Learning and Human Development


Attachments to Microsoft Word copies of the following lesson plans: Lessonplan1, Final lesson plan 


Lesson Plan: Cultural Interaction Between Spain and the New World

Class: 6th Grade SS; Class time: 42 Minutes



Students will be able to:

  • List two factors that allowed Cortés to conquer the Aztecs (creation myth, disease)
  • List two major differences in the cultures of the Aztecs and the Spanish (religion, technology)

SOL Objectives: USI.4b

Students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of European (Spanish) exploration in North America by describing cultural interactions between Europeans and American Indians (First Americans) that led to cooperation and conflict.

NCSS Standards:

  • I. Culture and Cultural Diversity 
  • II. Time, Continuity and Change 
  • IX. Global Connections 

Prior Information Needed:

  • Early explorers and the countries they represent 
  • Reasons for explorations, and results of European exploration (particularly Columbus) 
  • Spread of Catholicism by Spanish missionaries in the New World 

Skills Needed:

  • Ability to analyze primary and secondary source images 
    • Will provide class with pictures accompanied with leading questions about Aztec culture. 
    • Will direct them to pictures in their textbook that has pictures about Spanish interpretation of Aztec towns, and interaction between Aztecs and Spanish 

Information to be Taken from Lesson:

  • Ability to determine what characteristics of the Aztecs weakened them to Cortes’ crew 
  • Determining the contrast in the culture of Spain and the Aztecs 

Key Terms:

  • Covet 
  • Artisan 
  • Immunity 

Key People:

  • Moctezuma II
  • Cortez
  • Cuauhtemoc

Teaching Strategies

  • Pictures (visual, logical, interpersonal intelligences) 
  • Anticipation Guide (intrapersonal, interpersonal, logical) 

Materials Needed for Lesson

  • Projector which can be hooked up to a computer 
  • Textbooks for every student (A History of the US: The First Americans) 
  • Internet connection 
  • Anticipation Guide Handout with copy of Aztec Creation Myth 

Setup for Class:

Have first image loaded on the computer so that it can be loaded by just turning on the projector. The other images will be minimized, so it will only take seconds to load them on the screen.

Introduction to the Lesson:

Anticipation Guide: (15 minutes)

Every Student will have a copy of a short, easy to read version of the Aztec creation myth

Task: I will read aloud the Aztec creation myth-I will be the one reading it because of the long, hard to pronounce names. (3/15 minutes).  I will then ask the leading questions on the anticipation guide, stopping after each to provoke a first thought idea of why the story may be relevant to how Cortes and his crew were able to conquer the Aztecs.(this will take up the final 12 minutes of the anticipation guide).  Anticipation guide will also have conclusion questions on the same sheet.

Transition to next activity:

I will load the picture on the projector, while the other students will be turning to pages 105 and 106 in their textbook. (2minutes)

Second Activity: Images (15 minutes)

On the projector will be the first image.  This will be the Aztec image of human sacrifice.  With this picture, I will ask the students, what they think this is an image of.  If they are uncertain, I will nudge them to look back to the creation myth. This should take 1-3 minutes for the answer to be found.  Once the question is answered, I will ask them to think of how the Spanish would have seen this ritual.  If the creation myth question is answered quickly, I will give the students a couple of minutes to think about the answer (and writing it down).  If the first question takes a few moments, then it will be instantly discussed. (This picture should take 5-7 minutes)

            I will then refer the class to the picture on page 105, which is a picture of American Indians sick with smallpox.  Questions for this image: 1.  Based on what we know of Columbus’s voyage, what illness might the Aztecs have here? 2.  How might this have affected their population? 3.  Why did the Spanish not get smallpox?—On question three, I want will guide them to use the word “immunity” in the answer. (This picture should take 3-5 minutes)

            I will then refer the students to the image on page 106 in their book (picture attached).  Questions for Image three: 1.  What is being portrayed in this picture? 2.  What is the difference in attire between the two groups?  3.  What is the difference in weaponry between the two groups?  4.  Who would this give the advantage to in battle? –I will not necessarily make them use the word technology with this image, but will emphasize it when I get an answer close to it.  (Approximately 5 minutes.)

Transition to next activity:

Have students get their anticipation guide handout back out.  (<1minute)

Third Activity/Conclusion: (12 minutes)

Students will begin working on the after part of the anticipation guide.  This may take only a few minutes.  Along with the anticipation guide are two questions of the day, which will be thematic review questions of what we learned today.  There are big tables in the classroom, where three to four kids sit at each.  I will allow the students to work with the student next to them on the anticipation guide and questions.  While they are working, I will be circulating around the room checking on their progress, and seeing if there are any concepts they are having trouble with.  If they do not finish, it will be homework.  These same questions will be used in an opening activity in the next lesson.


  • Give students copy of images with notes attached explaining what the images are of.
  • Allow students that need to be close to the projector to see or hear me, to move up to the front of the room.


Lesson: Rise of Dictatorships in Interwar Europe

Class: 10th Grade World History II/ 75 Minutes


  • Students will be able to list three characteristics of Stalin’s interwar regime in the Soviet Union, and three policies set up by Stalin in this period.
  • Students will be able to list five characteristics of Nazi Germany.
  • Students will be able to identify four important events in Italy that led to the alliance with Germany , and also elaborate on the relationship between Italy and Germany.
  • Students will be able to connect important figures to their position and countries: including Stalin, Hitler, and Mussolini. 

Prior Information Needed:

  • Outcomes and effects of World War I, including the new government in Russia and the end of Ottoman, German and Austro-Hungarian Empires
  • League of Nations and the mandate system
  • Impact of the worldwide depression: unemployment, collapse of world trade prices, Nazi Party’s growing importance in Germany. 

SOL Objectives:

WHII.11c: The student will demonstrate knowledge of political, economic, social, and cultural developments during the Interwar Period by

c) examining events related to the rise, aggression, and human costs of dictatorial regimes in the Soviet Union, Germany, Italy, and Japan, and

identifying their major leaders, i.e., Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Hirohito, and Hideki Tojo. 

NCSS Objectives:

  • I. Culture
  • II. Time, Continuity and Change
  • III. People, Places and Environment
  • VI. Power, Authority and Governance
  • X. Global connections 

Teaching Strategies:

  • Group activity: jigsaw (reasoning, linguistic, interpersonal intelligences)
  • Graphic organizer tying together the jigsaw (spatial, intrapersonal intelligences)

Materials Needed for Lesson:

  • Handouts for the jigsaw and the graphic organizers 
  • Classroom set of Glencoe Modern Times World History textbook 
  • Large sheets of stick it paper, markers


Introduction to activity: (5 minutes) Since the jigsaw is time consuming in itself, and dividing into groups is also time consuming, and a bit chaotic, I will have the groups picked out for them.  I will hand each student an index card with their name on it in a certain color.  The card will also have a dot of a color.  These colors will indicate which groups they will be in.   I will then hand each group out a set of questions to answer within the group. 

Activity One: Jigsaw part one (20 minutes)

Each group will be split up according to the country that the information they will be given is focused on.  The countries will be Germany, Italy, and the Soviet Union.  The students will use their books to fill in the answers.  The Italy group will use pages 540-543.  The Soviet Union Group will use pages 543-545.  The Germany group will use pages 551-553. Since Nazi Germany has a section to itself, I will make two groups for Germany. The students will work together to discover the answers in the chapter.  Each group member will need to be participatory in order to make the second part of the activity successful.  Each student will need to write down the answers to the questions so that they can use it in the second part of this activity.  I will be circulating around the classroom making sure each group is on the right path, making suggestions or asking questions to make sure of this.  I will make sure I make it to each group so that I know that the right information has been discovered.

Transition to next activity: (3 minutes)  I will explain to the group what the dot means on the index card, and they will get in their groups according to the dot.  I will give each group a large sheet of paper for them to write on in this activity.  

Activity Two: Jigsaw part two (20 minutes)

Students will be in their new groups. It will be set up so that at least one student from each of the first group is in every group.  Considering the class may not have the perfect amount of students in it, there may be more than one person from each group in some of the groups.  The students will split the large sheet of paper into four sections.  Each section represents a country that we have gone over.  Each student will then provide the information covered in their first group to the rest of the group to write on the large sheet of paper.  This is why it is important that every group member be active in the activity.  Without the information being taken from the first group, it will not be able to get to the second group.  By the time the activity is done, every person in the class should have at least seen or heard the information for every group.  There will be reiteration of the material later in the class to drive home the information on the countries that the students did not start out with.

Transition to next activity: (2 minutes) 

Students will stay in their groups, but pull out the graphic organizer given to them with the other handouts earlier in class.  By this time each group will have all of the information that will be put into the graphic organizer on the large sheets of paper.  While they were finishing the prior activity, I will have drawn a copy of the graphic organizer on the white board (or chalk board) so that I can fill it out as we go along.


Activity Four: Graphic Organizer (20 minutes) 

This will be a class discussion wrapping up the jigsaw activity.  I will be leading the discussion by asking the class how to fill in the organizer.  The organizer is set up as the four countries having a column, and four rows of information about each countries dictatorship.  This way, each group will have to participate in some information about each countries regime.  The categories are “People,” “Rise of Regime,” “Characteristics,” and “Events/Actions.”  The events and actions section is important because not all countries will have both actions of the regimes and events that took place during the regime, thus either or both can be used in the organizer.  This activity will have the students discussing the material one more time, as well as writing it down again, this time on a small enough outlet that they can have their own copy to study. 

Conclusion: (5 minutes)

Students will have a homework assignment.  The homework assignment is a short writing assignment concluding what was learned in class today.  The question will be “What are the common characteristics of the four totalitarian regimes we studied today?”  They will have the rest of the class to work on this question.



  • Short essay: What are the common characteristics of the four totalitarian regimes we studied today?” 

Test Questions

  • Fill in the blank: What political ideology did the people of Italy fear that allowed Mussolini to establish a fascist regime?
  • Short answer:  Describe the effects of Stalin’s collectivization of agriculture. 
  • Multiple choice:  What group came to control the police forces of Germany during the Nazi regime? 
    • A) the OVRA B)  The SS       C)  The Aryans           D) The NSDAP 
  • Short Answer: Describe the importance of the Enabling Act in allowing the Nazis unlimited control of the government. 



  •  On the worksheets for the group part, I will alter the questions to allow for less writing by the students who need the accommodations.
  • For the homework essay, I will accept an outline of the answer, and give them more time to develop the answer in written form.
  • Any other individualized IEP or 504 will be taken into consideration.

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