Karl Marx Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Are your students familiar with Karl Marx? This lesson plan uses both text and video lessons to teach students about Marx's life and work. An activity highlights his theories in action.


  • 1.5 to 2 hours

Learning Objectives

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

  • outline the life and work of Karl Marx
  • summarize the theories of Karl Marx

Curriculum Standards


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


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.


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.


Analyze how a text uses structure to emphasize key points or advance an explanation or analysis.


Integrate quantitative or technical analysis (e.g., charts, research data) with qualitative analysis in print or digital text.



  • Begin by displaying a photograph of Karl Marx for the class.
  • Ask students if anyone recognizes the person in the photograph, allowing them to share their thoughts in a brief class discussion.
  • Pass out the paper copies of the text lesson Karl Marx: Biography, Books & Philosophy, one per student.
  • Instruct the class to read the introduction, 'Unintended Consequences' and 'Biography' sections of the text lesson.
    • What is meant by the term 'consequences'?
    • What personal consequences occurred as a result of Karl Marx's writing?
  • Ask the class to read the rest of the text lesson now.
    • What is 'communism'?
    • What can you tell about the theories of Karl Marx based on what you've read in the text lesson?
    • Has anyone heard of 'socialism'?
  • Play the video lesson Karl Marx's Theories: Class Differentiation and Revolution, Socialism & Capitalism and pause it at 2:54.
    • How relevant are Karl Marx's social theories now?
  • Play the rest of the video lesson for the class now.
    • Do you agree with the statement on Capitalism that the rich just keep getting richer?
    • If Socialism were the norm in America, how would things change?


Part 1

  • Pass out the worksheet and ask students to work independently to complete it.
  • After completing the quiz, explain to students that all grades will be averaged together and each student will receive the same grade. Students that do poorly will benefit, students that do well won't. *After grading, allow students to see their earned grade and their averaged grade.

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