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American History - Connecting to the Past

Connecting to the Past - American History

These classroom activities were developed in collaboration between primary and secondary teachers, Ohio State University faculty and Ohio History Connection public historians. They were created during a professional development program called Connecting to the Past which was funded by the U.S. Department of Education Teaching American History grant. The lessons integrate a variety of primary sources that can be used in classrooms with various degrees of available technology.
There are a variety of activities here. Some will take an entire class period or more. Others are short exercises that can be easily integrated into existing lessons and provide teachers with the opportunity to illustrate history through the use of primary material.
All the activities promote historical inquiry and analysis and they are flexible so as to be helpful to a range of age and developmental groups. They can be used immediately by downloading or printing the material provided.

Lesson Plans:

Grade 2

African Slave Trade:

The Constitution: A Second Grade Lesson - Grade 2

The Lewis and Clark Expedition: 

Grade 4


Grade 5

African Slave Trade:


Cahokia & Mississippian Native Culture - Grade 5

Diarists on the Ohio Frontier - Grade 5

The Progression of Transportation in Ohio and the West - Grade 5

The Underground Railroad and the Fugitive Slave Act - Grade 5


Grade 6

American Revolution:


Grade 7


Grade 8


Canal Versus National Road - Grade 8

Cold Case: The Lost Colony - Grade 8

John Winthrop and the Puritans - Grade 8

Native American Cultures - Grade 8

Shay's Rebellion - Grade 8


Multiple Grade Levels:

Debating the Constitution - Grade undesignated
Students and the Supreme Court - Grade undesignated

Worksheets that can be used to analyze primary sources: