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Family Tree Lesson Plans

Genealogy in the Classroom


Family tree lesson plans help teachers and students bring history to life, through the important steps and principles of family history research. These genealogy lesson plans help teachers and students trace their family tree, understand immigrant origins, explore history in the cemetery, discover world geography and investigate genetics.

1. Docs Teach

Find and create interactive learning activities for your students with primary source documents that promote historical thinking skills. The website provides ready-to-use tools for teaching with documents in the classroom, as well as thousands of primary source documents selected from the National Archives to help you tailor the lesson to your students.

2. Little House in the Census & Other Lesson Plans from the National Archives

The U.S. National Archives & Records Administration offers dozens of lesson plans from all eras of U.S. history, complete with documents. One popular example is the Little House in the Census lesson plan, with pages from the 1880 and 1900 census schedules, teaching activities, and links related to the family of author Laura Ingalls Wilder.

3. Ancestors Teachers Guide

This free guide was developed in conjunction with the Ancestors television series from PBS to help teachers and students in grades 7-12 actively discover their ancestors. It introduces important steps and principles of genealogy research, and provides family history assignments.

4. History Hunters Cemetery Tour

This elementary lesson plan makes an interesting field trip to the local cemetery or is easily adaptable to a regular classroom setting when exploring topics in state and local history. From the Wisconsin Historical Society.

5. Design Your Own Coat of Arms Lesson Plan

This lesson plan, most easily adapted to an Art or Social Studies curriculum, introduces students the history of a Coat of Arms and some traditional heraldic designs, by encouraging them to design their own Coat of Arms and then interpret each other's designs.

6. All in the Family: Discover Relatives & Genetic Connections

In this lesson from the New York Times, students develop family genealogy charts in search of noticeable genetic relationships between relatives.

7. Climbing the Family Tree - A Jewish Genealogy Lesson Plan

This lesson plan/lecture outline by Yigal Rechtman introduces Jewish genealogy myths and methods for reconstructing an ancestor's life, with accompanying teachers notes. The scope includes both genealogy in the United States, as well as Jewish genealogy in Eastern Europe.

8. Cemeteries are Historical, Not Solely Grave

The New York Times shares a Social Studies or Language Arts lesson examining graveyards as historical sites for students in grades 6-12.

9. Listening to History

This lesson plan from Edsitement is designed to help students explore oral history by conducting interviews with family members. Recommended for students in grades 6-8.

10. Coming to America - Immigration Builds a Nation

Discover the United States all over again as you introduce your students to the two major waves of immigration that brought 34 million people to our nation's shores and spurred the greatest period of national change and growth. Part of a series of lesson plans from EducationWorld.

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