Lesson Plans

1:1 lesson

Lesson overview: It’s 1867 at a polling place in Norfolk, Virginia. Congress has passed the Reconstruction Acts and Southern states must write new constitutions. Voters will choose delegates to the Constitutional Convention and Black men’s votes will be counted for the first time. This lesson reviews the various mindsets of individuals who lived in Virginia in 1867, and the struggles formerly enslaved people faced to fulfill their right to vote and change the institutions that often worked against them and their desire to integrate into a free society.

Essential Question: How did freedpeople use institutions to create social change during Reconstruction?

Driving Questions: Why was the right to vote considered sacred to freedpeople living in Southern states after the Civil War?

Lesson Progression

  • The teacher will introduce Reconstruction 360 and determine prior knowledge about the Reconstruction period through group classroom responses using Padlet. Padlet is an application to create an online bulletin board that you can use to display information for any topic. A QR code is provided under the resources that will link student’s individual tablets/devices to the Padlet application where students can respond to the prior knowledge prompt.
  • The teacher will lead classroom discussion based on the responses individual students post on the first Padlet prompt.
    • Prompt Response #1 - List 5 things you know about Reconstruction. – prior knowledge prompt shown and answered by individual students in the class on their tablets/devices prior to watching the module. If the teacher has completed any of the previous Reconstruction 360 lessons, prior knowledge could include five things students learned from completing those lessons.
  • The teacher will direct students in watching the immersive 360 video/module, The First Vote. The teacher will lead students in a discussion about the second prompt.
  • Prompt Response #2 – What are your initial observations about the place, the events, and the people shown in the video - The First Vote .
  • The teacher will place students in eight groups to explore the module more thoroughly. The persons/topics assigned are as follows: White U.S. Army Soldier, Freedwoman, Confederate Army Veterans, Black U.S. Army Soldier, Poor Freedman, Craftsman, Ballot Box, and Returning Voter.
  • Groups should explore the module by clicking on the hotspots embedded within the video.
  • Students are allowed to use resources outside of the video and the hotspots. Additional resources are listed in the lesson progression.


This activity is based loosely on the idea that between us all, there are only six degrees of separation. The teacher will place students into eight different groups, giving each group an assertion that is based on the person/topic/hotspot they have been assigned. The goal is to connect the assertion to the driving question using six slides. The teacher can determine which program will be used, and what multimedia combinations (pictures, text, sound, video, etc…) can be used. Slides should not project opinion but use facts to connect the assertion to the driving question.

First Vote Assertions – Six Degrees of Separation

White U.S. Army Soldier – Federal soldiers in charge of Southern elections were necessary to ensure the enfranchisement of Blacks after the Civil War.

Freedwoman – In a time when no female could vote, Black women were vital to the support of the enfranchisement of Black males.

Confederate Army Veterans – Changes in society, and the fear that was generated by the changes, led to extreme measures by former Confederate veterans and freedpeople.

Black U.S. Army Soldier – Those who fought to preserve the Union and the freedom for all Blacks were often the most vocal in seeking the right to vote.

Poor Freedman – Despite entering society with little to no financial security, freedmen were determined to better themselves and their communities by voting and taking part in the political process that ensured the passage of the 15th Amendment.

Craftsman – Freed Blacks, who gained their freedom before the Civil War, led African American communities during Reconstruction, encouraging voting, providing economic assistance, and helping newly freed people struggling to find their place in society.

Ballot Box – Disenfranchisement of Blacks was the goal of many Southern whites who feared the power of the vote and the freedom it gave freedmen. The ballot box became a literal representation of the fear of Southern whites and the ingenuity of individuals who sought to preserve the rights of freedmen.

Returning Voter – The power of the vote was evident to African Americans before Reconstruction was established.

Lesson Progression

  • At this point, students have been placed in groups and the group has explored the module, The First Vote.
  • Student groups correspond to the hot spots created within the video.
  • The teacher has assigned each group an assertion that connects specifically with the hotspot the group was assigned.
  • Each group is given an “assertion chart”. The chart is included in the resources. This chart is the groundwork by which groups will create the slides that connect their assertion to the driving question. The progress of the chart goes from general information to specific information that is targeted to help students connect their assertion to the driving question.

Group Assessment Activity

  • Groups will be assessed on how successfully they relate their assigned assertion to the driving question. Groups will be asked to continue the “Slide Book” begun with the video, A Seat at the Table. If that lesson was not completed, students must create a new “Slide Book”. If this is a continuation of the first “Slide Book”, students will be adding a chapter 7 titled The First Vote.
  • A rubric is provided under Resources.

Terms and Definitions

  • Radical Republicans – A Republican favoring drastic and usually repressive measures against south states in the period following the Civil War.
  • Reconstruction Acts – Outlined the terms for readmission to the representation of rebel states.
  • Fourteenth Amendment (1870) - granted citizenship and equal civil and legal rights to African Americans and slaves who had been emancipated after the American Civil War, including them under the umbrella phrase “all persons born or naturalized in the United States.”
  • Nineteenth Amendment (1920) – This amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the United States and its states from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States on the basis of sex, in effect recognizing the right of women to vote.
  • 1965 Voting Rights Act – A landmark piece of federal legislation in the United State that prohibited racial discrimination in voting.
  • Enfranchisement – The giving of a right or privilege, especially the right to vote.
  • Ku Klux Klan – A domestic terrorist organization founded shortly after the United State Civil War ended. It used intimidation, violence, and murder to maintain white supremacy in Southern government and social life.
  • Ku Klux Klan Acts (1871) – A series of acts intended to combat attacks upon the suffrage rights of African Americans.
  • National Convention of Colored Men – (1864) – A meeting held in Syracuse, N.Y. of 144 delegates from 18 states that advocated for the right of black men to vote.
  • Civil Rights Act of 1866 - Granted citizenship and equal rights to all persons born in the United States (except Native Americans).
  • Fifteenth Amendment (1870) - Protected the voting rights of African American men.
  • Civil Rights Act of 1875 - Outlawed racial segregation in public services. Ensured the right of African Americans to serve as jurors.
  • Military Reconstruction Act - U.S. legislation enacted in 1867–68 that outlined the conditions under which the Southern states would be readmitted to the Union following the American Civil War (1861–65).
  • Samuel C. Jolie – This man designed a glass ballot box as a way to end voting corruption and create transparency in the voting process.
  • The Equal Suffrage Address (1865) – This manifesto was written by the Colored Monitor Union Club in Norfolk, Virginia. This address was distributed nationally and call for “the right of universal suffrage to all loyal men without distinction of color”.


Please note, the links provided in the resources are current as of the publication of this lesson. Links often change or become inaccessible. It is always advisable to check the viability of the links provided.

Padlet QR code connection to the two group response questions - https://bit.ly/3FYCpIA





Assertion Chart

My hotspot is:

My Assertion is:

What I learned from the class prompts What I learned from my hotspot Information that would be helpful to know Facts that connect my assertion to the driving question


Category 4 3 2 1 0
Focus The 6 slides had a clear & consistent focus. It was easy to determine exactly the connections the presenter was trying to make. One could easily see how the assertion connected to the driving question. There were clear and consistent connections between the 6 slides. However, it was harder to see how the assertion connected to the driving question. There were only 4 or 5 slides present. There was a lack of consistency between the slides. With explanation, one could see the connection between the assertion and the driving question. There were 3 or fewer slides present. Connections were hazy at best. One had difficulty understanding how the assertion and driving question connected. There were 3 or fewer slides present. The presentation was not focused and the assertion and driving question did not connect.
Support and Elaboration There was plenty of supporting information, evidence to make the presenter’s point. The presenter thoroughly convinced his/her audience of the connections between the assertion and the driving question. The presenter provided enough support to show connections between the assertion and the driving question, but some clarification was needed to understand the connection. There was a fair amount of supporting information, but it was too sparse. The presenter did not sufficiently elaborate on the connections between the assertion and the driving question. The slides added little to the understanding of the connections. The presenter relied too heavily on the idea that connections were apparent. The slides added nothing to the understanding of the connections. The slides showed no evidence of a connection between the assertion and the driving question. The assertion and the driving question did not connect.
Style The text and the visual design were clear, interesting, and appropriate to the purpose and audience of the presentation. Fonts, colors, etc. seem well chosen to reflect the presenter’s purpose and aided in one’s ability to process the visual content of the presentation. The text and visual design were clear and interesting but somewhat inconsistent in style. Although the design may not have distracted from the content it also did not enhance one’s ability to understand the presentation. The layout and color choices distracted somewhat from the content of the presentation. At times it was unclear what the presenter was trying to convey. The text of the slides was reasonably clear. Fonts and layout were inconsistent. The “look” of the presentation distracted from its purpose, making it easy to lose focus on the points the presenter was trying to make. Fonts, and layout seem almost random. The design was confusing and made it difficult to understand and focus on the presentation.
Conventions The presentation was easy to read; the text was free of errors. There were one or a few errors in grammar, spelling, or usage, but they did not distract from the content. Text was clear and easily readable. There were several errors in grammar, spelling, or usage. Text was not as readable as it could have been-it was more “cute” than readable. Layout of the slides may not have been consistent throughout the presentation, resulting in some confusion. There were many errors in grammar, spelling, or usage. The layout was inconsistent. Text varied from slide to slide making the presentation difficult to understand. The presentation was riddled with errors that detracted from the content. The layout of the slides was very inconsistent and made comprehension difficult, and the text was often difficult to read.

SC Standards

Grade 4: Standard 5 – Indicators 4.5.CC, 4.5.P, 4.5.CO, 4.5.CE, 4.5.E

Grade 8: Standard 4 – Indicator 8.4.CO, 8.4.CX, 8.4.CC, 8.4.E

US History: Standard 2 – Indicators USHC.2.CX, USHC.2.CC