Modern America

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

The last unit of my US History curriculum covers Modern America, beginning with the Watergate Scandal and continuing through our current political scene, affairs with the Middle East, and more!

This will be the unit where students can connect what they have learned throughout US History to America today. The activities, lesson plans, and interactive materials will make this unit an interesting and engaging one.  

You can get every lesson plan and resource for the unit here, or join Students of History to immediately access every lesson online.


The unit begins with a look into the controversial Nixon presidency and his Watergate scandal. A  thorough PowerPoint and guided notes (with Google Slides and "flipped classroom" video also) takes students through the entire scandal. A short video clip is also available before students investigate a primary source for a deeper look into how the scandal took down a presidency.

 Lesson two of the unit has students review and compare presidential policies for each modern administration. Students compare and contrast policies and platforms in groups or at stations to get a better look at how American politics has evolved over the past few decades  .

The next lesson helps students to understand America in the 90’s and the Clinton presidency. A fantastic PowerPoint and guided notes (with Google Slides and video) details the changes that took place in the 90s along with Clinton’s policies and the controversial actions that had him impeached. An interactive notebook or digital notebook activity can be used as an exit ticket or concluding activity. 

The next few lesson helps students to understand the complicated history of America's involvement in the Middle East. Another in-depth PowerPoint (with guided notes, Slides, and video) covers the history of America's actions in the Middle East, from World War 2 through to the rise of ISIS. Video clips are also available to ensure students understand the conflicts, groups, and agreements involved.

The tragedy of 9/11 is the subject of the next lesson. Students work in groups to go through a collaborative September 11th interactive timeline. This activity helps students piece together the chaos and fear Americans felt that morning. They can also view acts of heroism through several video clips and conclude with a reading activity on the long-term impact of this terrible day

Globalization is the main focus of the following lesson, which details organizations like the UN and the EU. Students work together in groups on a World Organizations Project to help them understand the role and purpose of various interactional organizations. The lesson concludes with students working on one of several reading or map worksheet options on trade agreements and globalization. 

The next lesson helps students to understand modern immigration. A PowerPoint and guided notes covers the shifting policies and impact of immigration into the United States. Following this, there are several video options before students followed by a digital notebook resource or worksheet on America's shifting population. 

Impeachment is the main topic of the next lesson. There is an impeachment case studies activity which has students working together to look at the the three presidential impeachments as well as governors and other officials who have been removed from office. Video clips are available for after the case students and the lesson also allows time for class discussion.

  The Modern America unit concludes with a look at one of the most controversial modern issues - the Black Lives Matter movement. This lesson covers a sensitive subject and should always be handled carefully and thoughtfully. Students review some of the major developments that brought BLM to the forefront. For each, students reflect on how they would react and what actions (if any) they would take.

A printable or Google Doc unit packet and digital notebook set can be used throughout the unit for remediation or extension activities. 

The unit concludes with several review resources followed by an editable test, with a Google Forms version also available for easy grading.

You can use the links above to download any resource individually and see reviews from teachers who've used them. The entire unit can be downloaded here and immediately saved to your desktop. You can also access the lessons and resources through a subscription, which grants you access to the ENTIRE US History curriculum.

If you’re unsure which option might be best, you can read about the differences between subscriptions and TpT here.

US History Units