Teaching with Historic Places

Teaching with Historic Places offers a series of more than 160 classroom-ready lesson plans that use historic sites as a means for exploring American history. Educators and their students can work through these online lesson plans directly on the computer or print them out and photocopy them for distribution.

You can browse the collection in several ways, each of which includes a short description of every lesson:

Time period
Primary Source
National Standards for History
Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
Common Core Standards

Although designed for middle school students learning history, social studies, geography, and other subjects, TwHP lessons are easily adaptable from upper elementary through high school, and even for college courses. Each lesson includes maps, readings, and photographs, all of which are accompanied by questions. At the end, activities pull together the ideas students have just covered and require them to initiate their own research.

Each TwHP lesson plan links both to relevant United States History Standards for Grades 5-12 and also to relevant Performance Expectations for Middle Grades from the national Curriculum Standards for Social Studies. For more information about the National Standards for History, please visit their website. To learn more about the national Standards for Social Studies, please visit the National Council for the Social Studies website.

Lessons produced in and after December 2016 are listed as they align to Common Core Standards. Older TwHP lessons will be analyzed and included in the CC index page over time, as part of an on-going project to align our pre-Common Core curricula to the standards.

All lessons are based on sites listed in the National Register of Historic Places, which include historic units of the National Park System, National Historic Landmarks, and places with state and local significance. Lessons plans that feature units of the National Park System, National Historic Landmarks, and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Sites are noted in each categorized index. National Historic Landmarks are nationally significant historic places designated by the Secretary of the Interior because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States. Designated by the World Heritage Committee, UNESCO World Heritage Sites are cultural and natural heritage sites around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.

We welcome your comments and suggestions on how you've used the lesson plans, what's good about them, and how they could be improved.

Last updated: December 29, 2016

Experience More