Lesson Plan: School Then and Now Lesson Plan G 3

Written By: Tim Deyle
Grade Level: 3

Time Allotment

Two 90 minute lessons


After reading In The Prairie, a story in the students’ reading curriculum, the teacher will borrow a portable chalkboard to show the class the difference between a chalk board and the marker boards we use today. Students will brainstorm a Venn diagram of what we know about school in the early 1900’s and school today, this will be added to each day during our Then and Now reading unit. Students will view the video clips; One Room School House ‐ Parts 2, 3 and 4. Students will view photos of early one room school houses in the early 1900. Make a time line plotting important dates for Horace Mann, the leader of education, who fought for educating everyone. This led to the creation of one room school houses. Invite a person who went to school in a one room school house to come and talk to the class about what it was like.

Subject Matter

Social Studies, English Language Arts

Learning Objectives

  • Students will be able to compare and contrast as well as complete a Venn diagram on a one room school house to a school of today.
  • Students will read using new vocabulary and comprehension for stories about early prairie life, Horace Mann, a one room school house, as well as when and why the citizens of Fargo decided to start the first school all from the LbD Reading
  • Curriculum and the third grade Fargo Unit. Students will read about Horace Mann and complete a time line of important dates in his contribution to education.
  • Students will demonstrate understanding and communicate new information by writing, speaking, and listening.


  • Video Clips From NDStudies - One Room School House Part 2, Part 3and Part 4. Video shows students in the early 1900’s during the school day.
  • Photos from NDStudies Concern Center on One Room School. Photos are of early schools, and one room school houses in North Dakota, as well as captions describing the need for a community High School.
  • Chalk/ Chalkboard
  • Marker board/Marker
  • Venn diagram
  • Time line
  • Computer with Internet
  • Interactive Whiteboard
  • Student Fargo Booklet
  • Student LbD Language Arts Hard Cover book
  • Speaker
  • LbD Reading Textbook
  • Fargo Unit Booklet (Social Studies Curriculum)
  • Pencil
  • Paper

Teacher Preparation

  • View clips and photos on NDStudies, Bookmark BOTH titles from above on the computer.
  • Make sure students have curriculum books, Venn diagram and timeline sheets,
  • Get computer with internet. Have computer set up with the website and ready for student viewing on the interactive whiteboard.
  • Get portable chalkboard and chalk

Introductory Activities

  • Chalkboard
  • Chalk
  • Marker
  • Student Texts
  1. Show and demonstrate for students the chalkboard and chalk compared to the whiteboard and markers in their classroom.
  2. Read and discuss In the Prairie from the LbD Reading textbook. It is a story about a girl traveling west (North Dakota) with her pioneer family in the 1920’s to start a new life.

Learning Activities

  • Computer
  • Internet
  • Interactive Whiteboard
  • Textbook
  • LbD text
  • Timeline Sheet
  • Venn Diagram
Day One
  1. Give each student a Venn diagram sheet.
  2. Brainstorm similarities’ and differences about schools from the early 1900’s and today
  3. Tell students we will add to our Venn diagram each day during the unit.
  4. Show the three part video clip and discuss
  5. Add to the Venn diagram any new information
  6. Read and discuss the article about Horace Mann in the LbD textbook
  7. Students work in a group of four to create a timeline showing the important dates of his contribution in education.
Day Two
  1. Read and discuss A One Room School House from the students’ LbD textbook. This story continues the story of the pioneer girl starting school in a one room school house.
  2. Add to Venn diagram
  3. Show students and discuss the photos from the Concern Center on One Room School article from website. Read picture captions to students stressing the need for a community High School.
  4. Read We Need A School, from the Fargo Studies unit and discuss the reasons behind the when and why the citizens of Fargo needed to start a school.
  5. Students work in pairs to brainstorm and write five questions to ask guest speaker.
  6. Share the questions each pair of students wrote, and as a class choose one question for each pair of students to ask the Guest Speaker.

Culminating Activity

  • Guest speaker
  1. Have Guest speaker who attended one room schoolhouse come in and speak to the students.