Center for the Teaching of History

Classroom Resources

Founding Fathers & Their Families

Abigail Adams, The Writer: "my pen is always freer than my tongue"

Level: High School

Subject: English

Using Abigail Adams's correspondence and diaries, students will explore primary source documents to learn about the historical, cultural, and ethical role of women in early America.

John Adams's Views on Citizenship: Lesson for Contemporary America

Level: High School

Subject: United States History

Engage students in an exploration of John Adams’s thinking about the rights and responsibilities of citizens in a republic.

Adams Family Foreign Policy: Letters and Diaries from Europe

Level: High School

Subject: United States History

Investigate the political lives of three generations of Adams family members and their combined efforts in the realm of American foreign policy between 1781 and 1863.

John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and the Birth of Party Politics in America

Level: High School

Subject: United States History

Learn how the Federalist and Republican parties, represented by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, were founded, what they believed, and their struggle for the hearts and minds of the American people.

John Quincy Adams: One President's Adolescence

Level: High School

Subject: United States History

Read Adams family letters and diaries spanning the years 1773 to 1782, a crucial time in the life of both young John Quincy Adams and of the young republic.

The Adams Family of Massachusetts: A Legacy of Justice in Action

Level: Elementary & Middle School

Subject: United States History

Help students learn to use primary sources as they discover John Adams’s philosophy of justice by unraveling the events leading up to the Boston Massacre, and explore the life of John Quincy Adams and his work against slavery.

Era of the American Revolution

From Tea to Shing Sea: The Boston Tea Party

Level: High School

Subject: United States History & Economics

Investigate primary source documents to discern the different economic, political, and social factors that created the tension leading up to the Boston Tea Party.

The Siege of Boston

Level: High School

Subject: United States History

Examine primary sources in order to better understand daily life for civilians and soldiers during the Siege of Boston, 19 April 1775—17 March 1776.

Abigail's War: The American Revolution through the Eyes of Abigail Adams

Level: Elementary School

Subject: United States History, Math, Language Arts

This activity book, based on letters exchanged between John and Abigail Adams, promotes writing and mathematical skills at the same time as it helps students relate to the world of the American Revolution.

Johnny Tremain and the Members of the Long-Room Club

Level: Middle School

Subject: United States History, Language Arts

Students will become familiar with Boston in the 1770s, and, using primary sources, discover what really happened at the Boston Tea Party. This series of lessons centers around the characters in Esther Forbes's novel Johnny Tremain, comparing them to members of the Long Room Club, the actual group on which Forbes's Boston Observers were based.

Slavery and Antislavery

Creative Collaborators and Communicators: Abolitionists and Their Propaganda

Level: Middle School

Subject: United States History

Evaluate various types of antislavery propaganda (including images, artifacts, letters, speeches, poems, and other published works) in order to become familiar with the techniques that abolitionists used to share their messages.

Civil War

To Arms! Civil War Recruiting in Massachusetts

Level: Middle School

Subject: United States History

This primary source set allows students to investigate recruiting broadsides and images from the early years of the Civil War.