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Reconstruction Amendments Five Step Lesson Plan
Please note the following abbreviations: H/E-Hands and Eyes, C/Y-Class/Yes, T/O-Teach/Okay, MW-Mirror/Words
Step 1: Question What are the basic provisions of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Reconstruction Amendments to the Constitution of the United States? Post this question on the board and have students tell each other how excited they are to learn about these 3 amendments. T/O
Step 2: Answer C/Y, MW- 13th, 14th, 15th Reconstruction Amendments-Using Vocabulary Candy tell students, Reconstruction is the time period that came after the Civil War. T/O
C/Y The 13th Amendment abolished slavery. (Gesture: Show the number 13, then cross arms in an X then open them as if breaking free from chains.) Ending slavery was the first step toward equality for African Americans. T/O
C/Y, MW-13th, 14th, 15th Amendments-The 14th Amendment granted citizenship. (Gesture: Show the number 14, then give a firm handshake with your own hands.) A person must be free before they can become a citizen. T/O
C/Y, MW-13, 14th, 15th Amendments-The 15th Amendment gave voting rights to black men. (Gesture: Show the number 15, then while holding one hand palm-side up, write one your hand/cast your vote, and drop the ballot in an air voting box.) A person must be free before they can become a citizen and must be a citizen before they can vote. T/O
Step 3: Expand C/Y, H/E Show students the first part of the Reconstruction Amendments Power Pix (13th Amendment). Even though Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery at the end of the Civil War in 1863, the question of slavery had still not be resolved when the war ended in 1865. T/O
C/Y Since many southern states were rebellious, the U.S. government required each state to add the abolition of slavery to their state constitutions. BUT (said with emphasis), there was no law preventing states from revising their constitutions. So, that is why the 13th Amendment was passed in 1865. T/O
C/Y, H/E Reveal the second part of the Power Pix (14th Amendment). The 14th Amendment was passed in 1868 and was a step up from Amendment 13. American leaders in Washington D.C. felt people born in the U.S. should be declared a citizen. T/O
C/Y Amendment 14 gave full citizenship to anyone born or naturalized in the U.S. This amendment says that everyone born in the U.S. regardless of skin color, race, or religion was legally an American citizen. T/O
C/Y, H/E Reveal the third and final part of the Power Pix (15th Amendment). The 15th Amendment was a milestone of 1869. The 15th Amendment prohibits or bans the government from not allowing a person to vote based on a citizen’s race, color, or previous servitude. African American opinions were finally heard and counted through the power of the vote. T/O
C/Y Unfortunately, with every law passed, some individual states created new codes and laws that prevented full equality to African Americans, but these three amendments were the first steps toward equality. This equality would not be fully achieved for decades to come. T/O, C/Y
Step 4: Test Explain to students that they will be agreeing or disagreeing with a set of statements by playing Yes/No Way. Ask students to help come up with a gesture for "Yes" and "No Way." For example, they might make a big check as they say, "Yes" and a big X as they say, "No Way."
1. The Reconstruction Amendments are the 10th, 11th, and 12th Amendments. (No Way.)
2. The 13th Amendment abolished slavery. (Yes.)
3. A person does not have to be a citizen of the country in order to vote. (No Way.)
4. The 15th Amendment allowed African Americans to vote. (No Way.)
5. African Americans were allowed to vote before slavery was abolished. (No Way.)
6. The 14th Amendment gave citizenship to all persons born in the United States regardless of race. (Yes.)
7. These three amendments banned slavery and granted citizenship and voting rights. (Yes.)
After each statement, have volunteers stand up and use C/Y and a Because Clapper to explain their answers. The class responds with Ten Finger Woos.
Q/T Test-If 90% of students answer correctly, give the Q/T Test by having students use Smart Cards.
1. The Reconstruction amendments include the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments. (True)
2. With the passing of the 13th Amendment, African Americans were no longer considered slaves. (True)
3. Black American men were allowed to vote in the early 1900s due to the 15th Amendment, which granted them suffrage. (True)
4. The 14th Amendment granted freedom of speech to all persons. (False)
5. These three amendments did not help African Americans achieve equality. (False)
If at least 90% of my students passed the QT Test then go on to step 5. If not, return and reteach Step 3 with new material.
Step 5: Critical Thinking Students complete one or more of the following exercises:
- Using the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, complete each sentence type in the Genius Ladder. Students can complete this orally with a partner, and then add their best/favorite of the three amendments to their ISN (Interactive Student Notebook).
- Talk to your neighbor and compare and contrast the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments.
- Play What Am I? with your neighbor. For example, students will use the Because Clapper to describe either the 13th, 14th, or 15th Amendment and finish by saying, "What Am I?" The other student will answer, and then they will switch roles.
- Use Sockless Hand Puppets, then Props, then Air Whiteboard to explain the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments.