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American Reformers

American Reformers


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Grade Level Grades 3-8
Standards Alignment
Common Core State Standards

About This Lesson

In American Reformers, students examine many reform efforts that took place in America from the early 1800s to the 1850s, including: the temperance movement to decrease the consumption of alcohol; Dorothea Dix’s efforts to obtain better treatment for people with mental illnesses; Horace Mann’s campaign for free public education; the work of Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, William Lloyd Garrison, and other abolitionists in their crusade to abolish slavery; and the early women’s rights movement led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. Students also explore the early reformers’ legacy in ongoing modern-day struggles for equality and civil rights. The material incorporates a rich array of civics-focused knowledge, questions, and activities. In choosing the specific content to call to teachers’ and students’ attention, we have been guided by the civics test developed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

This unit includes a Student Reader, Timeline Image Cards, and Teacher Guide, providing Guided Reading Supports and the following Additional Activities: videos about Dorothea Dix and Susan B. Anthony; domain vocabulary exercises; nonfiction excerpts from Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth; and a Unit Assessment.


Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.
Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words or phrases in a text relevant to a grade 4 topic or subject area.
Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.


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