The French Revolution

A Complete Unit Plan for World History in Middle School or High School

Unit 16 of my World History curriculum covers one of the most significant moments in European history: the French Revolution. Students learn about the causes of this violent period and connect back to what they learned in earlier units on Absolutism and the Enlightenment. The unit covers all the major events of this era through the rise and fall of Napoleon.

You can download the complete unit plan here with fantastic lesson plans and resources for every day or you can join Students of History with a subscription and access everything you need online.


The unit kicks off with a thorough overview lesson all about the French Revolution. A wonderful "magic portrait" PowerPoint and guided notes (with flipped classroom video also available) helps students to understand the big picture. Following this, students can work together on a fascinating hunger seminar activity to better understand the causes of the Revolution or a paper or digital notebook activity on the Estates System.

You can also give out the unit guide here at the outset of the unit and allow students to work on it throughout. This 9-page packet includes a timeline, vocabulary, images, primary & secondary sources, and more. 

The next lesson is a higher level analyzing resistance simulation that has students place themselves in France at this time. This can be done at stations around the room or with the included Google Doc to help students think critically about each stage of the French Revolution. 

Following this are several video options before students comparing Declarations to make connections between France the the American Revolution. 

Students make connections and analyze the French Revolution as a whole in the next lesson. After a warmup and video clip, students read about the key figures of this period and then complete an engaging dinner party activity. Following this, students can finish off the lesson with a reading activity on the guillotine.

Napoleon Bonaparte's role in the period is the focus of the next lesson After warmup, a detailed PowerPoint (with guided notes, video, and Google Slides options) takes students through Napoleon's rise and fall. After one of several video clip options, kids can complete a reading activity on Napoleon’s downfall.

To close off the unit, the last section delves into Napoleon’s legacy after his downfall. After a PowerPoint and guided notes, students begin an engaging rotating debate activity on Napoleon before finishing off the lesson with a digital interactive notebook activity or the culminating French Revolution Newspaper Project.

You can download this French Revolution Unit Plan here and have all these resources saved on your desktop. You can also sign up for a World History subscription to access everything online. Subscriptions grant you immediate access to the ENTIRE World History curriculum. That’s 24 complete units full of engaging resources and lessons. 

You can read more about the differences between TpT purchases and subscriptions here if you’re not sure which option is better for you.

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World History Units