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2023 Lesson Plans


Fifty years before the Montgomery Bus Boycott, African Americans in Houston, Texas fought back against segregated transportation. In this inquiry students will examine a variety of primary sources to explore the successes and failures of the 1903-04 streetcar boycott in Houston.

Jonathan Bryant, Northside High School


Starting with the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, this lesson examines the economic, social, and political effects of Reconstruction policies on formerly enslaved people. The resources include graphic organizers and other student aids, making it easily accessible to middle school students.

Nathan Merz, Pink Oak Middle School

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Houston's historic Black neighborhoods have a long history of community and culture dating back to the Reconstruction era. This lesson plan asks students to explore Houston's Third and Fifth Wards, seeing historic schools, Black-owned businesses, and neighborhood institutions that knit the community together despite the restrictions of Jim Crow.

Joseph Morin, Houston Academy for International Studies

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Ask your students what they know about Martin Luther King, Jr. and many will immediately say "the March on Washington" and "non-violent protest." But that fails to encompass the full scope of King's beliefs and actions. This lesson asks students to consider King over the course of his career and note how his views evolved along with the rest of the Civil Rights Movement.

Alan Heise, Bellaire High School


Go beyond "traditional" narratives of school desegregation to explore the complicated ways that Mexican Americans challenged their own marginalization in states across the Southwest. This lesson uses a mixture of primary and secondary sources to explore cases such as Mendez v. Westminster and the role that organizations such as LULAC played in pushing for educational opportunities for Mexican American students.

Christine McDaniel, Chrysalis Middle School


Representative democracy in the United States has played a key role in the way that the government has institutionalized and evolved policies of settler-colonialism towards Indigenous groups. In this lesson, students will study this institutionalization through the analysis of maps and other primary sources to see how settler-colonialism evolved in the U.S. system. 

Jennifer Lankau Chase, Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts

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One of the first recorded cases of reparations for slavery in the U.S. was to former slave Belinda Royall in 1783 in the form of a pension. Reparations policies have continued to be proposed but none have passed due to political controversy. In this inquiry, students will explore the history of Reconstruction and its legacy to determine why reparations to the decedents of the formerly enslaved in the U.S. remain controversial.

Iesha Washington, Key Middle School

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In 1956, President Eisenhower signed the National Interstate and Defense Highway Act, creating the roadways that connect major cities and facilitating the expansion of the suburbs. But what was the impact of this construction on America's urban core and the communities that live there? This lesson explores Houston in the post-World War II era as Interstates 45 and 10 begin to carve up the city.

Karen Paskos, South Early College High School


The Settlement House Movement is one of the key reforms of the Progressive Era in U.S. history. But how effective were these reformers in their work with the immigrant communities in America's cities? This lesson explores the movement with an emphasis on how reformers worked with Houston's early 20th century immigrant population.

Nathalia Rojas, Energy Institute High School


How did African American artists in the Harlem Renaissance and Present Raise Awareness in Their Time?

Artists have always felt compelled to speak to the challenges of their time. Parallels can easily be made between the artists of the Harlem Renaissance and the present. In this lesson, students explore the perspectives including Josephine Baker and Zora Neale Hurston and compare their views on activism to artists in the present. 

Margaret Coleman, Madison High School


In 1917 was a critical year for the U.S. in the First World War... but the U.S. entry into the conflict overshadows important effects on the home front. At the center of these forgotten changes is the impact of the Mexican Revolution on the borderlands, resulting in harsh crackdowns  and violence towards Mexicans and Mexican Americans. This lesson explores one important act of resistance- the Bath Riots of 1917- through perspectives in newspapers and images.

Mario Martinez, Waltrip High School

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Ethnic Studies courses go beyond simply the study of history to include considerations of arts and culture across time periods. This lesson asks students to examine music and dance during the Civil Rights Movement period and to consider how artistic expression responds to and sparks social change.

Jasmine Hamilton, Young Women's College Prep Academy


Since the 1960s, activists and institutions have sought policies to address historic inequalities. Affirmative Action policies were intended to account for systemic racism and to level the playing field but have been challenged by opponents since their beginning. In this lesson, students will explore the history of affirmative action policies and racism to better understand the ongoing debate about how to make the U.S. system more fair.

Jeffrey Plastrik, Madison High School

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Stories of early 20th century immigration often focus on the people who came through Ellis Island and settled in New York City. However, lost to history are those who moved through other port immigration hubs including Galveston, Texas. This inquiry lesson explores the experiences of Jewish immigrants who immigrated to Texas and asks students to evaluate the successes and failures of their resettlement.

Casey Mumpire, Madison High School

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