Reconstruction Comprehensive Unit: Interactive Slides, Student Questions, & Primary Source


This comprehensive unit provides an interactive, engaging guide for teaching history students about the Reconstruction Era, complete with a PPT, Google Slides, primary source activity, and student questions.

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If you are an American history teacher and need a great PowerPoint (or Google Slides) on the Reconstruction, you are in the right place! This lesson will teach students about about the different types of Reconstruction (e.g. Abraham Lincoln’s Ten Percent Plan, Andrew Johnson’s Presidential Reconstruction, and the Congressional Reconstruction). It also teaches about Ulysses S. Grant’s presidency and the Compromise of 1877 which would end Reconstruction.

To make the lesson more interactive, there is one slide with a Thomas Nast cartoon. This slide includes questions (with answers) that students can answer in groups and be turned into a class discussion.

There are many slides; this presentation could be completed in one class or divided into two classes. One class could be the first part of the PowerPoint with added discussions or activities. Then the second class could be the second half of the presentation.

This is a useful PowerPoint (or Google Slides) you can use to present to your class or give to them to study on their own (students could read the slides and the notes). The design is professional and with the right amount of words on each slide (i.e. NO death by PowerPoint). The content is very detailed in the notes, so if you are busy, you could simply open the slides in front of the class and read the notes (it is suggested you review the slides before class though). Furthermore, it includes a guide sheet that you can print and use when presenting. The information in the guide sheet and PPT notes include additional information that is not on the slides (in other words, it will make you look smart!). This way, the teacher can add interesting little comments or data to each slide. You can either print the whole guide sheet, or just the pages you need help with.

You can make changes to the PPT, if you deem it necessary. This presentation can be used in Microsoft PowerPoint or Google Slides (if you want to use Google Slides, just click the link which is found in the first slide).

Content in PPT includes:

  • Abraham Lincoln’s Ten Percent Plan
  • Wade-Davis Bill
  • Lincoln’s assassination
  • Jefferson Davis arrested
  • 13th Amendment
  • Freedmen’s Bureau
  • Carpetbaggers & Scalawags
  • 40 Acres and a Mule
  • Andrew Johnson’s Presidential Reconstruction
  • Black Codes
  • Congressional Reconstruction (Radical Reconstruction)
  • Civil Rights Act
  • 14th Amendment
  • Edwin Stanton
  • Andrew Johnson’s impeachment
  • Election of 1868
  • Ulysses S. Grant’s presidency
  • 15th Amendment
  • Lucretia Mott
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton
  • Susan B. Anthony
  • Ku Klux Klan
  • Sharecroppers
  • Redeemers
  • Panic of 1873
  • Election of 1876
  • Compromise of 1877
  • and more!

This presentations touches on all of the above topics and adds more detail. Students will understand the successes and failures of the Reconstruction Era.

This PPT follows standard American history textbooks.

How to use this presentation:

  • Present the PowerPoint (or Google Slides) in the classroom; one slide includes an interactive activity for students to complete
  • Present the Google Slides via Zoom (if distance learning)
  • Present and discuss – while presenting, get students involved and create discussion questions that get students thinking like a historian and comparing historical events to current events.
  • Print presentation with notes and let students read the slides (and notes)
  • Alternatively: have students view the slides, and they present the material in groups

How to use the historical interactive activity:
One slide has a Thomas Nast cartoon that is an interactive activity. This makes the class more interactive. Here is the suggested use:

  • Have students view the cartoon (it can be viewed on the slide, but you could print the slide for students)
  • Put the students in pairs
  • Ask the provided questions (questions can be found in the notes of the PPT or in the Guide Sheet)
  • Alternatively, you could print the questions on small slips and hand them out
  • Discuss the answers as a class (suggested answers are provided)

Additional information

Grade Level

8th, 9th, 10th

Resource Types

Full Units, Homeschool, PowerPoints, Google Slides


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