Digital Commonwealth

Lesson Plans

These lesson plans feature digital collections of Digital Commonwealth members:

  • Civil War Letters

    Created by: Chloe Morse-Harding, Reference Archivist, University Archives & Special Collections, Brandeis University
    Description: On this page you will find four downloadable lesson plan packets – one each for: Grade 6 History, Grade 10 English, Grade 10 History, and Undergraduate (First or Second Year introductory class about English or History primary source research). Each has been crafted around specific letters from Brandeis University’s Michael Lally Civil War letters collection, though you can use other letters as well. Each packet contains a lesson plan, a timeline, and accompanying materials when applicable. The related handwritten letter(s) and transcription(s) are also included. Each plan geared towards middle and high school students meets various Massachusetts State Curriculum Standards. The lesson plans and activities are designed so that they can easily fit into a unit about the Civil War (at any point during the unit), and are meant to be easily adaptable for the needs of the class, and for any type of learner. The lesson plans and associated materials were designed by Chloe Morse-Harding, a State of Massachusetts certified teacher (English, Grades 8-12).
    View lesson plans at Civil War Letters of Wellesley College and Brandeis University
  • Teaching with Historic Maps

    Created by: Michelle LeBlanc, Director of Education and Public Programming, Leventhal Map Center
    Description: The Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library features over 7700 maps online from the 15th century to the present. The collection is particularly strong in maps and atlases of Boston and New England, the American Revolutionary War period and world urban centers. Their site features over 100 lesson plans, curriculum units and map activities booklets that allow students to construct knowledge and deepen their understanding about a wide variety of content areas. Lessons can be searched by grade level, location, time period and topic.
    View lesson plans at Leventhal Map Center
  • The Historical and Mathematical Features of Peabody's Municipal Buildings

    Created by: Diane Devine and Sudi Smoller, Higgins Middle School, Peabody, Mass.
    Description: Sudi Smoller, grade 6-8 library media specialist at Higgins Middle School in Peabody, collaborated on a social studies/math unit that incorporates Digital Commonwealth primary sources. The instructional objective is that "students will understand that primary resources are eyewitness accounts of history and that by looking at how ordinary people experienced events they can better understand some of the key points in American history." Students will investigate the historical and mathematical features of the Peabody Fire Station, Peabody City Hall, and the George Peabody House.
    Download (PDF)
  • Picturing Nativism in Antebellum Boston

    Created by: Tia Esposito and the Eighth Grade Teachers, Boston College High School Arrupe Division, Boston, Mass.
    Description: This lesson plan investigates anti-Catholic and anti-immigration sentiments in antebellum Boston. In one of the units, using visual culture and primary sources from the Digital Commonwealth website, students explore the reasons nativism emerged in Boston in the late 19th century and extrapolates to apply the lessons of the past to better understand the attitudes towards immigrants today.
    Download (PDF)
  • A Web Quest of Watertown, Massachusetts

    Created by: Marianne E. Brown, PBTL (Post Baccalaureate Teacher Licensure) student at Framingham State University
    Description: A lesson plan focusing on presentations within Digital Commonwealth from the Watertown Free Public Library. The lesson plan developed for 10th grade students focuses on the creation of a community walk of historical markers in Watertown, Mass.
    Download (PDF)