Lesson Plans

Free lesson plans for teaching in a climate of classroom censorship

Check out lesson plans for culturally sustaining instruction to prepare students for a strong future in diverse communities.

Here you can get over 120 lesson plans, instructional best practices and historical resources to support you in delivering culturally-sustaining classroom lessons. See a PDF list the available resources or use the search tools at the right.

In addition to the curated resources, IDRA has a set of innovative original classroom lessons using a new America Is Me (AIM) framework for teaching intercultural skills: solidarity, social awareness, social-emotional wellness, sociocultural exchange, and social change. These skills are transferable across academic content areas. The AIM lessons also include modifications for emergent bilingual learners (English learners).

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Emmett Till was a 14-year-old African-American boy from Chicago, Illinois who went to visit his family in Mississippi in 1955 before the start of a new school year. In this lesson, students will view videos to hear eyewitness accounts of what occurred while he was visiting with them, from working in the cotton fields, to the fateful trip into Money, Mississippi. Students will learn about the timeline of events, how they unfolded and the subsequent trial for the men involved. Students will also consider the impact this had on the Civil Rights movement and the legacy.

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For this lesson, students will read the picture book entitled Juneteenth: Our Day of Freedom. They will learn why the Juneteenth holiday is celebrated. Important information retelling the story of June 19, 1865, the aftermath of freed people, plus the celebrations of past and present are told in the text. Comprehension questions and a vocabulary list are included for teacher discussion. The Student Worksheet Packet includes activity worksheets to correspond with the book and include a: crossword puzzle, map skills and a timeline.

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Explore the extraordinary achievements of Guion Stewart Bluford and other pioneering African American astronauts with this engaging lesson plan. Designed for educators seeking to inspire students with stories of perseverance and accomplishment, this resource provides a comprehensive overview of Bluford’s journey to becoming the first African American in space. Through multimedia presentations, interactive discussions, and hands-on activities, students will delve into Bluford’s remarkable career, uncovering the challenges he overcame and the groundbreaking contributions he made to space exploration. By highlighting Bluford’s experiences, educators can spark meaningful conversations about diversity, inclusion, and the limitless possibilities of STEM careers.

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This teaching resource from Junior Scholastic covers the inspiring story of Mary Beth Tinker, a student who fought for free speech in schools. The package includes a detailed lesson plan, a quiz, a skills sheet, and a video. These materials provide educators with tools to engage students in learning about Tinker’s landmark case and its impact on First Amendment rights, encouraging critical thinking and discussion on the importance of free speech. Teaching Resources are located at the bottom of the page.

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This website offers educators valuable resources and tools to explore the life and impact of Emma Tenayuca, a Mexican American labor leader and civil rights activist. An evolving list of historical context, related curriculum, and multimedia content is provided to help students understand Tenayuca’s role in labor movements and her contributions to social justice. A featured short film (in English or with Spanish subtitles) by Anne Lewis is available to watch for free with an email signup.

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This lesson plan, provided by The New York Times, explores the concept of freedom of speech as protected by the First Amendment. Students will examine the scope and limitations of these protections through engaging activities and discussions. They will analyze landmark Supreme Court cases, explore current events, and debate real-world scenarios to understand how free speech rights are upheld and where they may be limited. By the end of the lesson, students will have a deeper appreciation for the complexities of the First Amendment and the balance between protecting free expression and maintaining public order.

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After the end of the Civil War, many cities in the South and around the country erected statues honoring leaders of the Confederacy. Recently because of their ties to slavery and secession, there has been a call for these statues and monuments to be removed or relocated. This lesson looks at how history is interpreted differently by various groups and in different time periods. Specifically, it has students answer the question “What should be done about statues honoring Confederate leaders on public lands?”

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This lesson plan is designed to educate students about implicit bias, the unconscious attitudes and stereotypes that influence our understanding, actions and decisions. Through engaging activities and discussions, students explore the concept of implicit bias, its impact on individuals and society, and strategies for recognizing and addressing it. By fostering awareness, empathy and critical thinking, the lesson aims to empower students to challenge prejudice, promote diversity and build a more just and inclusive society.

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Students will analyze and interpret the cover of the issue of The New Yorker magazine published immediately following 9/11. Students will consider different perspectives of covering a tragic event and evaluate the decision made by The New Yorker after 9/11.

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This lesson plan delves into the life and activism of Alexei Navalny, a prominent Russian opposition leader, anti-corruption activist, and critic of President Vladimir Putin. Through a series of engaging activities and discussions, students will explore key topics around Navalny’s life. Activism, dissent, civil rights, human rights and social justice are all covered in this current events lesson.

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This comprehensive lesson plan from PBS NewsHour Classroom offers educators a robust framework to teach students about the January 6 hearings. The guide includes detailed resources to help students understand the events surrounding the Capitol riot, the subsequent hearings, and their implications for U.S. democracy. Key features of this lesson plan include: lesson plans for each day of the hearings, a timeline, key terms and activities. This educational resource aims to equip students with the knowledge and critical thinking skills necessary to analyze current events and understand their historical significance.

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Our free, five-lesson curriculum on the Arab-Israeli conflict explores the history of the conflict and peace process. With an emphasis on primary sources, ICS’s resources are teacher-friendly and formatted to be easily implemented in the classroom. Below, you will find digital resources as well as downloadable PDFs and supplementary resources. Through our curriculum, we hope to spark an open discussion amongst students and their teachers about this important part of world history. By teaching your students about the Arab-Israeli conflict, students will become more knowledgeable global citizens and gain confidence in following current world issues

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