The State Archives of North Carolina provides a collection of lesson guides in PDF format. The lesson guides pertain to citizens and events in North Carolina history, and draw from the rich collections here at the State Archives. Some of the documents are available online as part of our Digital Collections and can be downloaded to create copies for class use. This is an ongoing project so check back regularly for new additions.
Some lesson guides are large files and may take a while to load on slower connections.
In many historical photographs there are signs of technology present. Identifying such technology and recognizing the changes in it over time are important skills that may not be covered in textbooks. Studying historic photographs can be an effective method of teaching such progressive changes.
An important document can be taught in a variety of ways: for its informational value, for its significance in history, or as an artifact. Many documents that are very important for their content, such as the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, or a state constitution, meet all three criteria.
On December 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first machine-powered flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. With Orville aboard, the flight lasted about 12 seconds and covered 100 feet. The brothers made 3 other flights that day with the final one lasting 59 seconds and covering 852 feet. A version of this lesson plan is also available through the online project North Carolina Educational Resources.
This lesson plan includes a letter from John Futch, Co. K, 3rd North Carolina Troops, to his wife Martha Ramsey Futch and a letter from Catherine Ramsey to Futch, her son-in-law. John Futch enlisted February 1, 1862 in New Hanover County and was reported absent without leave from August 11-31, 1863. He was shot for desertion on September 5, 1863. A version of this lesson plan is also available through the online project North Carolina Educational Resources.
George Moses Horton was a slave who composed poetry and sold his poems to university students. His initial book was the first one published in the South by an African American. The sample acrostic is one written for Sion Hart Rogers, a University of North Carolina student in the 1840s, to give to Miss Mary E. V. Powell. A version of this lesson plan is also available through the online project North Carolina Educational Resources.
On May 1, 1868 Tom Dula (pronounced Dooley) was hanged for the murder of Laura Foster. The hanging followed several sensational trials, including two in the North Carolina Supreme Court. A version of this lesson plan is also available through the online project North Carolina Educational Resources.
The landscape of most cities and towns includes land set aside for burials. Burial practices and cemeteries have changed throughout history and give us a visual interpretation of a society’s beliefs and precepts. Cemeteries contain a wealth of information that can be used in many subject areas, including language arts, social studies, science, and mathematics. Gravestones also offer a look at an under-explored art form.
Maco is a small crossroads west of Wilmington where the Manchester and Augusta Railroad crosses the road. In 1867 it was known as Farmers Turnout. The legend of a mysterious light appearing there is an old one, dating from soon after 1867. Among the many suggested causes of the light are automobile lights or marsh gas from the nearby swamp.
Millie-Christine McKoy, conjoined twins, were born in Columbus County, NC in 1851. Born to enslaved parents, the twins shared one spinal column and were likely two girls with one nervous system. They referred to themselves as one person, however, and hyphenated their name to reflect this belief. A version of this lesson plan is also available through the online project North Carolina Educational Resources.
Propaganda is a powerful tool used to sway people’s opinions on certain issues. Examples of propaganda can be found in many different formats. A definition of propaganda is: Any technique that attempts to influence the opinion, emotions, attitudes, or behavior of a group in order to benefit the sponsor.
The teens and 20s were a time of great travel in the United States. People often took voyages that lasted for months and many left diaries and journals chronicling their journeys. North Carolina has had its share of word travelers and many of them have left details about their journeys. In the North Carolina State Archives are journals, itineraries, mementos, and photographs of the travels of many of our state’s residents.
Natural disasters happen every day, and in North Carolina in 2011 we seemed to have had more than other years. One effective way to deal with natural disasters is to study them historically. It is often helpful for students to talk about what led up to the disaster and what people did after it to cope and carry on.
Tiny Broadwick Pioneer of Aviation
Tiny Broadwick was a daring young woman who parachuted for the first time from a hot air balloon in 1908, when she was fifteen years old. During her lifetime she made over 1100 jumps from balloons and airplanes. She is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for first person to perform a “premeditated free-fall” and first women to parachute from an airplane into water.
Two soldiers in different wars wrote letters home that express powerful feelings of patriotism. As they wrote, each knew he was either dying or about to die.
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