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Lincoln’s Legacy: Then and Now


The Lincoln’s Legacy teaching module will take place over the course of thirteen sessions, taught in eight 60-minute and five 90-minute lessons. Through this module, students will explore Lincoln and his assassination, participate in a small-group nonfiction book study, analyze primary sources related to the aftermath of Lincoln’s assassination, and use their findings to produce a coherent 5-paragraph essay determining Lincoln’s legacy both in his time and in the present. The module is designed to teach kids to use appropriate reference sources to interpret meaning and then construct a research paper supporting their assessment of Lincoln’s legacy. Throughout this teaching module, there are many suggestions about ways to differentiate this unit to make it accessible yet challenging for each student regardless of their ability level. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to participate in discussions with their peers and practice both speaking and listening skills.

Since this is an extensive unit, it has been designed to address a variety of standards from multiple subject areas so as to make it more useful and relevant in a fifth-grade classroom. For settings where students change classes, the timing can still be adjusted to make it work in a social studies, reading, or writing class; teachers from different subjects can also collaborate and teach the unit across classes.

Guiding Questions

  • What impact did President Lincoln and his assassination have on the United States?
  • How can primary sources be used for research?
  • How can research be presented in an essay/ oral presentation?


  • Students will collect information about Lincoln’s life and legacy through a small-group book study.
  • Students will analyze and interpret primary sources to draw conclusions about people’s assessment of Lincoln’s character.
  • Students will create a five-paragraph research paper, including an introduction, conclusion, and analysis of three reference sources.
  • Students will communicate Lincoln’s legacy through firsthand accounts of reactions to his assassination.
  • Students will discuss Abraham Lincoln’s achievements and contributions to society both then and now.
  • Students will understand and express Lincoln’s legacy and the impact he has had in the aftermath of his assassination.
  • Students will see the importance of having access to primary sources of information.
  • Students will develop an understanding of the components of a research paper.



Lesson Activity One: Exploring Lincoln/ Unit Activating Strategy:0
  • Students learn more about Lincoln’s Assassination and how to navigate web sources

Lesson Activity Two: Book Study
  • Students close read Pascal’s book, Who Was Abraham Lincoln?

Lesson Activity Three: Analysis of Primary Sources
  • Students begin to learn about primary resources and how to effectively use and identify them

Lesson Activity Four: Research Paper
  • Students create and write a draft of their research paper about Lincoln’s life

Lesson Activity Five: Presentation
  • Students present their research to the class and receive constructive criticism and suggestions

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External Resources

  • Grade Level

    4 to 5

  • Timeframe

    6+ classes (45 min/period)

  • Class Subject


  • Skills

    Critical analysis, Inference, Discerning reliable information, Note-taking, Writing, Presenting information

  • Teacher Information

    Mallory Sample

    Lake View Elementary, McCalla, AL

    5th Grade

    Reading, Math, Language, Writing, Science, Social Studies

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