Catherine the Great Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Teach your students about Catherine the Great with this lesson plan. Students will read a text lesson explaining her life and accomplishments using comprehension strategies along the way, analyzing content through discussion and activities. Check understanding with a quiz.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • provide a timeline of Catherine the Great's life
  • explain the importance and impact of achievements of Catherine the Great
  • examine the pros and cons of Catherine the Great's rule


1 - 1.5 hours


  • Copies of the lesson Catherine the Great: Biography, Quotes & Facts, one for each student
  • Prepared index cards with events of Catherine the Great's life from this lesson, without dates, one for each small group
  • Maps of 18th century Europe and Russia highlighting areas discussed in this lesson
  • Copies of the quiz, one for each student

Key Vocabulary

  • Grand Duke Peter III
  • Duchess
  • Grigory Orlov
  • Grigory Potemkin
  • Serfdom
  • Pugachev Rebellion
  • The Instruction
  • Hermitage Museum

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.1

Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.2

Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.3

Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.4

Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.

Warm Up and Preparation

  • Divide students into small groups of three or four, giving each group a set of prepared index cards.
  • Ask groups to view events in Catherine the Great's life and attempt to put them in order.
  • When finished, have groups share their thoughts, providing reasons for their choices.
  • Preview lesson vocabulary and ask:
    • Using what you know about this time in history, was it unusual that Catherine was considered great?
    • What do you think a leader would have to do to be considered great?

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