Lesson Plan: iHistory...an Event!

Written By: Jocelyn Anderson
Grade Level: 7-8

Time Allotment

parts of many class periods, at home work, and an afternoon for the Event


Students will research an American history maker, gather a costume...which includes a historically accurate hat/headgear, create a tri-fold board, and “be in character” for a culminating event. JocelynAnderson

Subject Matter

American history, language arts, technology, art, social studies

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:
  • gather and organize pertinent information about their chosen American history maker
  • share their historical knowledge, in first person and with a tri-fold board and iMovie presentation
  • gather...find, beg, borrow! a costume, that includes some sort of historically accurate headgear!
  • create an accurate/attractive tri-fold board
  • evaluate the significant events of their person’s life
  • using the context of their chosen historical person, make connections about the historical era of that person’s life...the 1920’s or the Civil War Era, etc.
  • produce an iMovie on their chosen historical history maker covering important aspects of their person and their historical era

Media Components - Video/Web

Because this in a final project for the American history classes, many and various video clips have been shown throughout the school year. I always make it a practice to point out the historically accurate clothing, sets, hair design, etc. I also engage the students in making connections to their textbook.
  • America The Story of Us (The History Channel) clips were shown when they pertained.
  • Many Learn 360 (PBS) clips throughout the year were shown also
  • American Experience (PBS)
  • Ken Burns America (PBS)
  • New Dimensions Media….on many historical topics.


Each student has an school issued iPad.

Teacher Preparation

  1. Weekly assignments that break up the research into segments like fashion and clothing, inventions, medical advances, political happenings, wars, etc. of the era chosen (Civil War era, Revolutionary War era, 1930’s, etc)
  2. reserve the Event location...school gym
  3. notify parents of the Event by way of a letter sent home
  4. secure judges and prizes, etc. (rubric for judging, medals for awards)
  5. create assessment rubrics for the Event...costume and tri-fold board, distributed to the students

Introductory Activities

I visited with my classes about this project from time to time during the school year. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, we got serious. We reviewed our American history topics/people and discussed possibilities and what would be included and expected. Each student could pick an American history maker, but not a President. Students were not allowed to pick the same person as a classmate.

Learning Activities

  1. weekly assignments that require saved screens on their iPads that documented their research...to be later incorporated into their iMovie
  2. after getting their historical person approved, they needed to start research. We started with fashion and clothing of their chosen era (assuming that historical costumes could be a bit challenging!)
  3. we moved on to inventions and medical advances of the various eras of their selected person they had picked.
  4. political happenings (ratifying the Constitution, the Civil War, the Great Depression, etc.) were detailed according to each student’s person and era
  5. music, culture, art, of the eras were included in the research
  6. later assignments/activities included practicing talking “in first person” about their person’s life’s happenings (birth, education, significant events, contributions, etc)
  7. the students created digital invitations to send out to family and friends for email or social media…this was a great photography component!
  8. creating an attractive tri fold was discussed, (titles, pictures, timelines, borders) possible artifacts to have on display, (newspapers, books, etc)
  9. if their era was more recent, students were encouraged to talk to older people who live through that era.

Culminating Activity

iHistory Day (2-3 hours) is the culminiating activity
On a personal note, our iHistory Day was an amazing day with lots of excitement in the air.The students had amazing costumes with amazing detail in hats, shoes, and hair. The tri-fold boards were wonderful combinations of the American history maker facts and that person’s historical era. The students had amazing artifacts: books, flags, planes, maps, sports equipment. Outside judging and awards happened. I used the assessment rubric that students had for gradebook purposes. Our day included guest appearances from Stonewall Jackson, Betsy Ross, Charles Lindbergh, Jack London, Emily Dickinson, Susan B Anthony, Meriwether Lewis, Harriet Beecher Stowe, John Smith, Rosie, the Riveter (an icon from WWII), Amelia Earhart, Louis Gehrig, Billy Sunday, Mrs. Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Douglas MacArthur Norman Rockwell, Sakakawea, etc.

Cross-Curricular Activity

The students used many skills like researching a topic, person, and era, photography, planning, keeping up with deadlines, language arts in regard to presenting their material on their tri-fold board correctly, and the language arts teacher facilitated the students getting their bibliography and citations correct.

Community Connections

  • Many students spent time with grandparents doing primary research or getting help for a costume. Some family members dug out old newspapers and uniforms from WWII.
  • Many parents and family friends came for our Event.
  • I received wonderful feedback from parents and the students too.
  • Other classes from our school attended too.
  • Our judges were community members, like our Minot mayor, a local archaeologist, a retired history teacher who had previously been in our classroom for other activities. Minot Daily covered the Event also.