History Through Opposing Eyes: America and Protest

Great changes and events in history have often started with protest. From town hall meetings and rallies to demonstrations and war, protest has instigated change in our society. The lessons in this unit will help students compare and contrast different methods of protest and understand protest as a part of American history. Students will analyze how political cartoons work to convey messages and how organizing peacefully can often lead to change.

Lesson 1: The Art of Protesting

This lesson introduces students to protest and begins with students unknowingly staging a spontaneous mini-protest of their own! Students will study protest vocabulary, use the vocabulary to analyze images of protest, and give a short presentation based on their analysis. This lesson also includes an optional protest crossword puzzle activity.

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Lesson 2: America Established Because of Protest

The American colonists used protest to resist British rule in the late 1700s. In this lesson, students will use five examples of colonial resistance to interpret the events that led up to the American Revolution. In small groups, students will analyze one of the five protests and then prepare oral presentations based on their analysis. This lesson encourages creativity through the design of costumes and other visual aids.

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Lesson 3: Cartoons and Protest

Political cartoons are popular forms of protest. In this lesson, students will study political cartoons dating from the time of the American Revolution to the 21st century. They will analyze political messages in the cartoons by examining the cartoon’s images, words, symbols, and the background of the cartoonist. Students will then create their own political cartoons to protest an issue of their choosing.

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Lesson 4: Demonstrating Our Rights

Help students discover their potential power to make a difference. During this lesson, students will study how organizing peacefully can lead to change. Students will demonstrate their knowledge by organizing and carrying out an actual protest or demonstration. Students will prepare for their demonstration by asking: What are we protesting? What tools should we use? How do we present our views to others? How do we effectively argue against the views of the opposing side?

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Women’s March in Grant Park