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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 suffrage-fighting Silent Sentinels, Dorothea Lange and the Japanese American WWII 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!
By the end of this unit, your students will be able to
- 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 protests were
- 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
Check out the Preview for a detailed look at this compelling unit or download the FREE Unit-At-A-Glance
Greatness is 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 6-8 weeks!
Included in this complete unit:
>>> Teacher Materials <<<
- 2-Page Unit-At-A-Glance to provide your administrator or parents
- Unit Overview & 7 pages of Daily Lesson Plans from the unit hook to the project assessment
- Teacher copies & Rubrics, both CCSS-aligned and generic
- 72-slide editable PowerPoint slideshow with images, links, and student directions
>>> Student Materials & Activities <<<
Focused Skill Mini-Lessons and Handouts
- Annotating a Text
- Annotating a Citation
- Finding Appropriate Sources
- Analyzing News Media Sources
Note Taking & Schema Building Activities
- Continuum Line Notes graphic organizer sheet for deeper unit-long understanding
- Concept Definition sheet to develop a nuanced understanding of "protest"
- Unit Hook meet a young girl who decided to take on the toy industry
- Quote Speed Dating start the conversation of protest, free speech, and patriotism
6 Historical Spotlights
- Modern Day examine and assess a collection of recent protest movements
- Foundations Era analyze the Founding Fathers’ and the Supreme Court’s positions on free speech
- Progressive Era see the Silent Sentinels in action
- WWII explore the response of the Japanese Americans to their internment
- Civil Rights Movement assess the effectiveness of the sit-in movement
- 1970s learn about the often overlooked Alcatraz Occupation
- 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!
Note to Homeschoolers
Though the included teacher lesson plans and PPT slides are written to fully support a traditional classroom teacher, this resource is also a great fit for your teenage homeschooler:
- the inquiry, thematic structure of this unit is driven more by critical thinking, reading, and writing skills and a central high-interest question than any one set of state-specific, grade-specific content standards
- a wide age and ability range can easily access the rich variety of sources utilized in this unit, making it perfect for a multi-grade group
- your student’s voice is central to each activity, through talking out their learning, maximizing the one-on-one
- activities can be completed independently and aren’t solely reliant on group or whole-class work
- all utilized sources are free and easily obtainable; either included or accessible online (links provided)
- this unit is independent of a textbook, though one could be used for greater background knowledge
- any activity can easily be left out to customize for your student’s skill level or personal interest
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: project to pair with any activism topic
Want more U.S. History PBL Units?
Six Degrees of Separation: kick off a study of our country’s political and physical features with a “Flat Stanley” style project
1600-1800s American Values: explore the founders of America, from the Puritans to the Nez Perce, and their core values in order to develop one’s own goal and motivational plan of action for the school year
1900s American Immigration: explore the American story of diversity and hard work through the words and statistics of immigrants, Ellis Island to Angel Island, to create and preserve an oral history of their own
1900s American Heroes: explore what it means to be a hero from Madam CJ Walker to John Glenn in order to nominate one’s own hero for recognition
What to go entirely PBL?
U.S. History PBL Course Mega Bundle: get all posted PBL resources in one download and save big!