Beacon Lesson Plan Library
Cemetery of Famous Americans
Leon County Schools
Students conduct research on a famous American and create a tombstone for a class bulletin board.
The student understands the impact of significant people, events and ideas on the development of the United States (for example, Thomas Jefferson, Manifest Destiny).
-Gray construction paper
-American history text
-Tombstone Activity Sheet, one per student (See Associated File)
-Sample Epitaphs (See Associated File)
1. Prior to activity, set up a class library to provide research materials, sign up for the school computer lab, or sign up to use the school media center.
2. Download Sample Epitaphs. (See Associated File)
3. Download and copy the Tombstone Activity Sheet, one per student. (See Associated File)
4. Prior to the second day, set up a station complete with construction paper, markers, crayons, colored pencils, scissors, etc.
Note: This lesson plan works best at the end of the year, after a thorough study of American history.
1. Ask students if they know what an epitaph is. After providing an opportunity for students to respond, define “epitaph” as an inscription or saying on a tombstone in memory of a dead person.
2. Share the attached epitaphs (See Associated File) of famous people with the students. Discuss the different types of epitaphs and what is included in each.
3. Tell students they will be conducting research on a famous American and creating a tombstone and epitaph for him or her.
4. Ask each student to select an important American to research.
5. Using the class text, resources in the classroom, the Internet, and/or school media center, have students use at least two separate sources in completing the research.
6. Distribute the Tombstone Activity Sheet (See Associated File) and give students time to conduct research in class.
7. If students have not completed the Tombstone Activity Sheet by the end of class, instruct them to finish at home if possible.
8. Prior to the beginning of class the next day, set up stations with construction paper, markers, crayons, colored pencils, scissors, etc.
9. Do a quick check to determine if students have completed the Tombstone Activity Sheet.
10. Provide the class period for students to complete the tombstones. Each tombstone should contain the individual's name, dates of birth and death, one major accomplishment, and a one-sentence saying (humorous or serious) which reflects the individual's major contribution to American life.
11. After class, post the tombstones on a bulletin board chronologically.
12. In class the next day, ask the students to make a short presentation in which they share their tombstone, epitaph, a short presentation of the accomplishments of their individual, and his or her importance to America's history. Presentations should be done in a chronological fashion.
1. Tombstones should be assessed on the inclusion of the individual's name, dates of birth and death, one major accomplishment, and a one-sentence saying (humorous or serious) which reflects the individual's major contribution to American life.
2. Student presentations should be informal but should include all components mentioned in number 1 above.
Students could be asked to complete a more formal paper or presentation on the individuals they researched and these papers would receive a summative evaluation.
A&E Television Network Website for the History Channel Biographies
A&E Television Network Website for the Biography Channel Biographies