Lesson One: Introduction and Pre-Assessment

Students review key information about Reconstruction by completing a True/False activity. They connect
generalizations about conflict to the unfinished business of the Reconstruction period. Students complete a preassessment
to gauge their present knowledge about the Post-Reconstruction time period.

Lesson Two: Was Reconstruction Successful?

Students participate in a Structured Academic Controversy to consider whether reconstruction was a success or a
failure. They also examine the impact of Reconstruction on African Americans in the South.

Lesson Three: The Emergence of Jim Crow

Students listen to first-hand narratives of African Americans who experienced Jim Crow laws. They list elements
of effective democratic citizenship and analyze ways in which Jim Crow laws and Black Codes represent restrictions
on democratic citizenship. Extension activities (Jump Jim Crow lyrics and Jim Crow Political Cartoons) are

Lesson Four: Can Separate be Equal?

Students engage in a case study of the U.S. Supreme Court case Plessy v. Ferguson and the court’s assertion that Jim
Crow segregation laws are constitutional by arguing that “separate but equal” is constitutional.

Lesson Five: Du Bois v. Washington

Students participate in socratic seminar discussions of excerpted versions of either Du Bois’s essay “The Talented
Tenth” or Washington’s “Atlanta Compromise Speech” in order to better understand each man’s beliefs about the best
strategy for African Americans to achieve equality at the turn of the century. Students analyze the issues, ideas, and
values in each text.

Lesson Six: Transformation of the West

This lesson engages students in the analysis of historical sources to attempt to answer the questions, “Why did so
many Americans and new immigrants move west at the end of the 19th century?” and “What was the impact of
this migration?” In small groups, students conduct a historical inquiry to answer this question using maps, census
and land records, railroad ads, and newspaper clippings. In addition, students begin to identify the issues that arose
as new groups competed for resources impacting, in particular, the different American Indian groups who lived in
various parts of the West. Students analyze U.S. Census population data to identify areas of greatest growth in the

Lesson Seven: Manifest Destiny or Hostile Takeover?

In this two-day lesson students take a historiographical look at several conflicts that occurred in the West between
American Indian tribes and the Federal Government. Student groups examine the differing historical accounts of the
same conflicts and share their findings with the class. Students also look at the impact of the Dawes Act and other
policies that impacted American Indians.

Lesson Eight: The New Immigrants

Using the homework assignment from the previous lesson, students discuss reasons why immigrants left their homes
and the problems they faced upon arriving in America. Students view a series of paintings by Jacob Lawrence
depicting the Great Migration of African Americans to gain an understanding of the issues surrounding the decision
of thousands of African Americans to move to big cities. Through a simulated view of a tenement house apartment,
students sense the issues associated with overcrowded living conditions. Students develop questions suitable for an
interview with a migrant or immigrant who lived during this period in history.

Lesson Nine: Industrialization and Urbanization

In this lesson, students create concept maps related to aspects of industrialization. They examine how
industrialization impacted larger immigration and migration patterns, analyze how this new urbanization caused
problems for the poor, and compare two different methods of solving those problems: settlement houses and political

Lesson Ten: The Gilded Age

Students analyze period ads and political cartoons to understand the impact of new technologies on the development
of cities and the growth of consumer goods during the late 19th century. They use textbooks, library references,
websites and other resources to learn about industrial leaders, and classify them as captains of industry or robber

Lesson Eleven: Labor Unions and Working Conditions

In this lesson students analyze personal narratives of men, women, and children who worked in factories during the
Gilded Age. Students identify the role of unions in advocating for workers’ rights and learn about one of the most
famous union clashes with company owners: The Homestead Strike.

Lesson Twelve: The Big Picture

In this lesson students connect with the essential understandings of the unit including (1) Jim Crow South, (2)
Westward Migration and Conflict, (3) Migration, Immigration, and Urbanization, and (4) Industrialization.
They engage in small and large group discussions of the ways of life for specific groups at the turn of the century
(1900) including African Americans, European and Asian immigrants, American Indians, industrial and political
leaders. At the conclusion of the lesson students complete a unit post-assessment.

Optional Timeliner Project

  • Timeliner template for student use

Helpful Resources

This page provides links to online resources that may be helpful in the teaching of this unit. Please note that resources mentioned in specific lesson plans are provided on the page with that specific lesson. (For example, links to all maps needed for lesson six are listed on the lesson six page.)

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