Teaching Activities (Free)

Resource Type:

Reading Level:

    • The 1934 West Coast Longshore Strike

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 20 pages.
      Students “become” several of the social groups who participated in the 1934 Longshore Workers Strike—some of whom had to answer the question, “Which side are you on?”

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Prosperity, Depression, & World War II: 1920 - 1944, 20th Century | Themes: Labor, Organizing, Social Class | Reading Levels: High School
    • Andrew Jackson and the "Children of the Forest" (Lesson) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Andrew Jackson and the "Children of the Forest"

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 5 pages.
      A lesson in which students develop critical literacy skills by responding to Andrew Jackson’s speech on “Indian Removal.”

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, 19th Century | Themes: Native American, Racism & Racial Identity | Reading Levels: High School
    • ANPO: Art X War: A Film Tackles the U.S. Occupation of Japan

    • Teaching Activity. By Moé Yonamine. From Rethinking Schools. 11 pages.
      Film review of ANPO: Art X War, a documentary about visual resistance to U.S. military bases in Japan by Japan’s foremost contemporary artists, and several accompanying teaching activities.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Themes: Art & Music, US Foreign Policy, World History/Global Studies | Reading Levels: High School
    • Birth of a Rank-and-File Organizer

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 7 pages.
      Writing activity for students to complete the narrative of women workers striking at a glove-making factory, exploring possible outcomes.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Themes: Labor, Organizing, Social Class, Women's History | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • Bound for the Rio Grande: Traitors—Or Martyrs (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Bound for the Rio Grande: Traitors—Or Martyrs

    • Background Reading (PDF) and Song. Reading by Milton Meltzer and song by David Rovics. 1974. 4 pages and 5 min.
      The story of the San Patricio Battalion, Irish-American soldiers who deserted the U.S. Army during the U.S.-Mexican War and fought on the side of the Mexicans.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, 19th Century | Themes: Art & Music, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8
    • Burned Out of Homes and History: Unearthing the Silenced Voices of the Tulsa Race Riot

    • Teaching Activity. By Linda Christensen. 20 pages.
      Teaching about patterns of displacement and wealth inequality through the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Prosperity, Depression, & World War II: 1920 - 1944, 20th Century | Themes: African American, Economics, Racism & Racial Identity | Reading Levels: High School
    • The Cherokee/Seminole Removal Role Play (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • The Cherokee/Seminole Removal Role Play

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 10 pages.
      Role play on the Cherokee-Seminole removal or Trail of Tears.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, 19th Century | Themes: Democracy & Citizenship, Native American, Racism & Racial Identity | Reading Levels: High School
    • Coal, Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Mountaintop Removal (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Coal, Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Mountaintop Removal

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 15 pages.
      A lesson examining the motives, goals, and environmental consequences of the coal mining industry.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: 2001 - Present, 21st Century | Themes: Environment & Food | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • The Color Line (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • The Color Line

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 6 pages.
      A lesson on the countless colonial laws enacted to create division and inequality based on race. This helps students understand the origins of racism in the United States and who benefits.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764, 18th Century | Themes: African American, Laws & Citizen Rights, Native American, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery | Reading Levels: High School
    • Daughter of Earth: Reading, Writing, and Social Class

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 7 pages.
      Students read a poignant excerpt from Agnes Smedley’s novel, Daughter of Earth, and use it to think and write about how schooling—their own included—teaches lessons about social class.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Turn of the Century: 1900 - 1909, 20th Century | Themes: Education, Social Class, Women's History | Reading Levels: High School
    • Discovering Columbus: Re-reading the Past (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Discovering Columbus: Re-reading the Past

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 6 pages.
      How to engage students in a critical analysis of the textbook version of “discovery.”

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764 | Themes: Education, Imperialism, Native American | Reading Levels: High School
    • ‘Don’t Take Our Voices Away’: A Role Play on the Indigenous Peoples’ Global Summit on Climate Change (Lesson) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • ‘Don’t Take Our Voices Away’: A Role Play on the Indigenous Peoples’ Global Summit on Climate Change

    • Teaching Activity. By Julie Treick O’Neill and Tim Swinehart. 16 pages.
      A role play on the Indigenous Peoples’ Global Summit on Climate Change asks students to develop a list of demands to present to the rest of the world at a climate change meeting.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: 2001 - Present, 21st Century | Themes: Environment & Food, Native American, Pacific Islander, Science, World History/Global Studies | Reading Levels: High School
    • The Draft Riot Mystery

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 9 pages.
      Students are invited to solve a mystery, using historical clues, about the real story of the Draft Riots.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864, 19th Century | Themes: Democracy & Citizenship, Immigration, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery, Social Class, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements | Reading Levels: High School
    • The Election of 1860 Role Play (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • The Election of 1860 Role Play

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 12 pages.
      Role play based on the election of 1860 allows students to explore the political debates of the time and the real reasons for the Civil War.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864, 19th Century | Themes: African American, Slavery, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements | Reading Levels: High School
    • Exploring Women’s Rights: The 1908 Textile Strike in a 1st-grade Class (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Exploring Women's Rights: The 1908 Textile Strike in a 1st-grade Class

    • Teaching Activity. By Dale Weiss. 3 pages.
      A teacher’s reflections about a curriculum unit on women’s rights contextualizes the history of the feminist movement within the broader struggle of people working for greater equality in the United States.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Turn of the Century: 1900 - 1909, 20th Century | Themes: Labor, Organizing, Women's History | Reading Levels: Grades Pre-K-2
    • Five Years After the Levees Broke: Bearing Witness Through Poetry (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Five Years After the Levees Broke: Bearing Witness Through Poetry

    • Teaching Activity. By Renée Watson. 7 pages.
      A teacher’s reflection on the power of poetry to spark critical discussion and reflection on current issues of inequality surrounding disaster response in the United States.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: 2001 - Present, 21st Century | Themes: African American, Art & Music, Environment & Food, Language Arts, Laws & Citizen Rights, Media, Racism & Racial Identity |
    • Frederick Douglass Fights for Freedom
    • Frederick Douglass Fights for Freedom

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 7 pages.
      A lesson to introduce students to the numerous and varied ways African Americans resisted their enslavement, using the autobiographical Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, 19th Century | Themes: African American, Slavery | Reading Levels: High School
    • Free to Think, Talk, Listen, or Sing

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 6 pages.
      Students work with a chapter from Milton Meltzer’s classic book, Bread and Roses, to see the impact of late 19th century factory work on workers’ home lives.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Themes: Labor, Social Class | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • Freedom’s Unfinished Revolution: Teaching a People’s History of Reconstruction (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Freedom's Unfinished Revolution: Teaching a People’s History of Reconstruction

    • Background Reading for Teachers. By Bill Bigelow. 4 pages.
      A review of Freedom’s Unfinished Revolution, a collection of primary documents for high school on the Civil War and Reconstruction.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Reconstruction Period: 1865 - 1876, 19th Century | Themes: African American, Laws & Citizen Rights, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery | Reading Levels: High School
    • Greed as a Weapon: Teaching the Other Iraq War (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Greed as a Weapon: Teaching the Other Iraq War

    • Teaching Activity. By Adam Sanchez. 14 pages.
      A role play investigating the economic consequences of the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: 2001 - Present, 21st Century | Themes: Economics, Imperialism, US Foreign Policy, World History/Global Studies | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • Haiku and Hiroshima: Teaching About the Atomic Bomb
    • Haiku and Hiroshima: Teaching About the Atomic Bomb

    • Teaching Activity. By Wayne Au. 3 pages.
      Lesson for high school students on the bombing of Hiroshima using the film Barefoot Gen and haiku.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Prosperity, Depression, & World War II: 1920 - 1944, Cold War: 1945 - 1960, 20th Century | Themes: Language Arts, US Foreign Policy, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • The History All Around Us: Roosevelt High School and the 1968 Eastside Blowouts

    • Teaching Activity. By Brian C. Gibbs. 6 pages.
      A teacher uses the activist history of Theodore Roosevelt High School in East Los Angeles to pose students the question: “What would you be willing to do to create change?”

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: Latino, Racism & Racial Identity | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • History Textbooks: “Theirs” and “Ours”: A Rebellion or a War of Independence? (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • History Textbooks: “Theirs” and “Ours”: A Rebellion or a War of Independence?

    • Teaching Activity. By John DeRose. 4 pages.
      Analysis of textbook passages from different countries, videos and books are used to explore different perspectives about the same event in history, i.e. “Philippine-American War” vs. “War of Philippine Independence.”

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Turn of the Century: 1900 - 1909, 20th Century | Themes: Imperialism, US Foreign Policy, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements, World History/Global Studies | Reading Levels: High School
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