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Name Lauren Sweers

Subject: World History Grade: 10 Length of Lesson: 50 minutes

Lesson Topic The Rise of Marxism


Content Standards CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.2

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.
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.

Understanding At the end of this lesson, students should understand that the Industrial
Goals Revolution caused major division between the lower and upper classes,
which is why people began to advocate for the rights of the oppressed
lower class and inspired the political philosophy of Marx and Engels.

Student Learning 1. Students will be able to explain the major principles of Communism
Objectives orally and through written language.
2. Students will be able to name and briefly describe the events and
ideologies that contributed to the rise of Marxist thought in the time of
the Industrial Revolution.
3. Students will be able to analyze current political and social thought to
recognize ideas that are similar to Marx’s principles.


Performance Tasks Students respond to the Observation Data Students will demonstrate
journal prompt as homework, discussing the understanding during class in small group
primary text and its context in the Industrial discussion and large group questioning.

Verbal questioning (Found in the lesson plan sequence)


Time Activity
5 minutes Anticipatory set

Students arrive and sit at their seats, where they find a notecard with
their name and a unique role describing their social class/work
situation. They write a brief explanation on the notecard of whether
they are proletariat or bourgeoisie based on the reading.

10 minutes Lesson intro

(Teacher welcomes students and asks them to take out the primary
source text, Manifesto of the Communist Party by Marx and Engels)

Will all of the proletariats raise their hands? (Students raise hands) And
now all the bourgeoisie? (Students raise hands) Thank you. Later, as we
talk about portions of the text I will ask you to move or do/say certain
things, so do pay attention to the role you’re playing. Q: What were
your first impressions of the reading by Marx and Engels? Did anything
stand out to, especially in light of our discussion on the Industrial
Revolution last class? (Students answer, guided by questions that prod
at the context of the time the Communist Manifesto was written.) Q:
Explain what distinguishes the proletariat class apart from the
bourgeoisie class according to Marx and Engels. (Students answer. The
class uses the text to back up their responses.)

10 minutes Reviewing the text/Activity

What kind of text is this? It’s not a letter or a story, it’s not a sacred text,
it’s not a code of morals- it’s a manifesto, “a public declaration of policy
and aims, especially one issued before an election by a political party or
candidate.” The Communist Manifesto is one of the most influential
political documents in all of history. It was published in 1848 as a
pamphlet in Germany by Karl Marx and Freidrich Engels, two German
philosophers. Marx and Engels, in this section of the document, describe
their philosophy on how social classes are born, divide, and eventually
revolutionize. This is what shapes their political belief that “the history
of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles." As we
talked about before, they saw society as split into two major classes: the
bourgeoisie and the proletariat.

(Teacher calls on a student) Can you tell us about the character on your
notecard? (Student tells class his/her role) Are you a part of the
bourgeoisie or the proletariat? (Student answers, giving reason) Class,
does this seem about right? (Pause and response) I think so too.
(Teacher repeats this process with 5-6 more students from both sides of
the room.)

So now we have a better idea of who these people were. It wasn’t a

clean split between the rich and the poor- there were a lot of people in-
between and within different social and economic circumstances. But
The Communist Manifesto tries to simplify the classes to make a point.
There were a few people who had a lot of money and therefore a lot of
power, and the larger majority of people who were poor, working for
the bourgeoisie and living at the mercy of the system ruled by the rich
and powerful.

What if, though, the proletariat realized how many more there were of
them than the bourgeoisie? Can I have the bourgeoisie come to this side
of the room, and the proletariat come to this side of the room?
(Students move to opposite sides of the room.)

What if you all (to the proletariat) started to feel oppressed and angry at

how unfair things were, and you did the math and there were a whole
lot more of you than these guys over here? (to the bourgeoisie) You
would rise up to fight for your rights- or in Marx’s and Engels’ words,
you would revolutionize! And Marx and Engels theorized that that’s how
societies have risen and fallen since the beginning of history. In their
time of unbridled capitalism and industrialization, you can imagine their
ideas certainly didn’t seem far-fetched!

18 minutes Analyzing the text

We’re going to break into small groups to discuss how Marx and Engels
perceive this process, which they believe has repeated itself again and
again throughout history, and how they seek to fix the problem with
Communism. You will have 15 minutes to complete the worksheet with
notes from your discussion. (Teacher splits students into preassigned
groups of 3-4 students, and gives them a list of questions to take notes
on and guide discussion. As students discuss, teacher visits each group
and sits in on discussions, asking prompting questions.)

(Students do small group work for 15 minutes)

10 minutes Debriefing

Please finish up your conversations and note taking. The groups will take
turns answering the questions from the worksheet. We’ll start with this
group… (ask group question from worksheet, and student(s) explain
their thoughts.) Do any of the other groups have something to add?
Anything you disagree with? (Repeat this process for all the questions)
*Students MUST refer to the text in their responses.

Something to think about for you all… do you think Marx and Engels
were right in their theory? Saying so doesn’t necessarily make you a
Communist- maybe you agree partially, maybe not at all. Philosophers
like to find patterns in history and humanity, and sometimes things can
become oversimplified, but they often at least carry some truth even if
they are misguided.

Possible summative assessment: Write a one or two page response

answering these questions: Were Marx and Engels accurate, at least to

an extent, about the clash of the classes? Do you think these classes
exist in our own society, or is it not so black-and-white?

0 minutes Closing

(announcements, follow-up questions, etc)

Teacher Student
- Primary source text - Primary source text
- Worksheets
- Notecards with names/roles
- Small group pre-assignments

Type Rationale
none This lesson plan focuses on the discussion and analysis of a primary
source document, so the use of technology would distract rather than
assist the lesson plan content.

Learning Styles (VARK)

Visual Lesson activity uses visual representation of the division of the classes

Auditory Verbal questioning/responding

Reading/Writing Writing prompt at beginning of class and note-taking on discussion

Kinesthetic Students get up and move around the room for lesson activity and

Specific Need # Accommodation
Gifted and Talented

Learning Disabilities

ELL 4 PowerPoint following along with oral explanation to read as well
as listen to content
ADD or ADHD 2 Physical movement during and between different sections of
lessons, minimal lecturing


Post-Lesson Reflection Questions

1. What went well in the lesson and why?

I was much more confident speaking in front of the class than I thought I would be! I was well-
prepared with a marked-up copy of the Manifesto and a fairly deep understanding of the historical
context, and I think students respected that. We also had some great discussion, which is always my

2. What challenges did you face in the lesson and what would you do differently another

I had to sort of throw my original plan out the window because the class had not gotten through
reading more than a paragraph of the Manifesto. In a way this was a great way to build my
confidence and adaptability skills, but I was excited to lead a small-group portion of a lesson so it
was a bummer to have to give that up. I also would have anticipated that students might be
intimidated by the “big words” and abstract concepts in the Manifesto and maybe given them less of
it to read.

3. Examine the list of teaching skills and identify two that you exhibited and one you need to
work on. Explain each choice.

“Think aloud to make the invisible visible to students”- I exhibited this by talking them through the
text line-by-line. I “thought out loud” to dissect the Manifesto with students who were a little lost, and

I tried to get on their level by saying things like “what does Marx mean when he says…?” or “well we
know this leads to that, so then…”

“Relevant and engaging anticipatory set”- I exhibited this by leading students in a brief but hopefully
memorable illustration of how Marx saw the division of classes and process of revolution. I had
students get up out of their seats and go to different sides of the room depending on what letter they
had on a card at their desk, and we talked about the differences between the proletariat and
bourgeoisie based on the groups’ size and power. Students seemed to respond well!

“Prepare and deliver the right amount of content…” I could’ve improved on this by perhaps focusing
on a smaller portion of the text so students would not be overwhelmed in trying to understand the
entire document. I began to sense this as I began the lesson and tried to narrow the points into
simple points corresponding with their question sheets, but hopefully in the future I can keep my
lesson plans from discussing a topic too broadly.