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December 23rd, 2008
Looking for Lincoln Throughout His Life
Lesson Overview

(Click here for a printer-friendly version of this lesson.)


TIME ALLOTMENT: Two 45-minute class periods

In this interdisciplinary lesson, students will gather different facts about Lincoln through a variety of hands-on activities. In the Introductory Activity, students will match vocabulary words with pictures to piece together a timeline of Abraham Lincoln’s life. In the Learning Activities, students will gather various facts about the life of Lincoln. Students will learn about Abraham Lincoln’s work as a lawyer on the prairie and also gain insight into Lincoln through objects and artifacts of his life. Students will then select classroom objects that best tell a story about them and/or their class. In the Culminating Activity, students will reflect upon the life of Lincoln, revisit the timeline of Lincoln’s life and create their own personal timelines.

Social Studies; US History

Students will be able to:
• Create and interpret their own timelines
• Place events in chronological order
• Describe at least 5 facts about Abraham Lincoln
• Critically observe and describe objects
• Describe different ways to learn about the past
• Match words to corresponding images
• Define key vocabulary terms


History Standards for Grades K-4

Historical Thinking Standards
Standard 1: Chronological Thinking

A. Distinguish between past, present, and future time.
E. Interpret data presented in time lines.
F. Create time lines.

Standard 4: Historical Research Capabilities

B. Obtain historical data.
C. Interrogate historical data.

, selected segments

Clip 1:

Abraham Lincoln, Attorney at Law

Clip 2:

All Things Lincoln

Access the streaming and downloadable video segments for this lesson at the Video Segments Page.

Web site: The Online Teacher Resource
Students can use this “timeline generator” on the site to create their own timelines, including up to 6 events. (Scroll down to the bottom of the page to view the timeline generator.)


For the class:
• 1 black top hat (a real hat or one that you make)
Note: See the “Prep for Teachers” section below for directions on how to make a simple black hat, using a can and construction paper or felt.
• One large drawing of the outline of a top hat
Note: See the “Prep for Teachers” section below for details.
• One set of Abraham Lincoln Timeline Cards, cut out and mixed up (download here)

For each group of 3-4 students:
• 5 copies of the “Our Things” Student Organizer (download here)

For each student:
• 2-3 blank sheets of paper to create their personal timelines
• Pencils, pens and crayons

Prior to teaching this lesson, you will need to:

Preview all of the video segments and Web sites used in the lesson.
Download the video clips used in the lesson to your classroom computer, or prepare to watch them using your classroom’s Internet connection.

Bookmark the Web site used in the lesson on each computer in your classroom. Using a social bookmarking tool such as or diigo (or an online bookmarking utility such as portaportal) will allow you to organize all the links in a central location.

If you do not have a black top hat, you can create your own by following these steps:

1. Take a coffee can or other similarly-shaped container and place it upside down onto a piece of black construction paper or black felt.
2. Glue the coffee can to the paper.
3. Cut the black piece of paper or felt into a circle shape, leaving about two inches between the rim of the can and the edge of the paper or felt.
4. Wrap black construction paper or black felt around the sides and bottom of the hat.

Cut up the jumbled timeline cards. (For beginning readers: Keep each picture card joined to its adjoining text card.)

Print enough copies of the “Our Things” Student Organizer so that each group of 3-4 students has 5 copies.

Draw a large outline of a top hat on a large sheet of posterboard, a white board or a flip chart. This is intended to be a space where you can write in facts that your students learn about Lincoln during the lesson. Make the drawing large enough that you could write at least 20 short sentences inside the outline of the hat.

Next: Proceed to Activities

Lesson plans for LOOKING FOR LINCOLN were created by the LAB@Thirteen, Thirteen’s Community and Educational Outreach Department.

Inside This Lesson

State Farm

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