Teaching Materials

Climate Illustration - Schafer | Zinn Education Project

The (Young) People’s Climate Conference: Teaching Global Warming to 3rd Graders

Teaching Activity. By Rowan Shafer. A teacher adapts the “Climate Change Mixer” designed for older students as a springboard for a unit on global warming and climate justice. She asks, "How could I bring up an issue so big and abstract, so gloom and doom, with 3rd graders? How could I not?"
Time Periods: 21st Century
Themes: Climate Justice, Environment, Democracy & Citizenship, Laws & Citizen Rights, Native American, Organizing, World History/Global Studies
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The 1934 West Coast Longshore Strike

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. Students “become” several of the social groups who participated in the 1934 Longshore Workers Strike—some of whom had to answer the question, “Which side are you on?”
Time Periods: 20th Century, Prosperity, Depression, & World War II: 1920 - 1944
Themes: Labor, Organizing, Social Class
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Andrew Jackson and the "Children of the Forest" (Lesson) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Andrew Jackson and the “Children of the Forest”

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. A lesson in which students develop critical literacy skills by responding to Andrew Jackson's speech on "Indian Removal."
Time Periods: 19th Century, Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849
Themes: Native American, Racism & Racial Identity
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Suffragist and labor leader Agnes Nestor | Zinn Education Project

Birth of a Rank-and-File Organizer

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 7 pages. Writing activity for students to complete the narrative of women workers striking at a glove-making factory, exploring possible outcomes.
Themes: Labor, Organizing, Social Class, Women's History
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COINTELPRO: Teaching the FBI’s War on the Black Freedom Movement

Teaching Activity. By Ursula Wolfe-Rocca. 29 pages. Through examining FBI documents, students learn the scope of the FBI’s COINTELPRO campaign to spy on, infiltrate, discredit, and disrupt all corners of the Black Freedom Movement.
Time Periods: 20th Century, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, Post-Civil Rights Era: 1975 - 2000
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity
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The Cherokee Seminole Removal Role Play Featured Image

The Cherokee/Seminole Removal Role Play

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. What led up to the Trail of Tears? Students role play the decision to remove the Cherokee and Seminole people from their lands.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849
Themes: Democracy & Citizenship, Native American, Racism & Racial Identity
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Rini Templeton Climate (Art) | Zinn Education Project

Climate Change Mixer

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. A role play introduces students to 19 individuals around the world—each of whom is affected differently by climate change.
Time Periods: 21st Century
Themes: Climate Justice, Environment, World History/Global Studies
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Coal, Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Mountaintop Removal (Lesson) | Zinn Education Project

Coal, Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Mountaintop Removal

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 15 pages. Using chocolate chip cookie "mining," this lively activity takes a critical look at how the coal industry teaches the impact of coal mining.
Time Periods: 21st Century, 2001 - Present
Themes: Climate Justice, Environment
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The Color Line (Lesson) | Zinn Education Project

The Color Line

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. A lesson on the countless colonial laws enacted to create division and inequality based on race. This helps students understand the origins of racism in the United States and who benefits.
Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764, 18th Century
Themes: African American, Laws & Citizen Rights, Native American, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery and Resistance
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Eduardo Relero Apple Store in Madrid | Zinn Education Project

Congo, Coltan, and Cell Phones: A People’s History

Teaching Activity. By Alison Kysia. 28 pages. In this lesson, students learn about the colonial history of Congo, debate responsibility for crimes against humanity, and investigate the connection, past and present, between the exploitation of natural resources and violence.
Time Periods: 19th Century, 20th Century
Themes: Imperialism, US Foreign Policy, World History/Global Studies
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Constitution Role Play: Whose “More Perfect Union”? and The Constitutional Convention: Who Really Won?

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 23 pages. The U.S. Constitution endorsed slavery and favored the interests of the owning classes. What kind of Constitution would have resulted from founders who were representative of the entire country? That is the premise of this role play activity.
Time Periods: 18th Century, Revolution & Constitution: 1765 - 1799
Themes: African American, Democracy & Citizenship, Laws & Citizen Rights, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery and Resistance, Social Class
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Daughter of Earth: Reading, Writing, and Social Class

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 7 pages. Students read a poignant excerpt from Agnes Smedley's novel, Daughter of Earth, and use it to think and write about how schooling—their own included—teaches lessons about social class.
Time Periods: 20th Century, Turn of the Century: 1900 - 1909
Themes: Education, Social Class, Women's History
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Deportations - 1500 Mexicans Loaded on Trains | Zinn Education Project

Deportations on Trial: Mexican Americans During the Great Depression

Teaching Activity. By Ursula Wolfe-Rocca. In this role play students analyze who is to blame for the illegal, mass deportations of Mexican Americans and immigrants during the Great Depression.
Time Periods: Prosperity, Depression, & World War II: 1920 - 1944
Themes: Immigration, Labor, Latinx, Laws & Citizen Rights, Racism & Racial Identity
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Discovering Columbus: Re-reading the Past Feature Image

Discovering Columbus: Re-reading the Past

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. How to engage students in a critical analysis of the textbook version of "discovery."
Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764
Themes: Education, Imperialism, Native American
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‘Don’t Take Our Voices Away’: A Role Play on the Indigenous Peoples’ Global Summit on Climate Change (Lesson) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

‘Don’t Take Our Voices Away’: A Role Play on the Indigenous Peoples’ Global Summit on Climate Change

Teaching Activity. By Julie Treick O’Neill and Tim Swinehart. 16 pages. A role play on the Indigenous Peoples' Global Summit on Climate Change asks students to develop a list of demands to present to the rest of the world at a climate change meeting.
Time Periods: 21st Century, 2001 - Present
Themes: Climate Justice, Environment, Native American, Pacific Islander, Science, World History/Global Studies
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The Draft Riot Mystery

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. Students are invited to solve a mystery, using historical clues, about the real story of the Draft Riots.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864
Themes: African American, Democracy & Citizenship, Immigration, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery and Resistance, Social Class, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements
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