Lesson Plans & Teaching Units

Lesson Plans

Explore MDAH’s Lesson Plan materials for teachers of grades K–12. All lesson plans are standards based with appropriate curriculum for the subject areas covered.

Kindergarten–Grade 5

These lessons are adaptable for multiple grade levels and specific subject matter.
Note: all files are in PDF format.

(grades 4-12, language arts, social studies, science) Looking at structures in Tishomingo State Park built by the CCC in 1939, students will learn about the CCC in Mississippi, gain a basic knowledge of the forces torque and stress on a bridge, and how to counteract them through the proper bridge design or engineering techniques.
(grades 4-9, social studies) Using an 18th century notebook, students will learn about the relationship between a family of British traders and their Choctaw clients, be introduced to some basic Choctaw words, and practice their own trading skills.
(grades 4-9, language arts, social studies)
Using digitized historic Mississippi maps, students will gain an understanding of changing Mississippi geography, how to use historic maps to plot forgotten towns on current state maps, how to write brief histories on these towns, and create their own museum exhibit.
(grades 3-5, language arts) Students will read the primary document, a letter written by A. Hutchins in 1797 during Mississippi’s territorial days, and compare it to letters written today and the different types of letter writing.
(grades 4-9, language arts, social studies) Students will learn about the Great Flood of 1927, those affected by it, and the flood’s lasting impact on the Mississippi Delta as well as the importance of having an emergency plan of their own.
(grades 3-5, language arts, math, social studies) Using a primary source document, close reading tactics, and math, students will learn about native Mississippian Alton N. Parker and his role in the Richard Byrd Antarctic Expedition of 1928-1930.
(grades 4-7, language arts, math, social studies) Students will read an overview of the Mississippi State Department of Health, research and design a brochure based on a common disease found in Mississippi during the first decades of the 20th century, and use morbidity reports to create three types of graphs.
(grades 2-4, language arts, social studies) Students will learn to evaluate personal learning choices, synthesize information, develop insight into the characteristics of community building, and analyze their conviction and commitment to educational success.
Grades 6-8

These lessons are adaptable for multiple grade levels and specific subject matter.
Note: all files are in PDF format.

(grades 6-7, math) Using census data from 1816, students will find the percentages of the different groups (or populations) living in Greene County at that time.
(grades 6-8, language arts) Using a letter written in 1799, students will learn about the different types of letter writing today and how to write their own persuasive business letter.
(grades 4-12, language arts, social studies, science) Looking at structures in Tishomingo State Park built by the CCC in 1939, students will learn about the CCC in Mississippi, gain a basic knowledge of the forces torque and stress on a bridge, and how to counteract them through the proper bridge design or engineering techniques.
(grades 8-12, language arts, social studies) Using the digital archives provided by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, along with other online sources provided, students will examine documents from the Civil War Pension Papers to understand what life was like after the Civil War for those who fought in it, as well as their families. Students will develop critical thinking skills using historical records and articles to analyze the significance that the Civil War had on the development and marketing of prosthetics for those injured in the war.
(grades 4-9, social studies) Using an 18th century notebook, students will learn about the relationship between a family of British traders and their Choctaw clients, be introduced to some basic Choctaw words, and practice their own trading skills.
(grades 6-8, language arts, math, social studies) In this lesson students will learn about education and state government by reading a brief history of Educable Children Records, engage in a discussion that compares and contrasts historical documents, and use records to create statistical graphs.
(grades 6-10, social studies) Using digitized photographs from the Mississippi Department of Education, students will discover differences between their schools and school photographs taken in the 1920s–1980s. Students will gain an understanding of the differences in school buildings during the 1950s–1960s, school transportation from 1930s–1980s, and sports or playground related activities in the 1940s–1960s.
(grades 8-12, language arts, social studies) Students will examine the role of everyday people in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement through the utilization of primary documents.
(grades 4-9, language arts, social studies) Using digitized historic Mississippi maps students will gain an understanding of changing Mississippi geography, how to use historic maps to plot forgotten towns on current state maps, how to write brief histories on these towns, and create their own museum exhibit.
(grades 8-12, language arts, social studies) Students will analyze the fights for equality in education and for voting rights and evaluate how Freedom Schools influenced the Civil Rights Movement.
(grades 4-9, language arts, social studies) Students will learn about the Great Flood of 1927, those affected by it, and the flood’s lasting impact on the Mississippi Delta as well as the importance of having an Emergency Plan of their own.
(grades 8-12, language arts, social studies) Through analysis of primary and secondary sources such as images and short stories, students will learn about the time period, causes and effects as well as lasting consequences of the Great Migration.
(grades 8-12, language arts, social studies) The students will learn and explore the connections between the oppressive conditions of the Jim Crow South, the Great Migration, and the music and literature which grew out of the movement from the South to the North.
(grades 8-12, language arts, social studies) By reading excerpts from five letters in Governor Chester’s correspondence, students will explore the strategic importance of British West Florida to English plans for retaining their North American colonies.
(grades 8-12, language arts, social studies) Using the Library of Congress Chronicling America website students will examine primary sources to understand the difference between opinions of American Southerners and Northerners about aspects of the Civil War.
(grades 8-12, language arts, social studies) After analyzing primary source documents, students will demonstrate their creativity as they distill factual information and write original songs, raps, or poems and create a documentary about Freedom Summer in 1964.
(grades 4-7, language arts, math, social studies) Students will read an overview of the Mississippi State Department of Health, research and design a brochure based on a common disease found in Mississippi during the first decades of the 20th century, and use morbidity reports to create three types of graphs.
(grades 8-12, language arts, social studies) Students will use the newspaper article “A fight for rights: Movement’s Robin Hood Unmasked” from The Clarion-Ledger by Jerry Mitchell to become more knowledgeable about the roles of private individuals and the significance in the development of American constitutional democracy.
(grades 8-12, language arts, social studies) Students will examine primary source material to understand racism in Mississippi history. Students will learn that Governor Ross Barnett and his pro-segregation attitudes were symptomatic of white attitudes during the Civil Rights Movement; examine campaign materials and racist propaganda; and analyze how this entrenched racism affected Ross Barnett’s response to James Meredith’s attempts to register at the University of Mississippi.
(grades 8-12, language arts, social studies) Students will understand the framing of the 1890 Mississippi Constitution in regards to disenfranchisement of African Americans; they will analyze the impact of the Supreme Court ruling of Plessy v. Ferguson in the perpetuation of segregation and racial inequality; compare and contrast African American and white schools in Mississippi; write a literary analysis about the attitude of Mississippi/Southern government officials towards the education of African Americans, citing specific evidence from both fiction and nonfiction excerpts; and identify differences between primary and secondary resources.
(grades 6-12, language arts, math, social studies) Students will examine constitutional and legal primary resources and biographies to understand the difference between the National Woman Suffrage and Mississippi Suffrage Movements. Using data from multiple U.S. Census records students will gain a greater understanding of the importance of the Woman Suffrage Movement and how it led to the Civil Rights Movement and other equal rights movements in U.S. history.
(grades 8-12, language arts, social studies) Students will perform a close reading of factual and fictional writings by and about soldiers in World War I. By analyzing and comparing excerpts from well-known literary works students will gain a deeper understanding of the violence and traumatic effects of World War I on the soldiers who participated.
Grades 9-12

These lessons are adaptable for multiple grade levels and specific subject matter.
Note: all files are in PDF format.

(grades 4-12, language arts, social studies, science)
Looking at structures in Tishomingo State Park built by the CCC in 1939, students will learn about the CCC in Mississippi, gain a basic knowledge of the forces torque and stress on a bridge, and how to counteract them through the proper bridge design or engineering techniques.
(grades 8-12, language arts, social studies)
Using the digital archives provided by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, along with other online sources provided, students will examine documents from the Civil War Pension Papers to understand what life was like after the Civil War for those who fought in it, as well as their families. Students will develop critical thinking skills using historical records and articles to analyze the significance that the Civil War had on the development and marketing of prosthetics for those injured in the war.
(grades 9-12, language arts)
Using a letter written in 1799, students will learn about Mississippi’s territorial days, the role of a custom house, the role of development in their community, and how to write their own persuasive business letter.
(grades 8-12, language arts, social studies)
Students will examine the role of everyday people in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement through the utilization of primary documents.
(grades 4-9, language arts, social studies)
Using digitized historic Mississippi maps students will gain an understanding of changing Mississippi geography, how to use historic maps to plot forgotten towns on current state maps, how to write brief histories on these towns, and create their own museum exhibit.
(grades 8-12, language arts, social studies) Students will analyze the fights for equality in education and for voting rights and evaluate how Freedom Schools influenced the Civil Rights Movement.
(grades 4-9, language arts, social studies)
Students will learn about the Great Flood of 1927, those affected by it, and the flood’s lasting impact on the Mississippi Delta as well as the importance of having an Emergency Plan of their own.
(grades 8-12, language arts, social studies)
Through analysis of primary and secondary sources such as images and short stories, students will learn about the time period, causes and effects as well as lasting consequences of the Great Migration.
(grades 8-12, language arts, social studies)
The students will learn and explore the connections between the oppressive conditions of the Jim Crow South, the Great Migration, and the music and literature which grew out of the movement from the South to the North.
(grades 9-10, language arts, social studies) Students will examine and compare similar clauses in the Mississippi Constitution of 1817 and the United States Constitution.
(grades 9-12, language arts, social studies)
Using primary sources from the personal papers of Medgar Evers, students will learn about Evers’ leadership and the risk African American Mississippians were willing to take on the road to achieve civil rights. Students will research biographical details of Evers's life and work to create a timeline; analyze documents to gain insight into Evers’ work with the NAACP and the repercussions African Americans faced as they challenged Mississippi’s segregation laws; and make connections between literature and history by reading Eudora Welty’s short story, “Where is the Voice Coming From?”
(grades 8-12, language arts, social studies)
By reading excerpts from five letters in Governor Chester’s correspondence, students will explore the strategic importance of British West Florida to English plans for retaining their North American colonies.
(grades 8-12, language arts, social studies)
Using the Library of Congress Chronicling America website students will examine primary sources to understand the difference between opinions of American Southerners and Northerners about aspects of the Civil War.
(grades 8-12, language arts, social studies) After analyzing primary source documents, students will demonstrate their creativity as they distill factual information and write original songs, raps, or poems and create a documentary about Freedom Summer in 1964.
(grades 8-12, language arts, social studies) Students will use the newspaper article “A fight for rights: Movement’s Robin Hood Unmasked” from The Clarion-Ledger by Jerry Mitchell to become more knowledgeable about the roles of private individuals and the significance in the development of American constitutional democracy.
(grades 8-12, language arts, social studies) Students will examine primary source material to understand racism in Mississippi history. Students will learn that Governor Ross Barnett and his pro-segregation attitudes were symptomatic of white attitudes during the Civil Rights Movement; examine campaign materials and racist propaganda; and analyze how this entrenched racism affected Ross Barnett’s response to James Meredith’s attempts to register at the University of Mississippi.
(grades 9-12, language arts, social studies) Students will learn to identify satire and a satirical point of view in text by distinguishing between what is directly stated in a text and what is really meant.
(grades 8-12, language arts, social studies) Students will understand the framing of the 1890 Mississippi Constitution in regards to disenfranchisement of African Americans; they will analyze the impact of the Supreme Court ruling of Plessy v. Ferguson in the perpetuation of segregation and racial inequality; compare and contrast African American and white schools in Mississippi; write a literary analysis about the attitude of Mississippi/Southern government officials towards the education of African Americans, citing specific evidence from both fiction and nonfiction excerpts; and identify differences between primary and secondary resources.
(grades 6-12, language arts, math, social studies) Students will examine constitutional and legal primary resources and biographies to understand the difference between the National Woman Suffrage and Mississippi Suffrage Movements. Using data from multiple U.S. Census records students will gain a greater understanding of the importance of the Woman Suffrage Movement and how it led to the Civil Rights Movement and other equal rights movements in U.S. history.
(grades 8-12, language arts, social studies) Students will perform a close reading of factual and fictional writings by and about soldiers in World War I. By analyzing and comparing excerpts from well-known literary works students will gain a deeper understanding of the violence and traumatic effects of World War I on the soldiers who participated.

Teaching Units

Students use a diverse array of educational tools to understand the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi. This includes close readings of texts, the use of primary sources, different types of multi-media components, and research and writing projects of various lengths completed both as individuals and within groups. Throughout the unit students are encouraged to both analyze and question the persons and events of the civil rights era and make connections between the civil rights struggles of the 1950s and 1960s with those of minority groups today.

Grades 9-12

Using group brainstorming, historical fiction, and eyewitness interviews, students will gain an understanding of de jure and de facto segregation in Mississippi. They will also perform a close reading of an excerpt from Anne Moody’s autobiography Coming of Age in Mississippi and (if time allows) compare it to Kathryn Stockett’s fictional The Help.
Research skills are developed by students as they use the Internet and Sovereignty Commission files to research Mississippi’s major civil rights activists.
Using primary sources such as newspaper articles and music, students will learn about the death of Emmett Till and the effect it had on Americans. After examining later examples of non-violent protests, student then write their own protest songs.
Looking at civil rights through the lens of sports, students will use film documentaries to understand the integration of the University of Mississippi and other successful and unsuccessful attempts at integration around the state.
Students will learn about the struggle of African Americans in Mississippi to gain the vote as well as those who helped them secure it, including the Freedom Summer Workers and Fannie Lou Hamer. Using a voter registration form from the 1950s, students will experience the difficulties of registering to vote as an African American in the 1960s.
Students continue to explore Mississippi’s separate but equal school system and understand how the issue of segregation impacted students into the 1970s and beyond. They will then create a class map and timeline showing the evolution of civil rights in Mississippi to the present day.

A wealth of primary sources including newspapers, images, ration and war bond booklets, museum artifacts, oral histories, maps, and posters are used to bring the World War II Home Front in Mississippi to life for students. Students analyze and interpret these materials through a variety of formats. While some topics such as rationing, Victory Gardens, and the GI Bill are issues that affected all Americans, others such as German POW camps, Ingalls Shipyard, and Jackson’s Tripps Crossing GI subdivision are topics unique to the state of Mississippi.

Grades 4 - 12

Using a combination of maps, newspapers, radio broadcasts, and newsreels students will receive a basic overview of World War II and how it was reported to the American people. Students will also learn how propaganda was utilized by the government to ensure each American contributed to the war effort and create their own propaganda related to current events within their community.
Learn about the different jobs Mississippians performed to help the war effort and identify primary sources that represent each role. Then interact with veterans by conducting oral histories detailing their wartime experiences and take an opportunity to thank those who have served while practicing basic letter writing skills.
Students will learn how everyday life at home, school, and work, was affected by World War II. They will have the opportunity to understand rationing, scrap metal drives, and Victory Gardens, using a combination of math, science, and history lessons.
Using newspapers from Mississippi factories, shipyards, and military bases, students will understand the dramatic effect World War II had on the work place by looking at war work’s cause and effects, the impact of foreign labor, and the changes in workplace culture.
Students will learn about the benefits and challenges facing veterans returning home, particularly the educational and home loan benefits provided by the GI Bill and post-war housing design, and suburban sprawl.
Students will continue to explore the changes and challenges faced by Mississippians during the post-war years, including the dichotomy of civil rights that were fought for during World War II but unattainable to many in the United States. Research skills are practiced as students gain an introduction to Mississippi veterans who go on to become leaders of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s.

Volunteer

Be part of history. Volunteer with MDAH and help us preserve and connect Mississippi’s rich historic resources with people around the world.


Volunteer