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Teaching Resources

Welcome to the Emerging America resource library. Browse our ever-growing collection of primary source sets, lesson plans, classroom assessments, and more, developed by teachers and edited for quality and consistency. Use the controls in the blue box to search and filter by Type, Subject, Time Period, and Grade Level. NOTE: Use the website search engine (above) to find resources–such as apps and curriculum from other organizations–that appear only in the blog.
vintage locomotive

Using familiar imagery of trains, young students can begin to make foundational connections to geography and history using primary sources. Kindergarten students will make a first exploration of local history through early railroad maps from the Library of Congress. This lesson addresses Kindergarten Common Core State Standards and several Massachusetts Social Studies standards and skills.…

star spangled banner

“…establish justice…” “…promote the general welfare….” “…secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity…”  

By connecting the goals of the federal government to primary source visual representations, this simple civics lesson will help students to remember and think more deeply about the goals set out by the Preamble to the United States Constitution…

A color cartoon showing laborers, among whom are Irishmen, an African American, a Civil War veteran, Italian, Frenchman, and a Jew (all caracatures), building a wall against the Chinese. Labels on wall indicate that Congressional mortar connects blocks of prejudice, non-reciprocity, law against race, fear, jealousy, anti-low-wages, competition, etc. Across the sea, a ship flying the American flag enters China, as the Chinese knock down their own wall and permit trade of such goods as rice, tea, and silk.

This lesson uses the 21st century “travel ban,” ruled constitutional in 2018, as an entry point to explore previous shifts in US immigration policy. More specifically, students will use primary sources to examine social contexts of three specific immigration laws (Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, Immigration Acts of 1921 & 1924, and Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952) in order to…

Young man wearing apron stands by machine in factory workshop.

Kelley McDermott, History teacher in a Massachusetts Department of Youth Services facility developed this lesson to attract her 8th grade students interest in research and public policy. Historically, students with disabilities are disproportionally caught up in the juvenile justice system. The lesson employs many strategies and tools for accessibility from Emerging America's Accessing Inquiry…

Screenshot of Graffiti Board Video from Facing History

Facing History offers an introduction and classroom example of the ways a Graffitti board can engage students who don’t feel comfortable speaking up in class. Click here to watch a video of high school students using this strategy to brainstorm ideas for a…