⁣⁣Lesson Plan: Discovering America's History: U.S. Capitol, National Mall, and White House Bike Tour

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⁣⁣Lesson Plan: Discovering America's History: U.S. Capitol, National Mall, and White House Bike Tour

Grade Level: 9-12

Objective: By the end of this lesson, students will be able to explore the rich history and iconic landmarks of Washington D.C. through a guided bike tour of the U.S. Capitol, National Mall, and White House. Students will learn about the significance of these landmarks, the history of American democracy, and the importance of civic engagement while developing their physical fitness and historical awareness.

Common Core Standards:
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.1: Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.11-12.2: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.1.B: Work with peers to set rules for collegial discussions and decision-making.

- Access to the internet or library resources
- Bicycles and helmets (if available)
- Paper and pencils


1. Introduction (5 minutes):
- Begin the lesson by discussing the significance of Washington D.C. as the capital of the United States and the importance of its landmarks in American history.
- Show images or videos of the U.S. Capitol, National Mall, and White House to capture students' interest and curiosity.

2. Research and Discussion (15 minutes):
- Instruct students to research and find information about the U.S. Capitol, National Mall, and White House, focusing on their historical significance and architectural features.
- Encourage students to explore topics such as the construction of the U.S. Capitol, the purpose of the National Mall, and the role of the White House as the residence of the President.
- Allow students to discuss their findings in small groups or pairs.

3. Bike Tour Preparation (15 minutes):
- Explain the logistics of the bike tour, including the route, safety precautions, and the importance of respecting the security measures around the White House.
- If bicycles and helmets are available, provide a demonstration on proper bike safety and etiquette.
- Assign students to small groups and distribute maps or guidebooks outlining the bike tour route.

4. Guided Bike Tour (60 minutes):
- Conduct the guided bike tour, leading students through the U.S. Capitol, National Mall, and White House.
- Along the way, stop at specific points of interest, such as historic monuments or memorials, to provide historical context and engage students in discussions about the significance of these landmarks.
- Encourage students to take notes on historical facts, architectural details, and any observations or questions that arise during the tour.

5. Reflective Writing and Discussion (10 minutes):
- After completing the bike tour, have students individually write a short reflection on their experience.
- Prompt students to describe their favorite landmark visited, any new historical insights gained, and their thoughts on the importance of civic engagement.
- Allow students to share their reflections with the class and engage in a group discussion on the role of landmarks in preserving and promoting national identity.

Common Core Labels Correlations:

Join me for a bike ride to some of the most popular sites in Washington, D.C. We begin with a ride around the U.S. Capitol and then we cruise on down to the White House and National Mall. Please excuse the bumps along the way!

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