Teaching America in the history classroom

Resources team
19th February 2020
US history

Get inspired when teaching US history with this collection of resources covering topics including the civil rights movement, American West and the USA 1920 - 73

American history has long been a popular choice with history departments and exam board alike. Despite the changes to the new 2016 specification, US options weathered the storm and still remain some of the most selected topics at both GCSE and iGCSE.

Whether you are educating learners on the 1920s industry and entertainment boom, 1930s depression and New Deal, Civil rights movement or journey back to the wild wild American West, we have the KS4 picks for you!

1920s boom and 1930s bust in the USA

The 1930s Depression and New Deal

USA, Depression, New Deal, Roosevelt
By maggiesalgado

Opposition to the New Deal

This lesson covers opposition to Roosevelt’s New Deal (New AQA Specification) with another acronym to make it memorable.

The lesson allows students to demonstrate their learning through an 8 mark question (Progress 8) . with opportunity to self assess their answer.

By mrshopehistory

The Birth of the 'Golden Age' of Hollywood

AQA GCSE History: America, 1920–1973 - Opportunity and Inequality - American People and the Boom. The resources are also suitable for Edexcel, OCR, WJEC GCSE History and iGCSE History.

Describe the 1920s film industry.
Explain Hollywood became the centre of the American film industry.
Lesson Objective: to what extent did the 1920s make Hollywood synonymous with film?

The resources that I have created enabled my GCSE History class to attain P8 +0.57 during the 2019 summer examination series and many students secured Level 9s - the most of any class in my entire school. In addition, this specific component - America, 1920–1973 - Opportunity and Inequality - were above average according to AQA Enhanced Results Analysis.

Owing to marking GCSE History for AQA during the 2019 summer examination series, all of my original resources have been amended and updated for students studying GCSE History syllabus. In addition, I have utilised feedback from students, fellow professionals, experienced colleagues and my own professional judgement to ensure that each resource will help you to teach quality history lessons.

Copyright Protection ©

By liam0001

USA 1920's Society and Intolerance

A very useful unit summary template for the USA Depth Study.

  • The Roaring 20’s
  • Prohibition
  • How far did people benefit?
  • Women, KKK, Monkey Trial, Sacco and Vanzetti,
By Ichistory

USA 1920-1973: opportunity and inequality REVISION SHEETS

For new AQA GCSE History
3 x double A4 pages of revision notes covering the full unit of the USA 1920-1973: Opportunity and Inequality.

Each named bit of content from the spec is described with key facts to support explanation.
Differentiation: Lower-ability version includes key words and definitions instead of key facts.

The whole unit is covered, including the boom, the roaring twenties, the Great Depression, the New Deal, Post-War America, Civil Rights Movement, ‘great society’ and feminism.

By tom_leather

USA: Why did the USA introduce prohibition? (L10)

A lesson on the causes of prohibition for a 3 year GCSE for AQA America 1920 -1973. The lesson looks at what was prohibition and focuses on why it was introduced, there are a range of sources for students to look at and work out their message using the knowledge just gained. The starter is the recap wheel which once clicked will spin and land on a topic that the table must list everything they can remember about it. There is also a GCSE question with sentence starters for students who need it and throughout the lesson there are challenge tasks to stretch the top end.
By j_leemosley

The Civil Rights movement

Civil Rights Groups

An hour long, fully resourced lesson with PowerPoint, differentiated tasks throughout, worksheets, clip link and accompanying task focusing on the various Civil Rights groups. Designed by a experienced History teacher in a UK secondary school.

By History_Geeks

Knowledge Organiser / Revision Mat: Black American Civil Rights.

**Colour coded DOUBLE SIDED A3 / A4 knowledge organiser / Revision mat / book marks - for the entire American Course. **

Side One: Focusing on progress between key time periods.

**Side 2: **

Significant Individuals (MLK, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X , Kennedy, Johnson, Garvey, W.E.B. Du Bois, Bucker T Washingson, thurgood Marshal).

Government Acts (1964 Civil Rights / 1965 Voting Rights.

**Key organisations: **

Black Panthers

Please visit my shop for more KS3 / GCSE Edexcel History lessons / bundles: https://www.tes.com/teaching-resources/shop/morlem

By mike Morley

US Civil Rights Movement - Martin Luther King, Parks and Malcolm X (AQA Opportunity and Inequality)

A two-lesson overview of the Civil Rights Movement and the key individuals of the Civil Rights Movement. Students will assess the role of these individuals the changes in which they facilitated in 1950s and 1960s America. Activities focus on discussion, group tasks and AQA exam-style questions.

All tasks and activities are differentiated for SEN, EAL and G&T students and based on the new GCSE grading model.

By Dominic Rogers

American Civil Rights: The Freedom Riders.

The purpose of this lesson is to encourage pupils to reflect upon the progress made by the civil rights movement by 1960.

Pupils will inquire into who the freedom riders were and the purpose, aims and possible problems of their movement. Pupils will lead their own learning though the collection of information to then record this information in chronological order on their worksheets to create a time line.

All videos, sound clips and random name generator are embedded with further advice upon the structure of the lesson to be found in the description of the presentation.

Pupils will complete the lesson though comparing the freedom riders with other nonviolent methods of campaigning so far during the civil rights movement - E.g. Greensboro Sit-ins to then form an overall judgment.
By mike Morley

Ku Klux Klan

A lesson exploring the significance of the KKK within the Civil Rights Movement
By opal88

Jim Crow Laws

  • What were the Jim Crow Laws in America? Who was Jim Crow? Why did this fictional character significantly impact on American society, especially in the south in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries? What happened if you did not adhere to these laws?
  • These questions and more are answered in this lesson. Students analyse how black people in America were treated and why discrimination was inherent in some parts of American society and backed up by statute. Students also have to recognise how these laws affected education, family life, social time and employment and prioritise the severest of these laws in their judgement.
  • The lesson ends with some challenging questions using de bono’s 6 thinking hats.
  • The resource comes in PDF and PowerPoint formats if there is a wish to adapt and change. I have also included suggested teaching strategies and differentiated resources to deliver the lesson.
  • If you like this resource, please visit my shop where I have created further resources on the Civil Rights Movement in America including a Civil Rights bundle of lessons which can be found here: https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/civil-rights-in-america-11823027
By PilgrimHistory

American West 

Edexcel 9-1 GCSE - American West Revision Guide

Edexcel 9-1 GCSE
American West 1835-1895
New 2016 Specification

Revision guide covering the complete American West topic.
Contains detailed top level (Grade 9)l knowledge on all aspects of the course, covering the specification from Edexcel
Includes over 30 exam questions (Consequences, Importance and Narrative Analysis) with 'how to' guide
Knowledge Organiser included alongside contents page
Visually laid out revision guide with images aiding information.

Can be used for revision, homework, interleaving, within class teaching and as a basis for a workbook.

Cheap to print for students (70p a copy) which is cheaper than purchasing multiple revision guides which can lack detailed content for higher ability students.

Please see my other lessons and resources
Feedback welcome

By MrThorntonTeach

Lesson 17 GCSE HISTORY Edexcel (1-9) American West: The Indian Wars (1862, 1864, 1866-68)

This lesson covers the three Indians Wars: Little Crow, Sand Creek Massacre and Red Cloud’s War. Students/teachers are offered a choice of tasks to complete the knowledge of the wars needed. Sound effects and animations throughout.
STARTER: A recap game of events that were taking place in the American West at the time of the Indian Wars
BACKGROUND: Printable and teacher led notes about the three wars and their leaders.
TASK OPTION 1: Students give three question sheets to use with the Pearson book with easy to follow question and tasks about each war. Lower - higher level questioning on each.
TASK OPTION 2: An outline sheet for a student led presentation about one of the wars.
TASK OPTION 3: A table for the students to complete about each aspect of the war, which concentrates on the relationship between the Plains Indians and the US Government and army.
HIGHER LEVEL: (see image) Students are given a diagram of the relationship between the government and Indians regarding how promises are broken. Students have to explain this.
PLENARY: Students given a list of key facts and have to decide which war they relate to.
EXAMPLE ANSWER AND QUESTION: A narrative account of the key events which led to Red Cloud’s War. The example answer includes tips and an opportunity for the students to analyse a higher level answer.
Please provide feedback if you can - this took me flipping ages to complete!

By RAResources

Edexcel GCSE 9-1 History: American West revision handouts

4 sheets summarising key themes of the American West c.1830-95:

  • Settlement of the West
  • Destruction of the Indian way of life
  • Rise and fall of the cattle industry
  • Law and Order in the west

These sheets show events in the American West as a narrative timeline - useful for general revision or for students to use to plan/write analytical narrative questions. Best printed A3.

Both Word and PDF versions included.

By Jack Harris

REVISION American West Thinking Quilt (Edexcel 9-1)

American West thinking quilt designed to provide pupils with the opportunity to make links between different events and consider their impact on the development of the American West.

I have checked through both the Pearson textbook and revision guide to ensure that all key content is included in this A3 thinking quilt.

Pupils first read the boxes and add a sentence to any that they are not sure of with the support of peers, revision guides or the teacher.
They then colour code them based on catagories they could fit into such as ‘law and order’ and ‘conflict with Plains Indians’.

You can find the lesson that this thinking quilt is a part of here:

By ellie_ryl

Lesson 24 Edexcel GCSE 1-9 American West - Extermination of the buffalo

It would be great if you could leave some feedback for this lesson. It mainly uses the Pearson book as I found the Hodder book does not really focus on the 'consequences' aspect at the end.
STARTER: A filling in the missing term exercise to allow students to recap basic key knowledge about the uses of the buffalo for the Plains Indian way of life.
BACKGROUND: Students watch a 6 minute clip (hyperlinked) to see why the white settlers and US Government wanted to hunt buffalo and the main consequences of this for the Plains Indians.
EVIDENCE ANALYSIS: Source from Frank Mayer (also in Pearson book) to promote discussion about the Indian way of life.
TASK: I have given a choice of three possible tasks to help students gain knowledge of the impact of the extermination: 1 - A letter from a Sioux Indian to President Grant making clear the consequences of the buffalo extinction. 2 - A simple comprehension task from page 90 with 10 questions. 3 - An outline of a buffalo head with 11 spaces in which students can select their own facts about the extermination of the buffalo.
EXAM QUESTION: Explain two consequences of the extermination of the buffalo on the way of life of the Plains Indians.
By RAResources

GCSE American West Map Display

9-1 GCSE
American West 1835-1895
New 2016 Specification

Display information and banner that can be used to create an American West map display.
Features 15 information cards on key geographical parts of the American West topic, such as the Oregon Trail, Transcontinental Railroad, Wounded Knee, Abilene etc.

Some cards have colour coded bars which match the routes which can be drawn onto the map (See photo)


Please see my other lessons & resources
Feedback welcome
By MrThorntonTeach


AQA America 1920-1973: Opportunity and Inequality Part 1

The first 20 lessons of the America topic for AQA for a three year GCSE.

Include exam questions, with sentence starters to support the less able and challenge tasks to stretch the top end. A range of recap starters at the beginning of lessons to help students consolidate their understanding

Includes lessons on:

Introduction to America
WW1 And its impact
Economic Boom in America
Ford and the car industry
Failures of the boom
Entertainment in 1920s (cinema, sport, jazz)
Women and Flappers
Causes of Prohibition
Failures of Prohibition
Al Capone
Causes of Immigration
Experiences of immigrants
Experiences of African Americans
Changes after the abolition of slavery
Jim Crow Laws
KKK Ku Klux Klan
Russian Revolution
1920s Red Scare
Sacco and Vanzetti
By j_leemosley

Edexcel GCSE (1-9) The American West Lessons 14-26

This bundle contains all the lessons you will need to deliver the second half of this GCSE unit.
By RAResources


This bundle incorporates History lessons for the new spec AQA Paper 1D

20 Lessons in total covering from 1919 economic boom to the 1930s US depression valued at over £55 if bought individually.

Save over 50% of the cost by buying in bulk!

By mrshopehistory

*Updated* AQA America, 1920–1973 - Opportunity and Inequality: Post-War America

AQA GCSE History: America, 1920–1973 - Opportunity and Inequality

• Post-war American society and economy: consumerism and the causes of prosperity; the American Dream; McCarthyism; popular culture, including Rock and Roll and television.
• Racial tension and developments in the Civil Rights campaign in the 1950s and 1960s: Segregation laws; Martin Luther King and peaceful protests; Malcolm X and the Black Power Movement; Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968.
• America and the ‘Great Society’: the social policies of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson relating to poverty, education and health; the development and impact of feminist movements in the 1960s and early 1970s, including the fight for equal pay; the National Organisation for Women, Roe v Wade (1973), the Supreme Court ruling on equal rights (1972) and opposition to Equal Rights Amendment.

*Owing to marking the 2018 AQA GCSE History summer examination series, all of my original resources have been amended and updated for students studying the AQA GCSE History syllabus. In addition, I have utilised feedback from students, fellow professionals, experienced colleagues and my own professional judgement to ensure that each resource will help you to teach quality history lessons.

Copyright Protection ©

By liam0001

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