Ralph Waldo Emerson Lesson Plan

Instructor: Josh Corbat

Josh has taught Earth Science and Physical Science at the High School level and holds a Master of Education degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Use this lesson plan to introduce students to Ralph Waldo Emerson and his works. Students will read a lesson, create a timeline of Emerson's life, and think critically about some of his works.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • outline Ralph Waldo Emerson's life
  • list a few of Emerson's most famous works
  • discuss Emerson's contributions to American Transcendentalism


60-90 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.


Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information to make important connections and distinctions; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.


  • Excerpts from Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay Nature, one for each group
  • Copies of a a timeline template, one for each student
  • Printed copies of some of Emerson's shorter poems (such as Brahma, Concord Hymn, Days, Each and All, Experience, Fate, Give All to Love, Good-Bye, Hamatreya, Limits, Ode to Beauty, Parks and ponds, The Past, The Snow-Storm, Terminus, and Water)
  • Access to the internet for research

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