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Alabama History Education Initiative Lesson Plans

About the AHEI


 

Lesson Plans: Suggested Grade Level:

"Scottsboro Boys": A Trial Which Defined an Age

This lesson could be part of a unit study on the Great Depression. The students will view an introductory PowerPoint on the events leading up to the arrest and trials of the nine black teenagers accused of raping two white women on a train traveling through north Alabama. The students will conduct independent research on the trials and then meet in groups to compile the information gathered. Each group will produce a newspaper focusing on the underlying elements of the trials.

 

Secondary

"Strange Fruit"-Lynching in America

The students will listen to Billie Holiday singing Strange Fruit as an introduction to an examination of lynching in America. They will read an 1899 article from the The Southern Argus. They will draw conclusions from statistics of lynching in Alabama and lynching in the United States. The students will blog their reaction to the subject of lynching.

 

Secondary

A Cry for Help in Alabama - 1934

This lesson serves as an introduction to a study of the New Deal. Its based on letters written by Alabama citizens in 1934 asking for help from the state government. By analyzing these letters and the brief replies sent from the governors office, students will gain a sense of the human toll the Great Depression took in this state, the inadequacy of state government to respond, and the need for help at the federal level. Students will then study major New Deal programs and speculate on how (and in what ways) those programs could have helped the original letter writers. They will also address the question of what the appropriate role of the federal government should be during an economic crisis (a relevant topic today).

 

Secondary

A Lifetime of Responsibilities: Child Labor in Alabama

At the turn of the century, many children had to go to work to help pay the bills and feed the family. Were these children working legally? Were they fairly paid? Were they losing their childhoods? For this lesson, students will read part of a report written by the National Child Labor Committee in 1918 about the problems of monitoring and regulating child labor in the Alabama. In this excerpt, findings concerning children who were working in Birmingham, Mobile, and Montgomery were presented. The students will be asked to respond to their reading by writing an appropriate editorial to a newspaper about the problems of child labor at the turn of the century.

 

Middle/Secondary

A Study of the Physical Regions of Alabama

In this lesson, students will learn the characteristics of the five geographic regions of Alabama by researching the regions using maps, the Internet, and books. The students will also make a salt dough map depicting Alabama's land regions.

 

Elementary

A Worse Death: War or Flu?

This lesson integrates World War I history with mathematics. Students will be asked to read a primary source document that introduces them to Alabamas influenza outbreak during the late stages of the war. After reading and discussing a letter from a volunteer nurse working in an influenza ward, students will be asked to create bar graphs that compare military death statistics and influenza death tolls across the world.

 

Elementary

African American Life after the Civil War - Sharecropping

Students will work in collaborative groups to analyze primary sources related to sharecropping as they learn about economic and social issues facing African Americans following the Civil War.

 

Elementary

Alabama and the Treaty of Versailles

In this lesson students will use a list of Wilsons Fourteen Points, a summary of the Treaty of Versailles, a letter from an Alabamian to a United States Senator about his view on the Treaty of Versailles, and political cartoons about the Treaty to help them form their own opinions about the treaty that ended WWI. Students will then create their own political cartoons about the Treaty of Versailles.

 

Elementary

Alabama Becomes a State

This lesson will include the use of primary sources, a PowerPoint, and collaborative group instruction to achieve the primary objective of describing Alabamas entry into statehood.

 

Elementary

Alabama BEFORE the American Revolution

This lesson: 1) introduces students to the basic geography of the West Florida territory, 2) provides an interactive study of some of the laws passed by the colonial legislature in the 1770s, 3) asks students to compare British West Florida to one of the 13 original colonies in terms of economic, political, and social realities, and 4) requires them to speculate on whether British West Florida joined the revolutionary cause in 1776. The lesson exposes students to the relevant history unfolding in this part of America and asks them to integrate it into the larger narrative about the beginnings of our nation.

 

Secondary

Alabama Farm Life in the Great Depression

This lesson will include the use of a primary document and period photographs for a cross-curriculum lesson analyzing setting to identify some adverse effects of the Great Depression for farmers. The student will create a postcard which depicts an understanding of the impact of the Great Depression on farmers.

 

Elementary

Alabama Slave Codes in 1833: What They Can Teach Us About Slaves Themselves

This lesson asks students to probe Alabamas 1833 slave codes from a cultural perspective, not a legal one. Two essential questions drive the analysis: What behaviors on the part of slaves or freed slaves (and whites) were considered important enough to regulate through these laws? Why were white lawmakers and plantation owners so fearful of those behaviors? One of the points of the lesson is to show students that slave codes contained an inherent contradiction: while claiming that slaves were property (chattel), many of the behaviors they forbade were distinctly human.

 

Secondary

Alabama Tenant Farmers and Sharecroppers, 1865 to Present

This lesson explores the reasons for the development of the tenant farming and sharecropping system in the post-Civil War era. Using primary sources (pictures and labor contracts), the lesson presents some of the situations that caused the system to develop. It covers the lifestyle of the farmers and investigates the reasons for the decrease in the system of tenant farming and sharecropping after the Great Depression and World War II.

 

Secondary

Alabama's 1901 Constitution

This is a single-subject lesson which has both lecture and student collaboration. It may be presented as a part of Alabama history or in conjunction with lessons on the United States Constitution.

 

Secondary

Alabama's 1901 Constitution: What Was at Stake?

This lesson focuses primarily on the debate preceding the adoption of the1901 Alabama Constitution. By examining primary sources that address the question of who would be allowed to vote under the proposed constitution, students will learn that there were multiple interests at play. While one of the major goals of the document was to completely deny blacks their right to vote (as guaranteed in the 15PthP Amendment to the U.S. Constitution), some whites opposed that particular goal. Therefore, the controversy over who would get to vote was not simply a racial question. Economic and social class considerations affected peoples thinking, as is evidenced in the lessons documents. Students will analyze portions of two primary documents, written before the Constitution was adopted, to determine: 1) What the authors said about who should be able to vote. 2) The reasons they gave to support their positions. 3) What those arguments reveal about assumptions the authors were making in regard to race, social class, and economics. The lesson concludes with students closely examining those portions of the Constitution which restricted access to the vote. They will ultimately engage in a structured class discussion about the significance of those restrictions and the importance of the right to vote.

 

Secondary

Alabama's Economic Contribution to the Confederacy

This lesson deals with the economic contributions Alabama made to support the Confederacy. It focuses on the resources that which were required to put together and support a fighting force which included manpower, leadership, arms, and ammunition.

 

Elementary

Alabama's New South Era

This lesson uses PowerPoint, multimedia resources, and primary sources (photographs and readings) to investigate the development of industry (mining, iron and steel, and textile manufacturing) in Alabama in the late 1800s. It is a companion lesson to the September lesson, Alabama Tenant Farmers and Sharecroppers.

 

Secondary

Alabama's Secession in 1861: Embraced with Joy and Great Confidence. Why?

This lesson could be used as an introduction to a unit on the Civil War. It starts by asking students to analyze a northern cartoon about secession, but the bulk of the material focuses on six articles from the Montgomery Advertiser. They first one was published January 9, 1861, just two days before Alabama seceded from the Union, and the last one on April 17, just days after the firing on Fort Sumter. These months form a critical time period in our states history during which we left the Union, helped create the Confederate States of America, and participated in writing a constitution for the new nation. Students are given essential questions to apply to the whole lesson (why did so many white Alabamians want to secede and why did they believe the South could win the war?). They are then divided into groups to read and analyze the documents. The lesson ends with a whole-class discussion centered on answering the essential questions. Later, as students proceed with their textbook study of the Civil War, they are required to create newspaper articles, similar to the ones they read from the Montgomery Advertiser, reflecting what was going on in other states at other points during the war but also showing how local residents would have viewed those events. (Students can be required to write several articles or just one.)

 

Secondary

America in Space: German Voices from Huntsville, Alabama

This lesson will follow the path of Dr. Wernher von Braun and other German scientists from Germany to Huntsville, Alabama, and explore their role in the foundation and development of the United States Space Program. It will include a hands-on activity and technology activities.

 

All

An African American Represents Alabama during Reconstruction

This lesson engages students in research on a prominent African American and his role in politics during Reconstruction in Alabama. Photographic primary sources are used in this lesson.

 

Elementary

Beyond Birmingham, Summer 1963

This lesson is the third in a four-part series on the struggle for civil rights in Birmingham, Alabama, and the nation in 1963. This lesson begins with the enrollment of two African American students in the University of Alabama and ends with the August 1963 March on Washington.

 

Secondary

Birmingham, 1963: Spring Jubilation Part 2

This lesson is the second in a four-part series on the struggle for civil rights in Birmingham in 1963. This lesson begins with the release of Martin Luther King, Jr. from jail on May 20th, covers the Childrens March, and ends with the bombings of the Gaston Motel and the Reverend A. D. Kings home.

 

Secondary

Birmingham, 1963: Spring Jubilation Part I

This lesson is the first in a four-part series on the struggle for civil rights in Birmingham in 1963. This lesson begins with the failed attempt in Albany, Georgia, to integrate public facilities and ends with Martin Luther King, Jr.s Letter from Birmingham Jail. Students will view a PowerPoint on events in Birmingham in the spring of 1963 and will analyze Martin Luther King, Jr.s Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

 

Secondary

Birmingham,1963, Fall Despair

This lesson is the fourth in a four-part series on the struggle for civil rights in Birmingham, Alabama, and the nation in 1963. The focus of this lesson is the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. Student will analyze photos from this tragedy and relate the bombing to future events.

 

Secondary

Birmingham: The Magic City

Students will use primary source documents and images to gain an understanding of what led to the founding and growth of Birmingham in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

 

Elementary

Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois

Students will read and illustrate Booker T. Washingtons Atlanta Compromise speech using either Photo Story or PowerPoint. Students will read an excerpt from The Souls of Black Folk and complete an analysis sheet. Students will compare and contrast the viewpoints of Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. DuBois using a Venn Diagram.

 

Secondary

Camp Aliceville: The Story of WWII Prisoners of War Who Came to Alabama

Students learn about the Aliceville POW camp by way of a PowerPoint presentation thats designed to generate as much student interest as possible. Questions are posed and images are displayed so that the story of the camp unfolds incrementally. The core activity comes in the middle of the PowerPoint, after students have discovered why the camp was built and how the community of Aliceville responded to its opening. Students are then presented with an essential question: What was life in the camp like? In order to respond, they have to look closely at seven different photographs that were taken in the camp (each is presented on a different slide and there are notes for the teacher to accompany each one). As students view each image, they have to jot down a few notes about what they see that can help them answer the essential question. Immediately following the seventh photograph, before any discussion begins, students are presented with a set of questions designed to help facilitate meaningful reflection. The final instruction on this slide requires students to write two complete sentences describing life in the prison, as seen in and through the photographs. After every student has read one of their sentences, the teacher circles back over the seven photographs, and students discuss their responses to the essential question by pointing to details in the photos. The rest of the PowerPoint explains what the Geneva Convention was and why the United States decided to abide by it. As a wrap up, students are asked to discuss what their brief glimpse into the camp suggests about human nature, and why they think life at the Aliceville prison turned out the way it did.

 

Secondary

Cells for Sale-Convict Leasing in Alabama

Students will examine Alabamas past practice of convict leasing, discussing the parties in favor of and against the work process. Students will analyze a persuasive pamphlet urging the end of convict leasing.

 

Secondary

Change of View: George C. Wallace

This lesson will use primary sources to compare and contrast the perspectives of George C. Wallace at the beginning and in the latter part of his life as a political figure in Alabama. The students will develop a hypothesis about the effect that Wallaces views and actions had on the image of Alabama and the changes in his character over time.

 

Elementary

Changes in Transportation over Time

The students will compare and contrast the different modes of transportation during the early twentieth century and in present-day America.

 

Elementary

Clotilde, The Last Slave Ship

In this lesson, students will examine the reasons for the continued importation of slaves into the United States even though Congress had made the importation of slaves illegal in 1807. A PowerPoint will be used to relate the story of the Clotilde, the last slave ship that landed in the United States, in 1860.

 

All

Conflict in Alabama in the 1830s: Native Americans, Settlers,and Government

This lesson is designed to be part of a history unit covering the expansion of the U.S. in the early 1800s and focuses specifically on conflicts between settlers and American Indians.

 

Secondary

Convict Leasing in Alabama: A System That Re-Enslaved Blacks After the Civil War

This lesson aims to inform students about the tragic nature of the convict leasing system in Alabama, a topic that many American history textbooks dont mention. It uses a combination of materials: dramatic information about one particular prisoner, a scholarly summary (from the Encyclopedia of Alabama) about how the lease system worked in this state, and three primary documents. In groups, students are asked to pull important facts from the scholarly summary, discuss the significance of those facts, analyze the primary documents, and then draw some conclusions. At the end of the lesson, instead of writing a lengthy essay, students are asked to compose one single, well organized and concentrated paragraph (referencing 2 or 3 historical facts and one primary document) that addresses an essential question about the nature of the lease system.

 

Secondary

Dear Father: A College Student's Perspective on WWI

This lesson will introduce students to an Alabama connection to World War I. The primary document that will be used is a letter to a father from a University of Alabama student, written on March 2, 1917, exactly one month before the United States declared war on Germany. The student discusses typical family topics before ending with his concerns about the possibility of war.

 

All

Dueling Telegrams: 1963 Verbal Power Play Between Wallace and JFK

Doing justice to the civil rights movement is a challenge. The advantage of this lesson is that its relatively short and can be used to highlight certain dimensions of the movement as a whole (the threat and use of violence by people opposed to the movement, the key role of the federal government forces, the critical importance of individual leadership, etc.). The lesson calls for students to read between the lines as they analyze three telegrams exchanged between Governor George Wallace and President John F. Kennedy shortly after Wallace attempted to prevent the admittance of two black students to the University of Alabama by making his famous stand in the schoolhouse door on June 10th, l963. The telegrams constitute a politely worded but clearly heated exchange between the two men over issues of who was in charge in the days after the initial confrontation, when violence on the campus remained a distinct possibility. Using a guiding template and working in pairs, students identify various messages contained in each telegram, ones that are implied as well as stated. This exercise is designed to help students learn about the incident, develop their capacity for drawing inferences, and expand their understanding of what influences someones point of view. At the conclusion of the lesson, everyone writes their own telegram, explaining what they learned about the civil rights movement from studying these telegrams.

 

Secondary

Extra! Extra! Read All About It?

Students will read two newspaper articles from the Birmingham News detailing the outcry after the sinking of the Lusitania. One article, published two days after the attack, is written as a feature article rather than a news report. The students will research the facts about the sinking of the Lusitania and rewrite the article, using standard news article guidelines.

 

Middle

First in Time: Paleo-Indians in Alabama

This lesson is designed to help students learn about the first inhabitants of Alabama. Students will study the lifestyles of the Paleo-Indians, ancestors of all American Indian tribes. Students will observe and discuss the use of and impact upon the land which resulted from the migration of humans into Alabama.

 

Elementary

From Alabama Farmer to Civil War Soldier

The students will examine the Civil War database-military card of Jesse Nivens, 10th Alabama Infantry, Co. F. The students will research information about battles through a WebQuest and answer questions about the 10th Alabama Infantry Regiment. The students will create a computer-generated timeline of the battles in which this regiment was involved. During the WebQuest, students will use Google Earth to map and calculate the approximate miles traveled by the 10th Alabama.

 

Secondary

How Would You Feel? The Bravery of Civil Disobedience

Students will read and analyze a primary document (Integrated Bus Suggestions) and discuss how the Montgomery bus boycott was an example of civil disobedience. Students will then write narrative stories from the point of view of a white or African American bus rider during the first week after integration on the Montgomery busses.

 

Middle

Inside the Wire: Internment of Prisoners in Alabama during World War II - Lesson 1

This lesson is the first of two lessons on POW camps in Alabama. Using primary sources and digital media students will learn about POW internment in Alabama during World War II and its impact on the local communities.

 

Elementary

Inside the Wire: Internment of Prisoners of War in Alabama during World War II - Lesson 2

This lesson will be a part of a larger unit on World War II and is the second lesson on POW camps in Alabama. Using primary sources and digital media, students will learn about POW internment in Alabama during World War II.

 

Elementary

Jacksonian Democracy and Indian Removal

This lesson is an introduction to the presidency of Andrew Jackson, including a short biographical overview of his life. Jackson will be compared to previous presidents and studied in the context of a growing nation in the 1820s. Topics in this lesson include early life and career, the election of 1828, early events of his presidency and the Indian Removal Act of 1830. Activities include an initiating activity with discussion, lecture with video clips, group analysis, and discussion of primary source documents concerning the Indian Removal Act and opposing viewpoints to this legislation. Students will debate the issue of Indian removal and its effects on various groups.

 

Secondary

Jim Crow Lived in Alabama in the Late 1800s

Students will examine two news articles published in Montgomery, Alabama which relate to the Jim Crow system as it applied to public transportation. One was published as an immediate reaction to the Supreme Courts decision in the Plessy v Ferguson case in 1896. The other one mentions that the city of Montgomery had recently passed an ordinance of its own providing for separation of the races on local street cars. This second article asserts that white people in Washington, D.C., would soon pass similar legislation. The unidentified author makes several claims about how racist legislation would work to the benefit of blacks and states that even if blacks object, segregation &is coming because advanced civilization demands it and will have it. Students will analyze these two primary sources, discuss their implications, and then examine the Plessy v Ferguson decision through the words of Justice John Marshall Harlan, the single Supreme Court Justice who dissented from the majority opinion. They will then create a fictional dialogue between Justice Harlan and the unidentified author of one of the Montgomery articles, using the arguments both made to highlight the different thinking of the two men. Finally, students will reflect on this question: If segregation existed in practice in the late 1800s, what difference(s), then or later, did the Plessy v. Ferguson decision make?

 

Secondary

La Mobile: A Case Study of Exploration and Settlement

This lesson will provide insight into the settlement and exploration of the French colonial settlement of La Mobile and why it was moved farther south down the river. It will provide background on Bienville and d'Iberville and the roles they played in establishing settlements along the Gulf Coast. This lesson will also look at the geography of Alabama and analyze maps as primary sources.

 

Secondary

Marketing a Bad Idea: Why So Many People Joined the Klan in the 1920s

Students will analyze Ku Klux Klan documents from the 1920s, including promotional material the Klan published, as well as a photograph of a Klan meeting.

 

Secondary

Military Conscription in World War I Alabamians Express Their Opinions

Students will examine six primary documents (letters) from Alabamians related to passage of the Selective Service Act of 1917. Coming a few months after the United States entered World War I, this act reauthorized the draft for only the second time in our history. As the U.S. Senate debated the bill, Alabama Senator John Bankhead received letters from citizens throughout the state, expressing their opinions on the topic. At the beginning of this lesson, students will write reflective journal entries exploring their initial feelings about the power of government to impose a draft during any war. They will then read the letters written to Sen. Bankhead during the summer of 1917, and, using teacher-supplied questions, sort the letters into different groupings. That activity will require students to practice generalizing, evaluating, and synthesizing information from the letters, all higher level thinking skills. Finally, using the six letters as evidence, students will write a brief essay characterizing the reaction of some Alabama citizens to the Conscription Act. They must offer one generalization and support it with specific references to at least three letters.

 

Secondary

Montgomery Bus Boycott: We Would Rather Walk!

This lesson begins with the conditions that led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The lesson then focuses on the precipitating event of Rosa Parkss refusal to give up her seat. The lesson concludes with cautions given to the African American community once the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the boycotters. Students will analyze primary source documents and photos related to the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

 

Elementary

Nellie Bly to Dr. Peter Bryce: 19th Century Asylum Reform

Nineteenth century reform of asylums is investigated in this lesson. The students will read primary sources about Nellie Bly, Dorothea Dix, and Dr. Peter Bryce, investigate a real world historical problem, and develop possible solutions to the problem. The lesson will utilize both small group activity and individual work.

 

Secondary

New Deal Programs in Alabama

This lesson will examine the implementation of some of the New Deal programs in Alabama. Students will analyze primary sources relating to New Deal programs in Alabama, and create a poster promoting a New Deal program.

 

All

New York Times Co. v Sullivan: the Alabama Case that Changed Libel Law

Students will examine New York Times v Sullivan and determine how this Alabama court case changed the interpretation of the First Amendment. Students will analyze primary sources related to the case and recognize how the case changed libel law. Students will evaluate the importance of the case to the Civil Rights Movement.

 

Secondary

Point of View: How Two Alabamians Remembered Slavery Years Later

This lesson could be taught immediately before or after a study of the Civil War. It is intended to help students learn how to identify possible "points of view" embedded in primary source documents. Students are presented with two letters written in 1913 by a former slave and a former slave owner.

 

Secondary

Prelude to the Creek Indian War

Students will study the culture of American Indians and settlers in Alabama during the early 1800s. Using a primary source document, a journal entry written by Peggy Dow in the 1810s and published in 1833, students will travel with a woman as she and her family journey through Alabama on their way to Louisiana. Students will analyze parts of the document to learn how the settlers and Indians related to one another.

 

Elementary

Prohibition in the Early 1900s: One Issue, Multiple Dimensions

Prohibition fits within the early 20th century Progressive movement, so this lesson could be used either to introduce the era or reinforce what students have already learned about other progressive reforms from the same time period. In this lesson, students collaboratively analyze both visual and written primary documents related to Prohibition through one of five lenses: social, political, legal, economic, and/or religious. They then discuss what the documents reveal about cultural values and assumptions in the early 1900s and compare those to todays values and assumptions. Students are finally given time to do some research and then asked to create a poster that illustrates some of the unintended consequences the 18th Amendment produced.

 

Secondary

Reading Political Cartoons: Prohibition in Alabama

Students will analyze a primary document: a postcard from 1909. It depicts strong prohibition sentiment in Alabama prior to the national ban on alcohol. Students will complete a political cartoon graphic organizer to help them understand the subject, symbols, exaggerations, and opinion of the illustrator.

 

Middle

Reformers and Child Labor in Alabama

This lesson fits with a unit on the Progressive Era in American history. It highlights the efforts of two individuals, photographer Lewis Hine and author Bessie Van Vorst, both social reformers from the North who visited Alabama in the early 1900s to document the exploitation of child labor in textile mills. Students will: 1) read a small portion of Van Vorsts book describing her visit to a mill in Anniston, 2) analyze the excerpt in terms of its point of view and persuasive techniques, 3) view and analyze photographs taken by Hine in Alabama, 4) select one photo that they believe corresponds in a meaningful way to the excerpt they read, 5) explain in writing the underlying connections between their chosen image and the text, and 6) re-title Van Vorsts book.

 

Secondary

Reformers Target Child Labor in Alabama in the Early 1900s

This lesson fits into a unit on the Progressive era in American history. It highlights the efforts of two individuals, photographer Lewis Hine and author Bessie Van Vorst, both social reformers from the North who visited Alabama in the early 1900s to document the exploitation of child labor in textile mills. Students will: 1) read a small portion of Van Vorsts book describing her visit to a mill in Anniston, 2) analyze the excerpt in terms of its point of view and persuasive techniques, 3) view and analyze photographs taken by Hine in Alabama, 4) select one photo that they believe corresponds in a meaningful way to the excerpt they read, 5) explain in writing the underlying connections between their chosen image and the text, and 6) re-title Van Vorsts book.

 

Secondary

Runaway Slaves in Alabama: Individual Freedom Fighters in the 1800s

This lesson is based on runaway slave advertisements that appeared in Alabama newspapers during the early and mid-1800s. This lesson could be used to highlight slavery during the first part of the 19th century or to introduce the Fugitive Slave Act that was part of the 1850 Compromise.

 

Secondary

Settlement of Frontier Alabama

This lesson is a language arts/social studies lesson for the purpose of developing student knowledge of westward expansion with an emphasis on the settlement of frontier Alabama. Students will work independently and collaboratively to construct a vocabulary list associated with the westward movement both before and after a PowerPoint presentation. Students will use the vocabulary learned in the lesson to compose a friendly letter.

 

Elementary

Sharecropping in Alabama during Reconstruction: An Answer to a Problem and a Problem in the Making?

This lesson is designed to introduce the Reconstruction Period and generate greater student interest in learning about how it both succeeded and failed as a response to conditions in the South at the end of hte Civil War. This lesson focuses on the sharecropping/tenant system which developed after the war ended and persisted in Alabama into the 1940s.

 

Secondary

Steamboat Transportation in Alabama

This lesson is part of a unit on technological growth during the mid1800s. Students should have already completed study of the Era of Good Feelings and the invention of the steam engine. The students will study steamboat transportation in Alabama and write a journal entry about steamboats and their cargo.

 

Middle/Secondary

Temperance during the Progressive Movement in Alabama

Students will identify broad goals of the Progressives and the types of people drawn to this movement; students will discuss the problems that drinking can pose in a modern society; students will be introduced to various methods of persuasion and discuss which seem more effective; students will analyze primary sources from 1900 Alabama for both persuasive and historical points; and students will create an advertisement to persuade the public not to drink/support the temperance movement.

 

Secondary

The Alabama Man Who Survived a Massacre in 1836 and Became a Texas Hero

This lesson fits within the larger themes of westward expansion and Manifest Destiny. It would serve as a good introduction to a study of the Texas War for Independence in spite of the fact it doesnt relate to the first event. The drama inherent in Shackelfords account of the Goliad Massacre will spark greater interest in the topic of the war as a whole. Once student interest is piqued, theyll be more motivated to learn about what else happened and, hopefully, connect more readily and personally to the material in their textbook. For purposes of this lesson, Shackelfords document is divided into different parts, with questions between the different parts. At the conclusion of each segment, students are invited to respond  what have they learned, what does it mean, how might the overall event unfold? These questions are designed to encourage critical thinking and develop a sense of suspense.

 

Secondary

The Civil War at Home

Using primary sources, students will investigate the lives of ordinary Alabama citizens during the Civil War and relate home front events to battle events.

 

Secondary

The Effect of the Great Depression on Children

After the students have studied the problems that Americans faced during the Great Depression, the teacher will lead the students in a discussion about how the Great Depression affected children. Students will view various letters from different people requesting aid from the state to help provide for their children.

 

All

The Effect of the Great Depression on Children and Education

Students will view pictures, letters, and a news article to determine why students were not able to attend school during the Great Depression.

 

All

The Great Depression-Hard Times Hit America and Alabama

This lesson will use primary source documents to explore life during the Great Depression. This lesson would follow an introduction to the Great Depression and the stock market crash of 1929. Along with a PowerPoint presentation and video clips, the main activity will focus on an examination of letters written primarily from Alabamians during the Depression to either the president or the Alabama governor. Each letter will give students a personal view of how the Depression affected Americans.

 

Secondary

The Trail of Tears: Implementation of the New Echota Treaty

This lesson examines the role of government in the removal of Cherokee Indians from north Alabama. Students will look at two primary source documents that discuss the treaties between the Cherokee Nation and the government of the United States. A graphic organizer will be used to make comparisons between the two documents. Students will be asked to draw conclusions based on information in the documents.

 

Elementary

The Value of a Slave

Students will use primary sources to investigate the economic aspect of slavery in the United States and the role of slavery as a cause of the Civil War.

 

All

The Wrong Side of History: How One Group Justified Its Opposition to the Freedom Riders and Civil Rights for African Americans

This lesson is not designed to teach basic information about the Freedom Rides. Instead it is a supplemental lesson which seeks to uncover the thinking behind opposition to the Freedom Riders. Students will collaboratively examine a speech by the president of the Citizens Council of Montgomery, and write individual letters to the Council president refuting some of his arguments.

 

Secondary

Two Different African-American Visions: W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington

This lesson fits within the Progressive Era of late 19th and early 20th century and focuses on two of the most prominent black spokesmen and civil rights activists of the time, Booker T. Washington and W.E. B. Du Bois. Starting with a personal letter from the Alabama Archives that Washington wrote in l904, students will analyze other brief writings by both men. Students will compare and contrast the two mens different approaches to the question of how blacks living in the late 19th and early 20th centuries could best achieve racial progress, and also identify the benefits and drawbacks to each mans overall strategy. Class discussion will culminate in an informal debate centered on the following resolution: Booker T. Washingtons approach to improving the lives of African Americans in the late 19th and early 20th century was wiser for its time than that of W.E.B. Du Bois. (The approximate cut-off date for this debate is 1915, the year Washington died.) Working in teams, students must offer factual information as well as logical arguments to support their side of the debate. The lesson ends with an invitation to students to consider which of the two men President Obama might admire most and why.

 

Secondary

Voting Rights for Alabama Women

Students will examine documents that illustrate the intense nature of the struggle surrounding the debate over female suffrage in Alabama. They will examine the history of voting rights in the United States and create two fliers representing differing viewpoints on womens suffrage.

 

Secondary

W.E.B. DuBois, Booker T. Washington, and Jim Crow

Students will use primary sources to compare the responses of W. E. B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington to Jim Crow laws.

 

Middle/Secondary

What Were They Thinking? Why Some Alabamians Opposed the 19th Amendment

Most students today cant understand why so many people once believed women should not be allowed to vote. By analyzing two primary documents from the Alabama Department of Archives and History dating from 1919, when the state-wide drive for female suffrage was at its most intense, students will directly encounter different facets of the debate. One document in particular expresses some of the social, economic, racial, and political fears on the minds of opponents. Students will probably find the objections strange, even offensive, by todays standards, but that will force them to acquaint themselves with the realities of the time period. This lesson is relatively short and not intended as an in-depth exploration of the 19th Amendment. Its designed to be used as one small part of larger unit of the teachers choice. Possibilities include the Progressive Era (1890s to 1920s), gender stereotypes (coming out of the Victorian era), the struggle for suffrage by African-Americans and women, womens history, constitutional law (requirements for passing an amendment and links between the 15th and 19th Amendments), or a unit on civil rights.

 

Secondary

What Would the Ladies Think? An Alabama Secession Story

Students will study a sketch depicting the celebration on the State Capitol grounds after the secession vote was announced. The students will read a letter from Reverend William Mitchell from Florence, who witnessed the legislatures secession announcement. Later that evening he described the events to his wife in a letter written from his hotel room. Mr. Mitchell gives great detail about the events of the day, namely the unveiling of the Republic of Alabama Flag and its dedication by the womens sewing group representative. As a final activity, the students will use information from the primary source to annotate the background information on a handout of the flag.

 

Elementary

Women of the Movement: Civil Rights Movement in Alabama

This is a research-based project in which students will use primary sources to complete an assignment on Alabama women involved in the Civil Rights movement. After a brief introduction to the Civil Rights movement, students will choose a woman involved in the movement about whom to create a project. Included in the project will be three aspects of the womans life: her early years(biographical and education information), her participation in the movement, and her later years(honors, memorials). Each student will choose one aspect of a womans life and design a paper quilt piece to be a part of an overall class quilt of Women of the Civil Rights movement. (Photos of an example of a quilt are attached.)

 

Elementary

Working in Birmingham's Iron Industry

Students will use primary sources to gain a perspective of the living and working conditions in Birmingham in the late 1800s, especially as they relate to working in the iron industry. Students will explore the role of the iron industry with regard to the initial fast growth rate of Birmingham and how this growth was the result of location, transportation, and resources.

 

Elementary

World War I and Alabama's Rainbow Division

In this lesson students will view a PowerPoint which gives background information about the Rainbow Division and the role of the Alabamas 167th Infantry Regiment in that Division. Students will read a letter sent home from an infantryman serving in France with the Rainbow Division and complete a document analysis of the letter. Students will view a photo of a homecoming parade, in Montgomery, Alabama, welcoming home Alabamas 167th Infantry Regiment and will complete a photo analysis.

 

Elementary

World War I and the 1918 Flu Pandemic: A Study of How One Alabama Family Was Affected and What Primary Documents Can Teach Us about Historic Events

World War I and the 1918 Flu Pandemic were two interrelated global catastrophes that also had significant domestic consequences. This lesson introduces students to some of the effects of both, with a primary emphasis on the last year of the war and the flu epidemic. It begins with an Alabama connection. Students start the lesson by reading two letters written by members of the Durr family who lived in Montgomery. (Interesting note: Clifford Durr, the author of one letter and recipient of the other, went on to become a well-known lawyer and civil rights advocate who defended Rosa Parks in state court in 1955.) Because this lesson is also designed to help students understand how different kinds of documents reveal different facets of the same event, students are asked to examine two photographs related to the flu epidemic (neither taken in Alabama) as well as a report by the Surgeon General in 1919 focusing on Camp Sheridan in Montgomery. They will discuss the unique insights these different kinds of primary sources offer and practice drawing inferences from the various examples. As a culminating activity, students are required (in pairs) to locate another primary source related to the 1918 Flu Pandemic, display the document to the whole class, and finally explain (in writing) what that document reveals about the epidemic, the military, World War I, American society (or any other topic they deem relevant) and why its significant.

 

Secondary

World War II - Life on the Home Front in Alabama

This lesson examines life on the home front for Alabamians during World War II. Students will view and analyze primary sources related to rationing, war bond drives, metal collection, USO volunteers, and home defense. After viewing and discussing the images, students will write a descriptive paragraph on ways that Alabamians supported the World War II effort on the home front.

 

Elementary

World War II Home Front Mobilization in Alabama

This lesson examines how Alabama mobilized for World War II by viewing photographs and a newspaper article of the following military installations: Maxwell Air Force Base, Fort McClellan, Camp Rucker, Tuskegee Army Air Field, and Redstone Arsenal. This lesson also examines shipbuilding at the Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding facility.

 

Elementary

Yellow Journalism

This lesson will define yellow journalism, and its effect on the United States becoming involved in a war with Spain over its territories in the Caribbean Sea and the Philippine Islands. By viewing primary source documents of newspaper articles from Alabama, the students will make judgments as to the effectiveness of the newspaper articles.

 

Middle/Secondary

 

 

Funded, in part, by the Malone Family Foundation.