Grade 8 Lesson Plan

Subject: Social Studies

Topic: Historical Thinking and Skills

Content Standard: Primary and secondary sources are used to examine events from multiple perspectives and to present and defend a position.  [Side note: While this is a social studies standard for 8th grade, this lesson plan loosely connects to this standard. This is due to the fact that most of the standards for 8th grade social studies are centered on American history topics. However, the discussion of primary and secondary sources is still a topic that is covered in 8th grade.]

Objectives (“I Can” Statements): I can create a presentation about a Sisters of Notre Dame school built in Ohio using primary and secondary sources.


  • Computers/iPads/Other technology
  • Art Supplies (construction paper, magazines, markers, glue, scissors, etc.)
  • Books or access to the library


  1. The teacher will review what a primary and secondary source is, as this is a topic students should be familiar with. Since 8th graders learn a great deal about American history, the teacher may choose to review primary and secondary sources from the American Revolution. The teacher will hold up an item (i.e. a book written about the Boston Tea Party) or show one on the board and ask the class if it’s a primary or secondary source.
  2. Students will be placed in groups of 4 and will be given a school that was built by the Sisters of Notre Dame from the 1940s or later. A list of schools can be found here:
  3. Students will find primary (i.e. interview past or current staff or students) and secondary (i.e. books, websites, etc.) sources about their school in order to create a presentation. Students may create any type of presentation they want – they should be creative. A list of different websites and apps to create presentations can be found here:
  4. The following items need to be included in their presentation:
    a. History of the school and the SND influence
    b. How it has changed over the years since it was built
    c. The way teachers taught then and now
    d. Current and past dress code
    e. Typical schedule of a student when it was first built and now
    f.  Pictures
    g. At least 3 primary sources and 3 secondary sources
  5. Students will present their presentation to the class.


The teacher may choose to use the presentation as a group grade or group and individual grade by using a rubric. They may also want to have students evaluate themselves and their group members as a part of this grade.


The Life of Sister Superior Louise (by Chapter)