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Researching the Lincoln Assassination


This lesson is designed to be the last of three two- to three-week lessons. The first lesson is an overview of the Civil War. The focus is big picture, using readings and a lecture/discussion format with a standard comprehensive assessment at its conclusion. The second lesson is a group reading of Chasing Lincoln’s Killer and its goal is twofold: first to create a knowledge base on the Lincoln Assassination; second spend a portion of each class period wrestling as a group on artifacts and primary sources connected to the assassination prior to the individual research project.

The research project is a continuation of the research students have been doing all year and is traditional research in its pedagogy. Students will evaluate and cite print and electronic sources looking for content, bias and suitability for research. Students will use a note card system for recording information based on their selected topic and subtopics. Finally, students will submit their findings in writing as well a present to their peers as part of a Crime Scene Investigation unit formed after the “tragic assassination of the 16th President.”


  • Students will research a topic using acceptable research techniques and strategies
  • Students will convert note cards to outlines, and a draft of both a research paper and script
  • Students will formally present their findings on their topic in both writing as well as orally
  • Students will be able to evaluate the events surrounding the Lincoln assassination, and John Wilkes Booth’s escape, manhunt, and death
  • Students will be able to analyze artifacts and primary source documents in a manner similar to professional historians
  • Students will be able to display and discuss the impact of Lincoln’s death on the country



Lesson Activity One: Research, Writing, and Editing
  • Students begin to plan and prepare research for their Lincoln’s Assassination paper by using various primary source databases and previous research

Lesson Activity Two: Continue to Research, Write, and Edit
  • Students apply and analyze their research to form a coherent 3-4 Page essay

Lesson Activity Three: Presentation
  • Students, present abstracts of their papers to their class, defend their paper, and answer questions
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External Resources

  • Grade Level

    6 to 8

  • Timeframe

    6+ classes (45 min/period)

  • Class Subject


  • Skills

    Research, Writing, Oratory, Primary sources

  • Teacher Information

    Dave McIntire

    The Independent School, Wichita, KS

    7th – 8th Grade

    American History, World History, Civics, and Oratory

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