Work Ethics Lesson Plan

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

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

Max Weber's theory on the link between Protestantism and capitalism has had a large impact on American history. With this lesson plan, your students will explore that link and analyze the ideas of Max Weber.

Learning Objectives

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

  • Identify Max Weber and his theory of the Protestant work ethic
  • Explain how Weber connects Protestantism and capitalism
  • Critically appreciate how the theory of the Protestant work ethic contributed to American history and archetypes


90-120 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.


Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that probe reasoning and evidence; ensure a hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue; clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions; and promote divergent and creative perspectives.


  • Archetype - symbols, character types or patterns that seem to repeat themselves over time. Carl Jung, the Swiss psychotherapist, coined the term 'archetype' suggesting that humans at large have the same innate wiring guiding their decisions and behaviors leading to these reoccuring patterns.


  • Excerpts from Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism that show Weber's connection between Protestantism and capitalism

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