Blow your students away with engaging & informative classroom activities

Lesson plans and resources inspired by Hamilton for inclusive humanities education.

Image Credit: Michele Ellson/ The Alamedan

Image Credit: Pixabay/ 12019

Image Credit:  Pixabay/12019

Teaching History With Hamilton: The Science Behind Natural Disasters and How Hamilton Wrote His Way Out

______________________________________________________

Natural disasters affect everyone. No matter what region of the world you reside in, you will probably experience a natural disaster or extreme weather, such as a hurricane, earthquake, tornado, blizzard, tsunami, forest fire, dust storm, or a flood. Alexander Hamilton, an important Founder of the United States, experienced first-hand the hardship and devastation of natural disaster. As a teenager living on St. Croix he witnessed a hurricane strike the island on August 31st, 1772. Destruction spread through the neighboring islands of Nevis and St. Kitts with earthquakes and tidal waves that same afternoon. Hamilton was just seventeen years old.

This interdisciplinary lesson combines science, writing, and history. Explore the science behind natural disasters by starting with Alexander Hamilton’s letter to his father after the hurricane that hit St. Croix in 1772.  Students will then be given the opportunity to write their own letter depicting a natural disaster.

Grade Levels: 6-9

Image Credit: jbdodane/Flickr

Image Credit:jbdodane/Flickr

Teaching History With Hamilton: Slavery- The Caribbean & The Atlantic Slave Trade

______________________________________________________

This lesson explores the perspective of an enslaved, West Indian female. By examining an account about Mary Prince and  by listening to Hamilton’s “Cabinet Battle #3”, students will cite historical and textual evidence in order to create an original verse, for the song, from the viewpoint of a young, enslaved West Indian woman.

Grade Levels: 6-9

Common Core Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.1

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.6

Source: WikiWand

Image Credit: WikiWand

Teaching History With Hamilton: Satisfying Expectations in Colonial Marriage

______________________________________________________

This lesson connects William Blackston’s Commentaries on the Laws of England to the Hamilton song, “Satisfied”, in order to help students understand the history of coverture and how it affected the aspirations and satisfactions of colonial women. By identifying the specific areas in which the primary and secondary sources discuss similar topics, the students are able to demonstrate a level of synthesis across different types of texts. Students will then be given the opportunity, at the end of the lesson, to write from Angelica Schuyler Church’s perspective on why she is not “satisfied”.

Grade Levels: 6-8

Common Core Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.1

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.2

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.9

Image Credit: Jeff Djevdet

Image Credit: Jeff Djevdet via Flikr www.flickr.com/photos/jeffdjevdet/25106385101/

Teaching Tolerance Lesson: Indentured Servitude and Immigration

______________________________________________________

The lesson focuses on issues of immigration and on the problems and difficulties faced by immigrants as they wrestle with the dilemma of leaving their country due to economic conditions and other hardships.  The lesson lets students experience how immigrants examine their current situation and deal with making the decision to immigrate to the United States.

Grade levels: 6th-8th

Common Core Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.R1

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.R.3

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.1

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.2

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.1

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.4 

Source: White House Historical Association

Image Credit: White House Historical Association

Monticello Digital Classroom Lesson: Slavery and the Legacy of Thomas Jefferson

______________________________________________________

Students will critically evaluate and reflect on information concerning the life of Thomas Jefferson as a slaveholder. They will also examine slavery at Monticello and the effects of Thomas Jefferson’s death on the enslaved community there by reading accounts written by those who were enslaved at Monticello. Ultimately, they will engage in a Socratic seminar about Thomas Jefferson’ legacy in relation to slavery.

 

Grade levels: 6th-8th

Common Core Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.2

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.3

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.6

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.8

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Monticello Digital Classroom Lesson: Explore The Daily Life of a Slave at Monticello

______________________________________________________

During this lesson the learner will use primary and secondary sources found in the Slavery at Monticello app to determine how slaves truly impacted the production at Monticello.

 

Grade levels: 6th-8th

Common Core Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.2

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.7

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.9

Image Credit: Florida Memory

Image Credit:Florida Memory

Monticello Digital Classroom Lesson: Enslavement and the Enslaved at Monticello

______________________________________________________

 The lives of enslaved people living at Monticello will be explored, analyzed, and documented by students. Enslaved people such as Sally Hemings and her family, along with other enslaved persons will be analyzed. The focal point of the activities is centered around Monticello’s Mulberry Row.

 

Grade levels: 6th-8th

Common Core Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.1

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.2

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.6

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.7

37806781216_4a4cd33c8f_k

Image Credit: 

Gilder Lehrman Lesson: Alexander Hamilton’s ‘gloomy’ View of the American Revolution, 1780

______________________________________________________

Read Alexander Hamilton’s letter to François, the Marquis de Barbé-Marbois from October 12th, 1780. Following the primary document are discussion questions tailored to deepen student understanding. 

Grade levels: 8th- 9th

Common Core Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.1

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.2

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.4

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.6

Image Credit: Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr

Image Credit: Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr

Gilder Lehrman Lesson: How Hamilton Solved the Economic Problems Facing the United States

______________________________________________________

In this lesson students will develop an understanding of the economic challenges facing the newly independent United States. Those challenges included the lack of a national currency, the national government’s inability to levy taxes, and the crushing war debt. Through analyzing primary sources students will learn how Alexander Hamilton, first secretary of the treasury, addressed these issues.

Grade Levels:: 5th-8th

Common Core Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.2

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY. RI.5.3

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.10

Source: Thomas Fleming for CNN

Image Credit: Thomas Fleming/CNN

Gilder Lehrman Lesson: Hamilton v. Burr: The Story Behind the Duel

______________________________________________________

Students will develop an understanding of the tensions in the relationship between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr prior to their famous duel in 1804. They will read and analyze key excerpts from primary source documents that enable them to understand the issues and the personalities that led to the conflict.

Grade Level: 8th

Common Core Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.1

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.4

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.6

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.8.2

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY. WHST.6-8.2.F

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.9

Source: Museum of American Finance

Image Credit: Museum of American Finance 

Gilder Lehrman Lesson: The Duel: Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr 1804

______________________________________________________

Read Angelica Schuyler Church’s letter to Philip Schuyler, from July 11th, 1804. Following the primary document are discussion questions tailored to deepen student understanding. 

Grade Levels: 5th- 9th

Common Core Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.1

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.9

Image Credit: Evan Gearing

Image Credit: Evan Gearing

Gilder Lehrman Lesson: Opposing Viewpoints on the Ratification of the US Constitution

______________________________________________________

Students will develop a rich understanding of the arguments in favor of and in opposition to the ratification of the US Constitution. They will examine and analyze key excerpts from “Federalist No. 51,” George Mason’s Objections to the Constitution, and notes from Alexander Hamilton’s Plan of Government speech. As the students discuss the arguments presented, they will come to understand that Americans did not unilaterally agree on their new form of government.

Grade Level: 8th

Common Core Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.1

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.2

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.3

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.6

Image Credit: Wally Gobetz/Flickr

Image Credit:Wally Gobetz/Flickr

The Origins of Political Parties in America : Using Hamilton & Jefferson

______________________________________________________

Students will use complex sentences to compare and contrast the perspectives of Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton and explain how these differences lead to the creation of a two party political system in the United States.

Grade level: 8th

Common Core Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.1

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.2

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY. RH.6-8.6

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY. RH.6-8.9

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.10

Image Credit: 

NY Engage Lesson: Building Context for the Narrative: Slavery in America

______________________________________________________

Students read and analyze informational texts, citing textual evidence to support their thinking. They build their understanding of slavery, abolition, and the life of Douglass and hold these ideas on an anchor chart.

Grade Level: 7th

Common Core Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY. RI.7.1

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY. RI.7.7

Edsitement

Image Credit: EDSITEment/ National Endowment For The Humanities 

Edsitement Lesson Plan Collection

______________________________________________________

Edsitement, an online humanities resource, offers a wide array of Humanities lesson plans and student resources. Explore their large array of lesson plans for the Revolution & the New Nation.

Grade Levels: This website includes lesson plans for grade levels ranging from Kindergarten to 12th grade, with the majority of the lessons in the grades 6th-8th category.

HamilTeaching Moments

Short activities that use Hamilton  songs, themes, and individuals to spark discussion and learning

Slavery & The Founders

Hamilton Song Used: “Cabinet Battle #3 (Demo)”

Articles Used: Benjamin Franklin biography,  Slavery and the Founding Fathers article

Grade Level: 6th-8th

Common Core Standards: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.2, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.3, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.7, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.1, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.4

The subject of slavery and the Founding Fathers can be difficult to address. The Founders fought the American Revolution, wrote the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution and launched American democracy.So how could they personally own slaves and/or support the system of slavery? When Jefferson wrote, “all men are created equal,” how did he believe this to be true when he kept an estimated 141 African-Americans enslaved at his Monticello estate? Knowledge that the Founders were slave-owners complicates our views of them.

In this lesson plan, students will explore the role that slavery played in the lives of the Founders by listening to the song and reading activities. In this activity, students will be able to come to terms with the reality of slavery in a land devoted to liberty and equality. This activity will also create a platform to discuss how the musical Hamilton engages with the issue of slavery and the Founders.