Bicentennial Education Initiative - Maine Memory Network

Bicentennial Lesson Plans Bicentennial Lesson Plans

Bringing the Bicentennial to Life in Your Classroom

New lesson plans and resources will continue to be added to this page on a regular basis. Check back for more lesson plans throughout 2020!

These lesson plans provide teachers and students with diverse subject matters for each Social Studies strand, and promote critical thinking as students interact with primary documents, oral histories, and the treaties, choices, industries, and influential people who populate Maine's storied past.

Maine Historical Society's lesson plans are designed for K-12 classroom teachers and include curated online image slideshows from the collections within Maine Memory Network to facilitate teaching and learning.

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Featured Bicentennial Themed Lesson Plans


Lesson Plan

Bicentennial Lesson Plan

Primary Sources: Daily Life in 1820

Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12 Content Area: Social Studies
This lesson plan will give students the opportunity to explore and analyze primary source documents from the years before, during, and immediately after Maine became the 23rd state in the Union. Through close looking at documents, objects, and art from Maine during and around 1820, students will ask questions and draw informed conclusions about life at the time of statehood.

Lesson Plan

Bicentennial Lesson Plan

Primary Sources: Healthcare History in Maine

Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12 Content Area: Social Studies
This lesson plan will give students the opportunity to read and analyze letters, literature, and other primary documents and articles of material culture from the MHS collections relating to how people in Maine have given and received healthcare throughout history. Students will discuss the giving and receiving of medicines and treatments from the 18th-21st centuries, the evolving role of hospitals since the 19th century, and how the nursing profession has changed since the Civil War. Students will also look at how people and healthcare facilities in Maine have addressed epidemics in the past, such as influenza and tuberculosis, and what we can learn today from studying the history of healthcare and medicine.

Lesson Plan

Bicentennial Lesson Plan

Nation to Nation: Treaties and Legislation between the Wabanaki Nations and the State of Maine

Grade Level: 9-12 Content Area: Social Studies
This lesson plan asks high school students to think critically about and look closely at documentation regarding the Nation-to-Nation relationship between Maine (and the United States) and the Wabanaki peoples living within the drawn boundaries of the state over the last 400 years. This lesson asks students to participate in discussions about morality and legislative actions over time. Students will gain experience examining and responding to primary and secondary sources by looking at colonial treaties and proclamations, and legislative acts in the 20th and 21st centuries including the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act and the 21st century legal cases that the act spurred.

Lesson Plan

Bicentennial Lesson Plan

Out of Ash

Grade Level: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12 Content Area: Science & Engineering, Social Studies
This lesson plan will give middle and high school students a broad overview of America’s ash tree population, the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) threatening it, and the importance of the ash tree to the Wabanaki people in Maine. Students will look at Maine’s geological/glacial beginnings as well as Wabanaki oral histories for a general understanding of how the ash tree came to be a significant part of Maine’s environmental history. Students will compare national measures to combat the EAB to the Wabanaki-led Ash Task Force’s approaches in Maine, will discuss the benefits and challenges of biological control of invasive species, the concept of climigration, and how research scientists arrive at best practices for aiding the environment.

Lesson Plan

Bicentennial Lesson Plan

Stewarding Maine's Natural Resources

Grade Level: 3-5 Content Area: Science & Engineering, Social Studies
This lesson plan will introduce elementary-grade students to the concepts and importance of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and Indigenous Knowledge (IK), taught and understood through oral history to generations of Wabanaki peoples. Through learning about important figures in the region’s history – including Molly Ockett (Pigwacket, ca. 1740-1816) and David Moses Bridges (Passamaquoddy, 1962-2017) – as well as the rivers, forests, animals, and coastline that define the ecology of the region, students will engage in discussions about how humans can be stewards of the local ecosystem and how non-Native Maine citizens can listen to, learn from, and amplify the voices of Wabanaki neighbors to assist in the future of a sustainable environment.

Lesson Plan

Bicentennial Lesson Plan

Becoming Maine: The District of Maine's Coastal Economy

Grade Level: 3-5 Content Area: Social Studies
This lesson plan will introduce students to the maritime economy of Maine prior to statehood and to the Coasting Law that impacted the separation debate. Students will examine primary documents, take part in an activity that will put the Coasting Law in the context of late 18th century – early 19th century New England, and learn about how the Embargo Act of 1807 affected Maine in the decades leading to statehood.

Please continue to check this page as more lesson plans are added during our commemoration of the bicentennial. For more information, if you have questions or comments, or if you would like to have one of these lesson plans piloted in your classroom by an MHS educator, please contact MHS Bicentennial Education Fellow Brittany Cook.

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