Classroom Resources

Lessons below are from

Grades 9–12: The Emancipation Proclamation: Freedom's First Steps

Through examination of the original document, related writings of Lincoln as well as little known first person accounts of African Americans during the war, students can return to this "first step" and explore the obstacles and alternatives we faced in making the journey toward “a more perfect Union.”

Grades 9–12: Abraham Lincoln and Wartime Politics

This lesson will look at these issues and examine Abraham Lincoln's role as a wartime president. Through an examination of primary documents, students will focus on Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus, the Emancipation Proclamation, his decision to arm the freed slaves, his refusal to accept a compromise peace with the South, and the election of 1864.

Grades K-12: Dr. King’s Dream

In this lesson, students will learn about the life and work of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. Students will listen to a brief biography, view photographs of the March on Washington, hear a portion of King's "I Have a Dream" speech, and discuss what King's words mean to them. Finally, they will create picture books about their own dreams of freedom for Americans today.

Grades 6-8: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Power of Non-Violence

This lesson introduces students to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s philosophy of nonviolence and the teachings of Mohandas K. Gandhi that influenced King's views. After considering the political impact of this philosophy, students explore its relevance to personal life.

Grades 9-12: Ordinary People, Ordinary Places: The Civil Rights Movement

This lesson will focus on the individual men and women who embraced King’s message and advanced the Civil Rights Movement on a local level. By researching these people and the now historic places where they brought about change, students will discover how the simple act of sitting at a lunch counter in North Carolina could be considered revolutionary, and how, combined with countless other acts of nonviolent protest across the nation, it could lead to major legislation in the area of civil rights for African Americans.

Other classroom resources on the web:

Changing America Exhibition Resources for Teachers

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History provides of variety of teacher resources related to the exhibition, Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 and the March on Washington, 1963.

Grades 6–8: The Civil War through a Child’s Eye

Students will learn to differentiate between primary and secondary source materials as they explore perspectives of the Civil War; understand multiple perspectives of the Civil War through the use of historical fiction; analyze and interpret images from the Library of Congress American Memory collections; make inferences about how children were affected by the Civil War; and create a literary portrait that conveys a child’s perspective of the Civil War era.

Grades 3-8: Crafting Freedom website

The Crafting Freedom website provides educators with a resource on the African-American experience during the era of slavery, including lesson plans, videos, PDF slide shows, and teacher tools.

The Civil War Trust Lesson Plans

The Civil War Trust provides a variety of lesson plans related to the Emancipation Proclamation.

Grades 6-8: The Emancipation Proclamation Through Different Eyes

In this lesson students will be asked to analyze the Emancipation Proclamation and then view it through the lens of different segments of the population at the time it was passed. At the conclusion of the lesson, students will be asked to determine if the document deserves to be called one of the greatest in US history.

PBS Lesson Plans related to the March on Washington

PBS website offers a variety of lessons plans to assist in teaching about the history of the civil rights movement and the ongoing effects of racial discrimination in America.

NEA -- Teaching about the 1963 March on Washington

The National Education Association offers a variety of lessons, background resources, audios, and videos to assist in teaching about the March on Washington.