Lesson Plan for The Age of Imperialism

"The Age of Imperialism" unit combines an engaging narrative with the broad resources available to students on the Internet. You can use this chapter in place of a standard textbook treatment of nineteenth-century American expansionism, or you can use it to supplement your existing Social Studies materials. The following lesson plan helps you establish and extend historical and instructional contexts and integrate the material into your United States history curriculum.

"The Age of Imperialism" remains a work in progress. If you would like to contribute ideas and suggestions, please contact us by e-mail at planet@smplanet.com.


Outline

Objectives

Setting the Context

Online History

Enrichment Activities

Unit Wrap-Up

Unit Test


Objectives

As a result of completing this unit, students will be able to...

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Setting the Context

Students will need to understand the following basic concepts as a context for their study of U.S. imperialism. They will probably already have studied most or all of these concepts earlier in the school year. However, you may wish to review the topics below before students begin exploring the online history.

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Online History

Click here to go to the table of contents for The Age of Imperialism.

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Enrichment Activities

Sensational Journalism

Screaming newspaper headlines about the situation in Cuba in the 1890s helped fan the flames of war by influencing public opinion in the United States. Students have no doubt seen other headlines aimed at selling newspapers—rather than telling honest stories—at newsstands and in supermarket checkout lines. Students could research some of the headlines and stories published in the World and the Journal in the 1890s and compare these with the headlines found in modern tabloid papers. How are they similar and/or different? Are any stories more or less harmful than others? Students may discuss their findings in small groups or prepare reports to share with the whole class.

Social Darwinism: Reason or Rationalization?

Some Americans who supported the policy of expansionism justified their views with the theory of Social Darwinism. Click on the link below to go to a critical thinking activity on this topic, which you may want to print out and distribute to students.

Social Darwinism Activity

Nation of Hawai'i

Interested students can research the recent movement for Hawaiian independence. They could start their research on the Internet, at the Hawai'i: Independent & Sovereign Nation-State home page. After conducting their research, students might form teams to debate whether Hawaiian independence in the 1990s is a good idea.

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Unit Wrap-Up

At the close of the unit, you may wish to bring the whole class together for a wrap-up discussion. The following questions can serve as a guide for the discussion.

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Unit Test

We've created a Unit Test for "The Age of Imperialism." There's also an Answer Key to assist your assessment.


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