This lesson will begin with an examination of pictures that spurred change in America. Students will begin thinking how texts or pictures can drive society to change over time. They will then brainstorm some areas in America they feel should change. The lesson will then center around womens’ and Native Americans’ rights in pre-Civil War America. Students will read, annotate, discuss and defend positions concerning those issues. Depending on how in depth you want to go, the lesson could last from a day to an entire week.
Rationale for the lesson
At its heart, the lesson will expose students to primary sources that involve the struggle for womens’ and Native Americans’ rights that accompanied the fight to end slavery. Studying the slavery issue is a worthwhile and important exercise, but women and Native Americans are typically overlooked in pre-Civil War examinations. The lesson is designed around a few skills that will help students maximize their understanding of this material as well as transfer it to a real world application. First, the lesson will require students to closely read and annotate a primary source document. They will then discuss and debate their annotations. Third, students will answer questions before switching groups to gain new perspectives and engage in deeper discussion. The lesson will conclude with an exit ticket that leaves open ended the definition of a correct answer but requires significant defense of their submission.
Prerequisite knowledge and skills
Like many lessons I post, you can use this material with students who have a variety of background knowledge. If you are teaching a language arts class or a social studies class with no background knowledge, focus on the evidence gathering, inferences and debate. The lesson can serve as a springboard to a unit on annotation/close reading or the Civil War. If students do have some background knowledge, you will be able to challenge them to go deeper in their evaluation of womens’ rights and Native Americans’ rights within the context of the fight to end slavery. In short, use the lesson for what you need for your students...you can spend anywhere from 1-2 days to an entire week or more on the lesson.