Lesson Plan The American Dream

Lesson Evaluation

Self and Peer Assessment

Students are also asked to evaluate the contributions and work of their team members. The teacher can provide valuable input and further help the student reflect upon their own performance and learning. Each student can provide a confidential self-assessment to gain valuable insights.

Teacher Assessment

Student groups might be requested to answer the subsequent evaluation inquiries:

  • What is the concept of the American Dream?
  • How has the concept of the American Dream evolved over the years?
  • How do various societies perceive the American Dream?
  • In what ways have important historical occurrences impacted the concept of the American Dream?
  • How will the fresh possibilities of the 21st century pose a challenge to the American Dream?
  • What makes your field of interest a successful platform for spreading the American Dream?
  • What is your vision for success in America?
  • Every member of the team must demonstrate comprehension by presenting evidence of their understanding, showcasing their products, and delivering their presentation. It is essential to mandate that every student actively participates in the crucial responsibilities of presenting and defending a particular perspective.

    Assess student assignments based on the evaluative standards that you and your students established prior to commencing the project.

    Lesson Procedure


    Entry Level Skills and Knowledge

    A reasonable proficiency in multimedia tools, familiarity with search terms to navigate Library of Congress digital content, and a fundamental comprehension of Internet research are required.

    You may want to use or create a set of primary sources to understand the process of student help. Students can get started with resources from Page Teachers to help acquaint themselves with the unique qualities of primary resources. When working with archival collections, students must think like archivists and historians.

    Organizational Requirements

    Define the scope of the project:

    Will the research be guided by a theme such as immigration? Will the research be linked to the literature being read in class? Will they work with a single digital collection? Will teams gather material from a specific decade? Before introducing the lesson or conducting the historical research in this project, will the scope be defined?

    Determine desired learning outcomes:

    What do you expect from your students in terms of completing activities and being able to know and do? Create an assessment rubric based on your expectations for students.

    Determine required learning product(s):

    Students should present and justify their ideas. Students may choose to create their student product in various formats, such as a video, a contribution to the transformation of their classroom into a Decades Museum, a multimedia product, or a Web page.

    Engage students:

    Students are invited to begin their inquiry by considering the dreams of present and today’s dreamers. Next, they should use the collections of the Library of Congress to learn about our cultural heritage and find evidence of dreamers in our collective history. Finally, ask students to compare their own dreams to the dreams of those who lived before them, as understanding the continuing human experience and the story of history should be understood as helping students to define themselves and pursue their own dreams.


    Familiarize students with the student lesson pages. Separate your class into learning teams and allocate tasks and duties.

    Each team member will be assigned or will select a research role (musician, comedian, producer, politician, poet, lawyer, photographer) to explore the page of the student project. Another way to help is to remind all team members of their specific tasks while they pitch in. Each student will work as part of the team to complete the project.

    Your essay on the American Dream shows the photography of the Dream American Design team. It serves as a guide for your passion, sparking debates and controversies. Prepare a brief legal description about the status of the American Dream (references included). The conclusion includes an argument and facts statement, focusing on the distinction between “whom” and “who.” Create a poet’s notebook, including samples of your poetry that showcase how the Dream American has been influenced by significant historical events and cultural influences. Use your poetic language to seek out the soul and heart of the American Dream. With your finger on the pulse of the American people, trace the significant political events that have shaped the Dream American. Write a speech that reflects on how the Dream American has been affected by political responses to historical events and cultural influences. Produce a sequence of scenes for a movie that portrays the Dream American story. Show the action, camera, and lights in your script for the Dream American movie. Create a humorous or ironic political comic strip or cartoon, or write a script for a stand-up comic routine that reflects the irony of the American Dream. Find the irony in the Dream American and play the music that captures its melody with your ear. Write a music sheet that characterizes the Dream American based on your research. Chronicle and report on the events that have shaped the Dream American over the decades in a news article. The article describes how, where, when, and by whom the events of the American Dream were influenced (Article on the Dream American reports the results of your research).

    Individual duties might consist of:

  • Ultimately, you are responsible for helping the team meet the project deadline. You possess excellent management skills and interpersonal abilities. As the team manager, you will be responsible for managing all aspects of the project, including meeting their obligations, assisting in research and production, and archiving.
  • As you explore the archives, your team will depend on the efficient utilization of your investigative and questioning abilities. You will aid others in locating the perfect quotation, image, or audio snippet. You can direct the research by employing targeted queries. Your role as a Research Manager is vital to the triumph of this undertaking.
  • During the creation of a product, you must deal with unexpected incidents and handle movie or sound clips, as well as manage graphics. You need to be resourceful and flexible to assist others and make last-minute changes. Additionally, you must work with the researcher and manager from the archive to gather materials during production. You will be leading the group in building the final product.
  • Managing an excellent Manager Archive job requires strong organizational skills. Make sure to check that all resources are compatible and keep track of materials for the team. You will also keep your original files in the correct format and ensure that your sound clips are of high quality. Additionally, you will organize the final project files and back them up.
  • Building Background Knowledge and Skills

    (Recommended- 2 class periods).

    Anticipatory Set:

    Start a conversation (either as a complete class or in team groups) utilizing the “What Is the American Dream?” Article. Construct an understanding of the conventional “American Dream” by incorporating students’ existing knowledge and collaborating with them. Establish connections with students’ prior knowledge.

    Share them with your learning team members in small groups, using either paper or visual thinking software to document ideas. Collaborate to generate ideas: What prior knowledge do you possess regarding the American Dream? Take part in class discussions, delve into additional readings, conduct interviews, or invite guest speakers to enhance your students’ learning experience.

    Primary Source Analysis:

    Before students begin analyzing primary sources, the teacher’s guide will prompt and focus the discussion and provide questions for students to select from. The students will work in teams, with each team working with a pre-selected set of materials. Before students begin their research, they will review strategies for analyzing primary sources.

    Every team will examine the primary source that has been assigned to them.

  • Photographer – George O. Waters(?), Dry Valley, close to Comstock Nebraska.
  • Poet – “Dedication,” the presidential inaugural poem by Robert Frost, on January 20, 1961.
  • Politician – “Americanism”, Harding, Warren G. (Warren Gamaliel), 1865-1923.
  • Producer – Arrival of migrants, Ellis Island.
  • Comedian – Katzenjammer Kids: “Principles and pastry”.
  • Attorney – A Report of the Proceedings during the Trial of Susan B. Anthony.
  • Musician – The ancient cabin residence. H. De Marsan, Publisher, 54 Chatham Street, New York.
  • Journalist – The Boston Gazette, and Country Journal. Monday, March 12, 1770.
  • Researching Online and Gathering Primary Resources

    (Recommended – 5 class periods).

  • Team organization and accountability:

    Students are required to plan an action and conduct research on selecting a role in a guide. They are to assign roles such as team manager, research manager, production manager, or archive manager to the strategy. Students will need support in identifying tasks that need to be completed and drafting a timeline.

    Possible considerations during research might include:

  • Theme or Topic: What is your focus for inquiry? Identify your research topic or theme.
  • What additional information do you require in order to address these inquiries? Enumerate a set of inquiries that you plan to address in order to narrow down your research focus. Which specific inquiries will aid in narrowing the focus of your research?
  • What type of primary resources are you looking for in your research? Do you intend to search for resources from the Library of Congress? How will you know what you have found?
  • Do you know how to identify examples that you have found, which are valid? Once you have located a few primary sources as evidence, what criteria are you using for selecting these examples?
  • To aid students in maintaining concentration and, subsequently, to assist in the assessment process, you might consider mandating that every group maintains a “research journal” documenting their progress during each work session.

  • Review the assessment questions:

    Select the inquiries that will establish a focal point for the project. Pupils can utilize these inquiries to direct their investigation.

  • Gathering primary sources:

    As a class, create and continually add to, a list of “tried and true” search terms. Remind students that the Library of Congress Web site is a collection of collections. It is not encyclopedic and it simply does not have “everything.” If an initial search does not yield desired results, guide students in how they can narrow or refocus the search. Your schedule may limit students to visiting only the suggested collections and provided links for each team. As possible, however, encourage them to identify additional items in the Library of Congress collections and to expand their resources with other sources.

  • Begin independent team exploration.

    Conduct research and investigation for a minimum of two (with a preference for more) days or class periods. Permit students to utilize tools for analyzing primary sources to document their expanding collection of evidence. Provide necessary supplies.

  • Creating the Learning Product

    Students can produce a variety of products to demonstrate their interpretation of the material. Realia and multimedia are excellent vehicles for students to share their learning, whether it be through displaying museum exhibits or newspapers in the classroom, creating booklets or presentations, giving oral shows or slide documentaries, producing digital narratives or podcasts, or creating private or public websites.

    The assessment procedure can offer valuable understanding in their research journal to what occurs during this stage of the undertaking by having students include. Allocate ample time for this crucial stage. The concrete result of this undertaking is generating and enhancing a ultimate educational output that enables students to express, showcase, and support their concepts regarding the American Dream.

    The use of internet and print resources should be collected carefully in order to ensure proper entry of bibliographical and/or citation information, thereby reinforcing ethical standards of internet use.

    Developing a Personal Dream for their Future

    (1 session).

    When students have completed their research and have produced and presented the products that share their learning, they can be invited to consider their own American Dream – for themselves, their families and loved ones, their community, their nation and the world. Encourage students to give serious thought and honest expression to their hopes and dreams for the future. For inspiration, they may wish to view the Dream Wall. contributed by other students.


    Today, who are the visionaries that motivate us? Encourage students to learn about or engage in conversations with individuals who possess a strong aspiration. Enrich this undertaking with your personal online materials, literature, film excerpts, discussions, or invited presenters.


    The Library of Congress invites students to sift and search through recorded sounds, photographs, early motion pictures, and rare print documents to define the American Dream and tell the story of a decade. Students will experience the breadth and depth of the Library’s digital resources.