Russian Revolution Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught middle and high school history, and has a master's degree in Islamic law.

This lesson plan can be a useful tool to help you guide your students through the many revolutions that Russian underwent from 1905-1917. Using a video, it guides through the transition from Tsardom to Communist state.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this lesson, students should be able to do the following:

  • Link the Revolution of 1905 with the founding of the Duma
  • See how war led to the February and October Revolutions
  • Link the exit of the Russians from World War I to the chaos going on in Russia itself during that period


1 hour 20 minutes with the additional activity

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.


  • As a warm-up, ask students to compare Russia at the turn of the century to the rest of Europe, keeping in mind, that Russia had just been beaten in the Russo-Japanese War.
  • Show the video lesson The Russian Revolution: Timeline, Causes, & Effects
  • Pause the video at the following points to ask these discussion questions:
    • 3:02 - Had Nicholas II not been so unpopular, how do you think that the Revolution of 1905 would have occurred? Would it have even happened? Do you think that Nicholas II's attitude with respect to the establishment of the Duma and the constitution could have been better in order to avoid future disturbances?
    • 4:11 - Point out to students that the February Revolution actually happened in our March. Ask students how they think that the war affected the mood of soldiers? What about the state of the government?
    • 5:36 - Point out that the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk meant massive territory losses for the Russians. Ask students why was Lenin so eager to end the war? How do you think that the disagreements between moderate and radical elements played into this decision?


  • Ask the students to prepare for a debate.
  • Divide the students into three groups.
    • The first group should be of the opinion that everything is fine in Russia.
    • The second group should argue that there need to be changes, but not during a war and not to get rid of the Tsar.
    • The third group should argue for a complete revolution.
  • At first, grant the students supporting the Tsar more power, practically only allowing the third group only a few words occasionally.
  • After two rounds of debate, acknowledge that Lenin has been sent back to Russia, and now, the third group can raise their hand, you will cut off the other groups to let the third group talk.
  • Slowly, have the students from the other two groups join the third group so their opinions can be heard.


  • The novel Animal Farm is largely inspired by the events of the Russian Revolution. If your students have read this work, have them match up events from the novel to historical occurrences.
  • Encourage students to research the Russian Civil War, especially the role of foreign intervention. Why would the Americans and others want to fight?

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