Alcatraz Prison Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Teach about the infamous prison Alcatraz with this lesson plan. Students will read a text lesson giving the history and facts of the prison, discuss content and explore in creative ways.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • explain the history of Alcatraz
  • discuss the infamous prisoners of Alcatraz
  • describe why Alcatraz closed


1 hour


Key Vocabulary

  • Fortress
  • Remote

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.1

Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.2

Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarize the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.3

Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.4

Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 5 topic or subject area.

Warm-Up and Preparation

  • Show students a map of the San Francisco Bay area and have students locate Alcatraz Island.
  • Ask students to discuss the location of the island and consider the question, 'Why may the government have decided to put a prison here?'
  • After this conversation, ask: 'Is it possible to escape from a prison on this island? How?'
  • Allow students to feel the ice water and explain the temperature of the water in the bay to add to the conversation.

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