“My plan is to fan this spark into a flame.”
—Hamilton, “My Shot”

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

Image Credit: Pixabay/ 12019

Image Credit: Pixabay/ 12019

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

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The recent hurricanes, such as Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Harvey, and Hurricane Katrina, have devastated regions Cape Verde and The United States, for example. There is a strong likelihood that your students have either experienced a natural disaster or know someone that has. This interdisciplinary lesson aims to connect Science, Writing, and Social Studies, by using the story of Alexander Hamilton’s 1772 letter in the Royal Danish American Gazette together with the science behind hurricanes.  The lesson will begin with an exploration of the science behind hurricanes. Students will then read Hamilton’s descriptive letter about the St. Croix hurricane. From this, students will be prompted to write a letter describing an eyewitness experience to a natural disaster or a weather event

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: 9-12

Image Credit: jbdodane/Flickr

Image Credit: jbdodane/Flickr

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

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

Grade Levels: 9-12

Common Core Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.1

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.6

Source: WikiWand

Image Credit: WikiWand 

Teaching History With Hamilton Lesson: Satisfying Expectations in Colonial Marriage

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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: 9-12

Common Core Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.1

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.2

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.7

Image Credit: Jeff Djevdet

Image Credit:Jeff Djevdet

Teaching Tolerance Lesson: Indentured Servitude and Immigration

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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: 9th-12th

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 

Image Credit: Joan Marcus

Image Credit: Joan Marcus

Monticello Digital Classroom Lesson: Understanding the Conflicts of Jefferson and Hamilton through Hamilton: An American Musical

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Despite his dislike of the party system, Washington saw his first cabinet sharply divided by the differing political beliefs of two of his appointed cabinet members, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton. The political division between Jefferson and Hamilton led to what Washington feared most: the creation of the two-party system in American politics. Through the use of primary sources, secondary sources and tracks from Hamilton: An American Musical, this lesson will help students understand how both the personal and political differences of Jefferson and Hamilton created factions in Washington’s first cabinet and the creation of American two-party political system.

 

Grade Levels: 9th-12th

Common Core Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.2

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.7

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.9

Image Credit: Thomas Jefferson Foundation; G. B. McIntosh, artist

Image Credit: Thomas Jefferson Foundation; G. B. McIntosh, artist

Monticello Digital Classroom Lesson: A Deplorable Entanglement: Picturing Race and Gender at Monticello

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Students will use image and document analysis to gain an understanding of slave life in general, slave life specifically at Monticello, and how the concepts of race and gender play into slavery and plantation life.

 

Grade Levels: 9th-12th

Common Core Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.7

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.8

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.9

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Image Credit:Wikimedia Commons

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

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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: 9th-12th

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: Wikimedia Commons

Image Credit:Wikimedia Commons

Monticello Digital Classroom Lesson: The Election of 1800: Revolutionary Stability

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 This lesson is intended for use in a Government class, though it could be easily adapted to a US History course. The lesson is a combination of a few different approaches: students will study primary writings of Jefferson and Adams, examine a range of online documents and images in a DBQ format, and explore historical interpretations through the use of scholarly texts.

 

Grade Levels: 9th-12th

Common Core Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.2

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.6

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.7

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.9

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.1

Image Credit: Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr

Image Credit: Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr

Monticello Digital Classroom Lesson: The Debate Over the Assumption Plan and the Bank of the United States: Why did Jefferson disagree with Hamilton?

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Students will evaluate Jefferson’s ideas about how the early economic system of the United States should function and assess the viability of his ideas about how debt should be handled against the contrast of Hamilton’s Assumption Plan and plan for creating a Bank of the United States while interpreting the constitutionality of Hamilton’s ideas.

 

Grade Levels: 9-12th

Common Core Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.2

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.4

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.6

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.8

2526429491_3418fafec9_b

Image Credit:

PBS Lesson: Hamilton’s America | An Immigrant’s Story

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Learn about Alexander Hamilton’s upbringing, his journey as an immigrant from the Caribbean to North America, and observe how it is portrayed in the musical Hamilton in this clip from GREAT PERFORMANCES: “Hamilton’s America.”Students will be able to compare and contrast stories of immigration and explore how Hamilton “wrote his way out of his circumstances.”

 

Grade Levels: 4th-12th

National Standards for U.S. History Grades 5-12:

4.2B.2, 4.2C.2, 4.2C.3

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Image Credit: 

PBS Lesson: Hamilton’s America| Alexander Hamilton: The First Secretary of the Treasury

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Learn how Alexander Hamilton shaped the financial system of the United States in this video from GREAT PERFORMANCES: “Hamilton’s America.” As the first Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton created all the policies for how the federal government deals with money.

Grade Levels: 9th-12th

National Standards for U.S. History Grades 5-12:

3.1C.4, 3.3A.3, 3.3A.4, 3.3A.5, 4.1A.2

Source: Phil Rosenthal/ Chicago Tribune

Image Credit: Phil Rosenthal/ Chicago Tribune

PBS Lesson: Hamilton’s America | Lin-Manuel Miranda, Shakespeare, and Hip Hop

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Explore the inspiration behind Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical Hamilton, Miranda’s connection to Shakespeare, and the influence of hip hop in Miranda’s storytelling in this media galley from GREAT PERFORMANCES: “Hamilton’s America.”

Grade Levels: 8th-12th

National Standards for U.S. History Grades 5-12:

3.1C.1, 3.1C.4, 3.3A.3, 3.3A.4

Source: Museum of American Finance

Image Credit: Museum of American Finance 

PBS Lesson: Hamilton’s America | Understanding the Burr-Hamilton Duel

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Follow the events that led to the famous duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton in 1804 in this video from GREAT PERFORMANCES: “Hamilton’s America.” While dueling was made illegal in America in the 18th century, these “affairs of honor” still occurred occasionally. The support materials below the video include a close reading of the essay “Understanding the Burr-Hamilton Duel” By Joanne Freeman.

Grade Levels: 9th-12th

Common Core Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.2

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.3

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.8

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.3

Image Credit: Wally Gobetz/Flickr

Image Credit: Wally Gobetz/Flickr

PBS Lesson: Hamilton’s America | The Dinner Party Compromise of 1790

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Learn how Alexander Hamilton resolved conflict and convinced the Cabinet to accept his debt plan at a dinner party (known as the Dinner Party Compromise or Dinner Table Bargain) in this clip from GREAT PERFORMANCES: “Hamilton’s America.”

Students will also get an inside look at how Lin-Manuel Miranda transformed the portrayal of this important but intricate historical moment by telling it from the perspective of an outsider—Aaron Burr.

Grade Levels: 9th-12th

National Standards for U.S. History Grades 5-12:

3.1C.3, 3.2B.1, 3.2C.2

24266138034_a1272a47ba_k

Image Credit: 

PBS Lesson: Hamilton’s America| The Federalist Papers

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In this resource from GREAT PERFORMANCES: “Hamilton’s America,” learn how founding father Alexander Hamilton, along with his compatriots James Madison and John Jay, helped shape a new path for the struggling American republic with their political treatise, known today as The Federalist Papers.

Grade Levels: 9th-12th

National Standards for U.S. History Grades 5-12:

3.1C.4, 3.3A.1, 3.3A.3, 3.3A.4, 3.3A.5, 4.1A.2,

National Standards for Historical Thinking for Grades 5-12:

2.A, 2.F.a, 2.G, 4.A,

3278047413_621c84b9db_o

Image Credit: 

PBS Lesson: Hamilton’s America | Hamilton and the Election of 1800

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Explore how the American presidential election of 1800 became a heated contest between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr and how Alexander Hamilton influenced the election in this video from GREAT PERFORMANCES: “Hamilton’s America.”Read a letter from Alexander Hamilton to Harrison Gray Otis expressing his opinion, “Jefferson is in every view less dangerous than Burr,” in an attempt to sway his vote. Built upon years of conflict, Hamilton’s relationship with Burr hits a low point during the election and never recovers, eventually leading to their infamous duel.

Grade Levels: 8th-12th

National Standards for U.S. History Grades 5-12:

3.1C.1, 3.3A.5, 3.3D.1, 3.3D.2, 3.3D.3, 4.1A.2, 4.3A.4

Image Credit: Corey Seeman/ Flickr

Image Credit: Corey Seeman/ Flickr

PBS Lesson: Hamilton’s America | Reconciling History: The Founding Fathers

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Explore the legacy of the Founding Fathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson in this clip from GREAT PERFORMANCES: “Hamilton’s America.” In weighing their contributions and flaws – especially given that both men were slave holders – how should their place in history be evaluated? This resource also features the song “One Last Time” from the musical Hamilton about Washington’s legacy of a peaceful transition of power.

Grade Levels: 5th-12th

National Standards for U.S. History Grades 5-12:

3.1C.1, 3.1C.4, 3.3A.3, 3.3A.4

2371962815_164da04d21_b

Image Credit: Lynnea Williams

PBS Lesson: Hamilton’s America| Washington’s Right-Hand Man: Alexander Hamilton and American Independence

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Learn how George Washington and Alexander Hamilton’s relationship became key to the American victory in the Revolutionary War in this media gallery from GREAT PERFORMANCES: “Hamilton’s America.” See how the real-life events of the war inspired the characters and story of the Broadway hit musical, Hamilton, and learn more about the men beyond the history books.

Grade Levels: 7th-12th

National Standards for U.S. History Grades 5-12:

3.1A.3, 3.1C.1

Image Credit: Evan Gearing

Image Credit: Evan Gearing

Edsitement Lesson: The Road to the Constitutional Convention

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This lesson will focus on the various problems under the Articles of Confederation between 1783 and 1786 that led to the call for the 1787 Convention. By examining documents of Congress, the state governments, and prominent American founders—both public and private—students will better understand why many Americans agreed that the Articles should be revised and amended. Students will also see why some prominent American founders, more than others, believed that the United States faced a serious crisis, and that drastic changes, rather than minor amendments, to the Articles were necessary.

Grade Levels: 9th-12th

Common Core Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.1

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.3

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.5

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.6

Edsitement

Image Credit: EDSITEment/ National Endowment For The Humanities 

Edsitement Lesson Plan Collection

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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: EDSITEment offers lesson plans for all grades, ranging from K-12.

Source: Rise Up!: An American Curriculum

Image Credit: RISE UP!

RISE UP!: An American Curriculum

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RISE UP!: An American Curriculum inspired by Hamilton: An American Musical offers curriculums, workshops, and resources for educators that focus on the themes of identity, power, embodiment, and narrative. Intended for high school or higher education settings, these lessons work to redefine what it means to be “American” by creating new narratives.

HamilTeaching Moments

Short activities that bring Hamilton songs, themes, and individuals into discussion

Slavery & The Founders

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

Articles & Primary Documents Used: Does “All Men Are Created Equal” Apply to Slaves? Calls for Abolition, 1773-1783, Slavery and the Founding Fathers article,

Grade Level: 9th-12th

Common Core Standards: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.1, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.2, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.6, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.9, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.9-10.1.A

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.

Videos

Links

The Hamilton Education Program #EduHam

In collaboration with Hamilton, The Rockefeller Foundation and The Gilder Lehrman Institute  have created the Hamilton Education Program. Through this program, Title I high schools from a list of 13 U.S. cities are selected to see the musical, as well as access lesson plans, videos, documents, and resources about Alexander Hamilton and the Revolutionary Era. This private program is only available for selected schools. If your school is a part of the program, you can visit the link. If not, you can contact  hamilton@gilderlehrman.org to inquire more about eligibility and access.