Reconstruction Era Unit

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

Unit 10 in my US History curriculum focuses on the Reconstruction Era immediately following the American Civil War. This important period in US History has come under a renewed scrutiny and is one that students need to understand the impact of.

The lessons here are perfect for your middle school or high school US History students and will help them to reflect on the long-term effects of this era and how the Reconstruction Era connects to today.

You can download all the great lesson plans and resources for the unit here, or join Students of History with a subscription to access to everything online.


The unit begins with a thorough look at the Age of Reconstruction through a PowerPoint with guided notes (plus Google Slides and “flipped classroom” video options). This covers the key plans for Reconstruction, important vocabulary like scalawags and carpetbaggers, and the important people of the era as well 

 Following this, you  have several primary sources to select from to help students better understand various concepts. These include a Thomas Nast political cartoon analysis resource, Frances Ellen Watkins poem analysis, and Hiram Revels Cartoon worksheet. These are perfect for differentiation or allowing students choice in what they want to investigate. 

The next lesson features a simulation-style activity in which students analyze Reconstruction from various perspectives. This can be done in cooperative learning groups, pairs, or at stations around the room that students move through individually. It's great for students to see the conflicting views of Reconstruction policies and events .

 Following this, students have the option of completing a hands-on interactive notebook activity or a digital notebook activity online. You can also have students working a bit each day on the thorough unit guide packet.

In the next lesson, students learn about the creation and significance of Juneteenth, the day commemorating the official emancipation enslaved African Americans in Texas. A detailed lesson plan has students review an essential question before interpreting primary and secondary sources.

Each lesson also includes suggested video links and links to online sources for further study like our online textbook.

The unit guide packet and digital interactive notebook activities can be used throughout the unit to fill in gaps, provide extension activities, or remediation. 

The unit concludes with a set of engaging review games and activities followed by an editable test, which includes editable Google Forms version for easy grading.

The above links include teacher reviews and allow you to download any resource individually. You can also download the entire unit here in a zip folder and have everything saved to your desktop. You can also gain access to the unit through a subscription, which grants you immediate access to the ENTIRE US History curriculum.

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

US History Units