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Iowan Born Influencers

Lesson Plan Item

General Information
Grade 9th Grade Class U.S. History Length of Lesson 1-2 Days
Lesson Title Iowan Born Influencers
Unit Title Iowa Born Influencers
Unit Compelling Question How have Iowa born citizens affected American history?
Historical Context:

Iowans, young and old, male and female, native born and immigrant, have made important contributions to their state and nation.  This lesson identifies and examines the impact of some of Iowa's native sons and daughters.


2018.029.001  This "Funeral Escort Badge" was worn by U.S. Representative James Falconer Wilson of Fairfield, Iowa. It entitled him to a seat on president Abraham Lincoln's funeral train

After the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, a funeral procession that lasted nineteen days involved the transfer of the body from Washington D.C. to Lincoln's hometown of Springfield, IL. Along the way of 17,000 miles, the train stopped at ten cities where the coffin was taken off of the train to be viewed by citizens. In addition to Lincoln, the body of his young son who had passed away in 1862 of typhoid fever was carried on the train to be buried with his father. Passengers, including Lincoln's oldest son, Robert, could gain access to the train if they received a funeral escort badge.



~ Teaching Iowa History Team
Lesson Supporting Question What is important about your specific individual?
Lesson Overview

This lesson uses individual student research to develop an understanding of important figures in Iowa history who were also influential in American history. In this lesson, students will become familiar with many Iowans.  The lesson would best be suited as a wrap-up of a complete Iowa History Unit that focuses on more than one time period.  Students will be introduced to primary sources pertaining to historical figures as they begin the class. Next, each student will be given a historical person to research and ultimately create a biography that is designed to be written as if they were their designated individual. Lastly, students will participate in a timed speed dating activity where they will be given forms to fill out with questions to ask to each other.


Primary Sources Used
Resources Needed




Lesson Target
  • Students will be able to locate information about their designated individual.
  • Students will be able to interpret information through research regarding their individual.
  • Students will be able to create a biography regarding their designated individual.
  • Students will be able to connect their knowledge regarding their individual into a speed dating activity.
Lesson Themes Innnovators
Lesson Procedure
Step Procedure Time Differentiation plan / Additional Information
1 Begin with the PP slide with primary source. In the same presentation will be an introduction to biography. After presentation, pass out forms titled "Things to find" (in Resources). Discuss with students what you expect out of them during their research and biography. Next, decide which figures each student will research. This can be done in any way possible.    
2 Allow students the rest of the class period to research and begin their biographies with their one to one laptop. The research and biographies will need to be completed by the next class period.     
3 The next day, if your classroom uses tables this will be much easier, but if desks are in your room create individual tables out of them. I would suggest anywhere from 4-5 students per table, and organize them in an easy to use way. Lay roughly 20-25 forms on each table. These forms are titled "Speed Dating Forms" (In Resources). You will give students 3-4 minutes to have a "speed date" with each other. Students should fill out at least 4 speed dating forms throughout the entire activity. Make sure students do not just switch forms with each other and write down answers regarding their own figure, students should in many ways read their biography but make sure they are reading it as if they were that figure. Students will turn in typed biography before leaving for the day.     
4 Once speed dating activity is completed, have students staple all of their speed dating forms together. Students will then be asked to create a half page reflection about their favorite figure they learned about from the speed dating activity. This will be due the next day in class or submitted online.     
Formative Assessment
(How will you use the formative assessments to monitor and inform instruction?)
  • In this lesson students will do a speed dating activity that will be monitored by the teacher to assess learning on their Iowan figure, most importantly teacher should monitor students ability to communicate how their figure is important to Iowa and U.S. History.
  • Students will also fill out speed dating forms that can also be used to monitor their understanding of other historical figures learned during the speed dating activity.
Summative Assessment
(How does the lesson connect to planned summative assessment(s)?)
  • In this lesson, students will turn in a biography regarding the historical figure appointed to them. This assessment is important for students to develop and understanding of not only their figure but their figure's importance to U.S. History.
  • The reflection is to be turned in to monitor understanding of other figures learned during the speed dating activity. Reflections will be published online for students to look at.
Author Information
Author Bryce Rigdon Reviewer Chad Christopher, History Education, University of Northern Iowa Created 06/13/2019 Last Edited 08/22/2019
Lesson Plan Development Notes: Teaching Methods, University of Northern Iowa, Spring 2019

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