Lesson Plan

Then and Now: Life in Early America, 1740–1840

Boy's frock or gown, 1800s.
Photo caption

Boy's frock or gown, 1800s.

Have you ever heard the expression, "The more things change, the more they stay the same?" Do you agree? Do your students? Does that old adage correctly characterize changes in America since the time of the Revolution?

Using archival materials, re-creations, and classroom activities, help your students think about which aspects of everyday life — and the people who've lived it — have changed and which have stayed the same in the last 200 years.

Guiding Questions

In what ways is everyday life today significantly different from everyday life 200 years ago?

Learning Objectives

List similarities and differences between the lives of people 200 years ago and people today (e.g., ways of obtaining food, drink, and clothing; having fun; forming organizations; living by rules and laws)

Cite reasons for differences in the way people lived in earlier times and the way they live now

Describe how changes in household tools, communication, transportation, recreation, and technology have changed the way people live and work