Lesson Plan

Daily Life and Diversity in 18th Century Philadelphia, Lesson Three:  Entering the House, Learning through Material Culture

Pastel portrait showing George Washington in left profile, with white hair, white jabot around the neck and black coat.
Investigate four households, including President Washington's.

George Washington attributed to Ellen Sharples, after James Sharples Sr., c. 1796-1810. NPS image.

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Grade Level:
Fifth Grade-Eighth Grade
African American History and Culture, Community, History, Social Studies, Sociology, Women's History
One to two class sessions
Group Size:
Up to 36
National/State Standards:
Reading History (6-8) .1, (6-8). 2,  (6-8). 7,  Reading Informational Text RI 5.4, RI 5.7, Speaking & Listening SL 5.1
community, 18th Century, Family, Daily life


Students learn about the people of four specific households in 1790's Philadelphia through the objects they left behind.


Students will investigate the daily life of different households in 18th century Philadelphia using a web-based activity that emphasizes the study of material culture.


Use the information document and teacher resources to prepare for this lesson plan.  The information document contains detailed descriptions of the four households covered in the lesson, including information about the occupants and their household goods.  The teacher resources sheet is a list of publications with pertinent details relevant to this series of lessons



  • 18th Century Research File
  • Investigation Sheets 5 and 6
  • Chart paper
  • Pens or markers



Use the PreTest and Rubric to assess learning.


Park Connections

This lesson ties to many places in the park including the President's House Site, Bishop White House and Todd House.


Check out these suggested extension activities.

Additional Resources

Explore this list of publications with information applicable to the Daily Life in 18th Century Philadelphia lessons.


Chronology, Residence, Primary Resource, Secondary Resource, Diversity, Material Culture, Epidemic, Historian

Last updated: September 11, 2015