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John Brown & Harpers Ferry, Grades K-5

Lessons, Resources, and Activities Explore an Important Event Leading to the American Civil War

Found In: language arts & literature, social studies, PreK-2, 3-5

Lesson Plans & Activities

Lesson Plans

John Brown’s Raid on Harpers Ferry and John Brown’s Body (Song)
In small groups, students in grade 4 read and analyze three letters or newspaper articles to form more “knowledgeable” opinions of John Brown’s raid.

The Trial of John Brown: A Challenge Scenario for an Upper Elementary Classroom ( MS Word, 205 KB, 9 pgs.)
Students in grade 5 recreate the trial of John Brown to explore the moral issues of slavery and the use of violence to achieve political and social objectives.

Background Resources

John Brown
People, stories, and images associated with Harpers Ferry and John Brown.

John Brown’s Harpers Ferry Raid
Articles, maps, images, and lesson plans.

John Brown Trial (1859)
Includes the trial report and testimony, Brown’s interview and address to the court, Lee’s report, Senate report, and more.

The Portent: John Brown's Raid in American Memory
The Virginia Historical Society website on the 150th anniversary of John Brown's raid on the Federal Armory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia.

John Brown: Hero or Terrorist?
Resources and teaching unit.


last updated: October 7, 2019


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