Barbary Pirates Lesson Plan

Instructor: Christopher Sailus

Chris has an M.A. in history and taught university and high school history.

This lesson plan utilizes an informative video lesson to introduce students to three key events of the Jefferson presidency that affected the power of the presidency. Students' learning is further enhanced through performing research and then presenting their findings in a creative, engaging way to inform their classmates.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Explain the First Barbary War
  • Explain U.S. involvement (or lack thereof) in the Napoleonic Wars
  • Explain the Chesapeake-Leopard Affair
  • Explain the Embargo Act of 1807


1.5 - 2 hours


  • Copies of a worksheet created using the quiz from the associated lesson, one for each student
  • Poster board
  • Markers or colored pencils
  • Assorted arts and crafts material (optional)
  • Internet access

Key Vocabulary

At the conclusion of this lesson, students should be able to identify and define the following vocabulary terms:

  • Napoleonic Wars
  • First Barbary War
  • Chesapeake-Leopard Affair
  • Embargo Act of 1807

Curriculum Standards


Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.


Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective, such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, alternative or opposing perspectives are addressed, and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and a range of formal and informal tasks.

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