The American Enlightenment Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Help students understand the American Enlightenment with this lesson plan. Students will watch a video lesson reviewing the Dark Ages and explaining aspects of the American Enlightenment. Discussion questions, a quiz and activity are included.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • explain the Renaissance, the Scientific Revolution and the Protestant Reformation and the effect of the Enlightenment on American religion and government
  • describe how Enlightenment thinkers impacted the perception of government
  • discuss how they ideas of the Enlightenment spread through the colonies


1 - 1.5 hours


  • Access to the internet
  • Copies of the lesson quiz, one for each student

Key Vocabulary

  • Enlightenment
  • John Locke
  • Deism
  • Republicanism

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.9-10.3

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.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1

Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.


  • Engage students with topic of Enlightenment by having them journal to the following prompt:

'What does the phrase 'in the dark' mean?'

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