Popular Lessons

These are some of the most frequently downloaded lessons from the Zinn Education Project website.

The Color Line

By Bill Bigelow

This lesson on the countless colonial laws enacted to create division and inequality based on race helps students understand the origins of racism in the United States and who benefits.

The People vs. Columbus, et al.

By Bill Bigelow with contributions from members of the Taíno community

In this mock trial, students determine who is responsible for the death of millions of Taínos on the island of Hispaniola in the late 15th century.

COINTELPRO | Zinn Education Project

COINTELPRO: Teaching the FBI’s War on the Black Freedom Movement

By Ursula Wolfe-Rocca

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.

Plowing in South Carolina

Reconstructing the South

By Bill Bigelow with companion lesson by Mimi Eisen and Ursula Wolfe-Rocca 

This role play engages students in thinking about what freedpeople needed in order to achieve — and sustain — real freedom after the Civil War. In the follow-up lesson, students explore primary sources that reveal key outcomes of the Reconstruction era.

A photograph of a colorful mural depicting the Black Panther Party's 10 Point Program, as seen on the side of Marcus Books in Oakland, California.

‘What We Want, What We Believe’: Teaching with the Black Panthers’ 10-Point Program

By Wayne Au

How students can use the Black Panther Party’s 10-Point Program to assess issues in their own communities and to develop 10-Point Programs of their own.

Poetry of Defiance: How the Enslaved Resisted

By Adam Sanchez

Through a mixer activity, students encounter how enslaved people resisted the brutal exploitation of slavery. The lesson culminates in a collective class poem highlighting the defiance of the enslaved.

Water and Environmental Racism

By Matt Reed and Ursula Wolfe-Rocca

This lesson introduces students to the struggle of residents to access safe water in the majority-Black cities of Flint, Michigan; Jackson, Mississippi; and Newark, New Jersey.

Whose “Terrorism”?

By Bill Bigelow

Using scenarios based on real situations, this lesson helps students examine the definition of terrorism and the use of the term terrorism in the media and U.S. foreign policy.

A colorful painting of people being deported back to Mexico, by Kaelyn Savard.

Deportations on Trial: Mexican Americans During the Great Depression

By Ursula Wolfe-Rocca

In this lesson, students analyze who is to blame for the illegal, mass deportations of Mexican Americans and immigrants during the Great Depression.

Stories from the Climate Crisis: A Mixer

By Bill Bigelow

This lesson introduces students to 23 individuals around the world — each of whom is affected differently by climate change.