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Lesson Plan

Gettysburg Address

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Abraham Lincoln's Greatest Speech

Grades: Elementary - High School

Approximate Length of Time: Approximately two 45 minute class periods

Goals:

  • Students will evaluate the role of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address in the context of its place and time in history.
  • Students will examine how The Gettysburg Address is relevant in today’s society.

Objectives:

  1. Students will be able to list at least two events that led up to Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
  2. Students will be able to present an argument as to why Lincoln gave The Gettysburg Address.
  3. Students will be able to summarize portions of the Gettysburg Address in their own words or present an overall summary of the document.
  4. Students will be able to discuss why they believe the Gettysburg Address is still relevant in today’s society.

Materials:

Download the lesson plan, along with the following materials, at the bottom of this page.

  • Watch the Gettysburg Address In4 video
  • Listen to a reading of the Gettysburg Address 
  • The Gettysburg Address
  • Outline for the Gettysburg Address Power Point Parts 1 and 2
  • Outline for the Gettysburg Address Power Point Parts 3 and 4
  • Timeline to the Address
  • The Gettysburg Address Power Point Presentation Parts 1 and 2
  • The Gettysburg Address Power Point Presentation Parts 3 and 4
  • “Your Version” Worksheet
  • CNN.com

Vocabulary:

  • Conceive – to form a notion or idea
  • Proposition – a suggestion that something be done or thought about
  • Engaged – to be occupied with a task
  • Endure – to continue to exist or last
  • Consecrate – to make or declare sacred; set apart or dedicate
  • Hallow – to honor as holy or sacred
  • Detract – to draw away or divert attention
  • Devotion – dedication, or commitment to a cause
  • Vain – without real significance or value
  • Perish – to pass away or disappear

Anticipatory Set/Hook:

Play The Great Task video for your students, allowing them the opportunity to hear The Gettysburg Address.
Engage students in a discussion about what they just heard. Ask them:

  • If they had ever heard this before
  • Why do they think the director had the actors repeat certain lines
  • Which parts stuck out or struck them the most
  • When do they think this speech was originally given
  • For what reason do they think this was given

Procedure:

Day 1:

Hand out a copy of the Timeline to the Address (PDF) to each student.
Hand out a copy of Outline for the Gettysburg Address Power Point Parts 1 and 2 (PDF).
Have students use the Outline to follow along as you present The Gettysburg Address Power Point Parts 1 and 2.
During the timeline portion, have students fill out their own timelines.

Day 2:

Hand out a copy of the Gettysburg Address (PDF) to each student.
Hand out a copy of Outline for the Gettysburg Address Power Point Parts 3 and 4 (PDF).
Have students use the Outline to follow along as you present The Gettysburg Address Power Point Parts 3 and 4.
During the discussion of the language used in the Address have students highlight important words or phrases in their copy of The Gettysburg Address.
Hand out a copy of the “Your Version” worksheet (PDF)to each student.
Have students complete their own version of the Gettysburg Address or have them write a summary of the Address.

Closure:

Hold a discussion using the questions: Why do you think the address is still relevant today?

Assessment:

Gather the Timeline and “Your Version” worksheets. These will be used to support the first two objectives.
Students will complete an essay addressing the question:
Why is The Gettysburg Address still relevant today?

  • Provide specific examples from current events
    • articles can be taken from today’s newspaper
    • or go to cnn.com
  • Use at least one quote from The Gettysburg Address.

Modification Ideas:

  • Have students revisit The Gettysburg Address Power Point on their own or for homework from their home computer before writing their final assessment question.
  • Allow students to work in pairs to answer the final assessment question.
  • Have students visit The Gettysburg Address Online Exhibit at the Library of Congress.