Harlem Hellfighters and the post-WWI African American Experience in America

This lesson is designed to give students an opportunity to use perspective taking to write journal entries as an African American soldier who has returned to America after fighting in WWI and is experiencing all the racial unrest that occurred in the years afterwards. The lesson explores the Harlem Hellfighters, the Red Summer, W.E.B Dubois writings, the Memorandum for the Chief of Staff regarding Employment of Negro Man Power in War, and more.

Ending WWII: Japan vs. U.S.

In this lesson, students construct a debate based on evidence from primary and secondary source documents.
Students will be tasked to debate for the PRO or CON side, using sources provided. Students will either defend or argue against the following statement:

Was the U.S. justified in dropping the atomic bombs on Japan?

See complete details and instruction in the link below!
This Sway!

Ending WWII: Japan vs. U.S.
By Nicole Matier
Go to this Sway


Native Americans, American Mythology and Westward Expansion

This lesson was designed for a high school class going over Western Expansion. In particular, this lesson will be used to teach students on the plights of the Native Americans of the time and the attitudes towards Native Americans as well as the mythology that steeped the old west. 

This lesson would be in the middle of our westward expansion movement and would cover conflicts with Native Americans as well as a broad overview of the movement westward. I feel that this adds a new layer onto existing lessons which typically focus on the wagons trains and settlers moving west rather than talking about what happened to the people that lived there in the first place.

This lesson was created using Edpuzzle by inserting a crash course on western expansion and littering it with open ended questions both on the movement west and the treatment of Native Americans. The lesson follows the crash course and asks open ended questions in intervals throughout the video. This allows students to follow the video and answer question simultaneously. 

Students will be answering the following questions:

  1. How do you think the west was mythologized? does it continue today?
  2. What was the promise of moving westward?
  3. What is one reason Green cites as being a point of conflict between the Native Americans and settlers?
  4. Was Native American resistance purely violent? What was formed around 1890 as a form of resistance?
  5. What was a key point of the Dawes Act? Was this a common theme in American’s views on Native Americans?
  6. How did the US government set to assimilate the Native Americans?
  7. What is partial responsible for the image of the cowboy and why?

I really like the idea of Edpuzzle as it adds an interesting dynamic to watching videos in the class by allowing teachers to pose questions during the video itself. I think this is a vast improvement over giving a study guide and simply watching videos and answering questions. It allows students to take apart the video at their leisure which is a vast change from  the “you missed it, move on” model of watching videos in a classroom usually.  

Sourcing: The Power of Myth

Essential Question:
Can we use Myths, Legends and/or stories as sources when studying history?

The audience would be a 9th grade MWH class.

I would run this lesson early in the year as as introduction to sourcing non-traditional source material. Students would consider Myth and Legend as a possible historical source. Students will examine oral history, and the challenges that come with transcription, exaggeration and allegory.

Materials: TedED video, The science behind the myth: Homer’s “Odyssey”. Youtube video Densho Oral History, Kara Kondo. Map with markers at Mt. Etna, ‘Pluto’s Gate”, Crimea.


Class will start with a the watching of a brief video.

The first question students will be asked is, is this history? What separates a story from history? What are some questions we have to keep in mind with oral history?

The teacher will than tell a brief family story. Following this students will be asked to write a brief story from their own lives, or family. Students will than share this story with a partner, if they feel comfortable. Several students will have the opportunity to share. Questions following this will be, can we learn anything about the time from these stories? Are stories ever exaggerated? Do stories we tell always mirror reality?

The TedED video will be briefly introduced, with some background on Homer. The class will watch the video.

The science behind the Odyssey

Questions following the video: Why do you think this story would have any importance to the Greeks? What are they trying to remember? Based off what you have seen, do you think Myth’s have any value to the historian?

Following this the class will break into groups, for each of the areas with a pin on the map there shall be several passages from Myth, taken from, Travelling Heroes : In the Epic Age of Homer, students will contrast these myths with our modern knowledge of the areas to make connections or an argument against these myths having basis in geographical reality.