Lesson Plan

Daily Life and Diversity in 18th Century Philadelphia, Lesson Two:  Meet the People Using Primary and Secondary Resources

Detail of a pastel portrait of a man with gray hair receding in a widow's peak, wearing a white clerical collar.
Explore family life in 18th century Philadelphia.

Bishop William White by Charles Willson Peale, from life, 1788. 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,  (6-8).92,  Reading Informational Text RI 5.1 , RI 5.2, RI 5.4,  RI 5.7, Speaking & Listening SL 5.1, SL 5.2, SL 5.4,
community, 18th Century, Family, Daily life


Students will learn about primary and secondary resources through their exploration of four families who lived in Philadelphia from 1790 to 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.


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 3 and 4
  • Pencils or pens, highlighters
  • Family photographs (optional)



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.


This document contains a number of suggested extension activities.

Additional Resources

Check out these additional resources for students.


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

Last updated: September 11, 2015