Author: Karyn Clark
Grade Level: 5 – 8
Length of lesson:
1 period
Download Activity

Historical Context:

  • Theme: Change and continuity in American democracy: ideas, institutions, events, key figures, and controversies
  • Era: Development of Modern America (19th and 20th centuries).

Essential Question

How do our current perceptions of Vermont’s and New Hampshire’s involvement in the KKK/race relations differ from what history tells us?

Background Information

  • Maudean Neill, Fiery Crosses in the Green Mountains: The Story of the Ku Klux Klan in Vermont
  • America is in Danger!


Activity Plan

Print copies of the primary sources to use in small groups before step 2.

  1. Assign a five-minute free write, answering the question: Do you believe that people who lived in Vermont and New Hampshire during the late 1800s to early 1900s would participate in the activities of the KKK? Give Reasons as to why or why not.
  2. Small Group Discussions / Poster– Assign students to small groups where they will receive copies of the primary sources. Each group must find as many facts as possible showing that individuals in Vermont and New Hampshire participated in KKK activities and then create a poster showing their original thoughts on Vermonters during this time period and how the primary sources showed otherwise or how they supported their beliefs.
  3. Whole Group – Students share newly discovered information in whole group setting. Discussion should revolve around how our perceptions can differ from what history–through primary sources—shows or how such sources can support our beliefs.


If desired, the free write or the discussion or both can be scored with the simple rubric/ checklist (provided in download).


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