiers photo gallery and public demands analysis
Culminating, summative assessments
- Document-Based Essay,
supported by outline template, sentence stems, and rubrics (CCSS-aligned and generic), answering the not-so-simple question, “How American is protest?”
- Boycott / “Buycott” Letter Project,
supported by step-by-step planning and guide sheets, sample, and rubrics, (CCSS-aligned and generic), researching a frequented business and expressing support or opposition through a formal business letter they actually send!
- 4 Skill Sheets: Annotating a Text, Annotating a Citation, Finding Appropriate Sources, Analyzing News Media Sources
- 70-slide EDITABLE Power Point of images, links to online resources, and student directions to support your daily lessons
- Teacher copies with additional notes
Just want part of this unit?
Mini PBL Unit: Women Suffrage & Silent Sentinels:
great way to round out your Progressive Era unit
Free Speech Protest Sign Project:
strengthen any protest unit from Abolition to Vietnam War
Boycott / “Buycott” Business Letter Project:
another project option to pair with any activism topic