July 22, 2008
By David Darlington
Teachers looking for lesson plans for grades 4-12 will want to visit the Educational Resources page on myLOC.gov. Here, they will find lesson plans and online activities featuring historical materials from the library’s collection. Using these lesson plans will expose students to working with primary sources—photos, documents, maps, and so on—like a true historian.
For example, take the lesson “The Declaration of Independence: From Rough Draft to Proclamation,” featured on the main page. Here, students will see Jefferson’s (unidentified) rough draft of the Declaration, interpret it, and speculate as to what it might be. Then, they will read the document side-by-side with the published version and discuss the differences. The lesson plan’s web site discusses the lesson in detail, providing an overview, outlining objectives (examining documents as primary sources, analyzing and comparing drafts, and describing the significance of changes to a document’s text), showing time to completion, expected grade level, era and topics covered, and any state standards that may be met by the lesson. Teachers are given preparation resources, including PDFs of the primary documents needed, and also recommended classroom procedures and tools for evaluation.
The topics covered in these lesson plans are varied and not exclusively American. See lessons on Sir Francis Drake’s West Indian voyage and Martin Waldseemüller’s 1507 world map for example. Many more lesson plans are archived here.