Lesson Plan

Daily Life and Diversity in 18th Century Philadelphia, Lesson One:  Investigating History

Color pastel of woman in profile, with dark hair and a white nearly transparent bonnet tied under the chin.
Learn more about family life in 18th century Philadelphia.

Detail, Dolley Payne Madison by James Sharples, Sr, from life, 1796-1797. NPS image.

Overall Rating

Add your review
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) .2, (6-8). 8,  Speaking & Listening SL 5.1, SL 5.2 
community, 18th Century, Family, Daily life


Students will develop an understanding of the daily lives of several citizens in 18th century Philadelphia through the study of four specific households that existed in the decade spanning the years 1790-1800.


Students will investigate the use of primary and secondary sources and will be able to discuss their importance to historians. Upon examining various biographies and primary sources through a web-based activity, students will develop a greater understanding of life in 18th century Philadelphia.



This information document and these teacher resources will provide the teacher with the necessary background for this lesson. The information document is designed with helpful information in an easy-to-read format. It includes descriptions that you can use as a guide and resource, and includes a detailed overview of the four households, their inhabitants and the information about each household covered in the website. The teacher resources sheet is a list of publications that provide details for the "Daily Life in 18th Century Philadelphia" lessons.


  • One pocket folder for each student, assembled as detailed in the lesson
  • All Investigation Sheets and the Project Rubric
  • Index cards of four different colors, or copy paper of four different colors
  • Chart paper and color markers
  • List of Household Members - Teacher Resource Sheets A, B, C and D



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 extensions activities.

Additional Resources

This document provides additional resources for students.


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

Last updated: September 11, 2015