Historical Inquiry- Using Documents to evaluate Stalin

High School 9th Grade Global Studies

LESSON PLAN: 2.5 Russia Under Stalin- Document-based Inquiry

2.5 Stalin document graphic organizer
2.5 Stalin lesson packet


Rationale: This lesson will allow students to explore primary and secondary sources to establish an opinion about how Stalin should be remembered.  Students will take notes on the basics of Stalin’s rule in Russia and then read primary and secondary sources taking notes on the text- thesis, information, or main point of the document, the context- where the document came from and when it was written, and the subtext- the feelings or intent of the document.  Students will be responsible for reading a document in pairs and sharing their findings with the class.  Once the students have the information from all the sources they will be asked to create a commemorative plaque about Stalin’s legacy.

Lesson Objective:
1.  SWBAT explain the different aspects of life in Stalin’s totalitarian Russia
2.  SWBAT identify the different elements of totalitarian control
3.  SWBAT synthesize their knowledge from primary and secondary sources to form an oppinion about Joseph Stalin.

Lesson Assessment
Students will take notes on the mini-lesson using a graphic organizer.  Students will then read the documents and record their findings on a second graphic organizer.  Finally students will create a plaque commemorating Stalin and write a paragraph explaining how they came to the conclusion that they did.

SS.HS.HS.01.02 Interpret the relationship of events occurring over time.
SS.HS.HS.05 Understand the causes, characteristics, lasting influence, and impact of political,
economic, and social developments in world history.
SS.HS.HS.03 Recognize and interpret continuity and/or change with respect to particular historical developments in the 20th century.
SS.HS.SA.02 Gather, analyze, use, and document information from various sources, distinguishing facts, opinions, inferences, biases, stereotypes, and persuasive appeals.
SS.HS.SA.04 Analyze an event, issue, problem, or phenomenon from varied or opposed perspectives or points of view.

1- 85 minute class period

PowerPoint- 2.5 Stalinist Russia
Class copies of Stalin primary and secondary source documents packet
Individual copies of notes lecture graphic organizer
Individual copies of individual graphic organizer/Plaque activity


Beginning of Lesson
5 minutes 1.  Anticipatory set: Show students the two pictures of Joseph Stalin.  Ask what feeling they get from each and ask what the intent of each photo might be.  Explain to students that they will be learning about an important figure in history and forming their own opinion about his legacy.

15 minutes   1. Give a mini-lesson on Stalinist Russia and the different aspects of totalitarian rule.  Explain that the slides are pictures that help illustrate each topic.  Encourage the students to listen and write down points that they think are important.  Have students take notes using the graphic organizer.

15  minutes 2.    Give a mini lesson on reading documents.  Teach students about text, context, and subtext.  Model how to do this with two of the documents.  Explain that students will read the documents and share their findings with the class.  The goal of reading the documents and sharing is for each student to form an opinion about Stalin based on historical evidence. Then have students break into groups of two or three depending on the numbers in the class.  Assign documents to each group for them to read and report back to the class.

Middle of Lesson
15 minutes   4.  Have students read their documents and take notes using the graphic organizer in groups.

15 minutes  5.  Have students follow along in the document packet as each group shares their finding from the documents.

End of Lesson
15 minutes  6.  Have students create their plaque and write their paragraph.

5 minutes    7.  When students are done give them the chance to show the plaques they created on the document camera.

Differentiation:  Students will be asked to work as a  group, present to the class, read independently, and write a fictitious historical museum plaque.

Possible Pitfalls: The lesson has a lot of different components.  I will have to manage transitions effectively.  It will be interesting to see how the students do with the readings and documents.

Plan B:  If students are struggling with the reading I will sit with their group to try and help them better understand what the source is saying.



















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