Teaching Materials

The War to Free the Slaves (Material) | Zinn Education Project

A War to Free the Slaves?

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. Students explore some of the myths of the Civil War through examining excerpts from Lincoln’s first inaugural address, the rarely mentioned original Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution that Lincoln promised to support, and the Emancipation Proclamation.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864
Themes: African American, Democracy & Citizenship, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery and Resistance
Read More
Daisy Bates, Little Rock 9, and NAACP officers | Zinn Education Project

Warriors Don’t Cry: Connecting History, Literature, and Our Lives

Teaching Activity. By Linda Christensen. Rethinking Schools. Role play and writing activities for language arts and social studies on Brown v. Board and the Little Rock Nine. Designed for use with the memoir Warriors Don’t Cry.
Time Periods: 20th Century, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Education, Language Arts, Racism & Racial Identity
Read More
We Had Set Ourselves Free’: Lessons on the Civil Rights Movement (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

‘We Had Set Ourselves Free’: Lessons on the Civil Rights Movement

Teaching Activity. By Doug Sherman. Rethinking Schools. The author describes how he uses biographies and film to introduce students to the role of people involved in the Civil Rights Movement beyond the familiar heroes. He emphasizes the role and experiences of young people in the Movement.
Time Periods: 20th Century, Cold War: 1945 - 1960, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity
Read More

What Rights Do We Have?

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. This lesson teaches some of the nuts and bolts of labor unions and then moves beyond to ask students to consider what rights they have at work, and to recognize that “rights” depend in large part on what people have fought for and won.
Themes: Democracy & Citizenship, Labor, Laws & Citizen Rights, Organizing
Read More

What We Don’t Learn About the Black Panther Party — but Should

Teaching Activity. By Adam Sanchez and Jesse Hagopian. 33 pages. Rethinking Schools. A mixer role play introduces students to the pivotal and largely untold history of the Black Panthers.
Time Periods: 20th Century, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, Post-Civil Rights Era: 1975 - 2000
Themes: African American, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity, Social Class, Women's History
Read More
Frances Harper, William Sylvis, Isaac Myers, and John Roy Lynch pictured. They were leaders of the Reconstruction Era in US history

When the Impossible Suddenly Became Possible: A Reconstruction Mixer

Teaching Activity. By Adam Sanchez and Nqobile Mthethwa. 25 pages. A mixer role play explores the connections between different social movements during Reconstruction.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864, Reconstruction Period: 1865 - 1876
Themes: African American, Reconstruction, Democracy & Citizenship, Laws & Citizen Rights, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery and Resistance
Read More
Black Abolitionists (Profile) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Who Fought to End Slavery? Meet the Abolitionists

Teaching Activity. By Adam Sanchez, Brady Bennon, Deb Delman, and Jessica Lovaas. This mixer role play introduces students to the stories of famous and lesser-known abolitionists, through biography and investigation.
Time Periods: Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864
Themes: African American, Organizing, Slavery and Resistance
Read More
Police use tear gas against participants in San Francisco’s 1934 general strike.

Who Made the New Deal? The Economic Recovery Conference Role Play

Teaching Activity. By Adam Sanchez. Rethinking Schools. Through role play, students explore how different social groups influenced New Deal legislation.
Time Periods: 20th Century, Prosperity, Depression, & World War II: 1920 - 1944
Themes: Economics, Labor, Laws & Citizen Rights, Organizing
Read More

Who Makes History?

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. This lesson introduces students to Bertolt Brecht’s poem, A Worker Reads History. Students reflect on the creative role of workers in making history.
Themes: Democracy & Citizenship, Labor, Social Class
Read More

Whose “Terrorism”?

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 11 pages. Rethinking Schools. Using scenarios based on real situations, this lesson helps middle and high school students examine the definition of terrorism and the use of the term terrorism in the media and U.S. foreign policy.
Time Periods: 21st Century, 2001 - Present
Themes: US Foreign Policy, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements
Read More

Who’s to Blame? A People’s Tribunal on the Coronavirus Pandemic

Teaching Activity. By Caneisha Mills. This people’s tribunal begins with the premise that a heinous crime is being committed as tens of millions of people’s lives are in danger due to COVID-19. But who was responsible for this crime? Students weigh the evidence.
Time Periods: 21st Century
Themes: Climate Justice, Environment, Racism & Racial Identity, Social Class, US Foreign Policy, World History/Global Studies
Read More

Witness to Apartheid: A Teaching Guide

Teaching Guide. By Bill Bigelow. 1987. Lessons and activities that accompany the 1986 film Witness to Apartheid.
Time Periods: 20th Century
Themes: Democracy & Citizenship, Racism & Racial Identity, World History/Global Studies
Read More
Climate Illustration - Schafer | Zinn Education Project

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

Teaching Activity. By Rowan Shafer. Rethinking Schools. 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
Read More