Czars Of Russia Lesson Plan

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

Through a lesson, group discussion, and living history activity, your students are going to learn about the czars of Russia, including the roles and controversies surrounding this position.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Define the position and role of the czar in Russian history
  • Identify several of the notable czars in Russian history
  • Demonstrate empathy with historical actors


90-120 minutes, divided between two class periods

Curriculum Standards


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


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.


Work with peers to set rules for collegial discussions and decision-making (e.g., informal consensus, taking votes on key issues, presentation of alternate views), clear goals and deadlines, and individual roles as needed.



  • Start class by talking about Russia.
    • Where is Russia?
    • Historically, what kind of government did Russia have? What happened to it?
  • Distribute copies of the lesson Russian Czars: History & Timeline, and break students into groups of 3-4. Students will read this lesson in their groups, with one student reading aloud at a time, switching with every paragraph.
  • Using this method, have students read the sections ''The Czars of Russia'' and ''Ivan IV: The First Czar''. Pause here and discuss this information.
    • What is a czar? What kind of power did the czar have? Why do you think the czars and the nobles clashed? What did each want?
    • Why did Ivan IV become the first czar? What was he trying to prevent or accomplish? What does Ivan's behavior tell us about the power of the czar?
  • In their groups, have students read the sections ''Michael Romanov and the Emergence of a Dynasty'' and ''Romanov Triumphs in the 18th Century''. Pause here and discuss this information.
    • What is a dynasty? What impact can a dynasty have on a country? Why?
    • Who were some of the prominent Romanov emperors? How did they define Russia's position in relation to Europe and Asia? What were their main goals?
  • In their groups, have students continue reading the lesson and complete the remaining sections. Discuss this information.
    • What led to the downfall of the Romanov dynasty? Why do you think the Russian people chose not to recognize a new czar? What issues did people have with monarchies by the early 20th century?
  • You may test student understanding with the lesson quiz.

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