Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

This lesson plan accompanies the BrainPOP topic, Abraham Lincoln, and can be completed over several class periods. See suggested times for each section.


Students will:

Activate prior knowledge about Abraham Lincoln–who he was and his accomplishments during his

Identify problems and solutions Lincoln addressed during his presidency.

Use critical thinking skills to analyze how Lincoln’s leadership skills led to his legacy as one of the
greatest presidents in American history.

Demonstrate understanding through creative projects, such as coding a museum exhibit or producing a mini-documentary.

Present projects and reflect on new understandings.



The INVESTIGATE and CREATE sections of the lesson require students to use Make-a-Map and Creative Coding projects. Assign the Abraham Lincoln Make-a-Map and specific Creative Coding projects to the class in advance of the lesson.



Approximate time: 20 minutes

Begin the lesson by activating students’ prior knowledge and making real-life connections.  Then show the movie to introduce the topic. 

  1. DISPLAY this Anchor Question on whiteboard and read it aloud: Why is Abraham Lincoln considered one of the greatest Presidents in American history?
    Tell students they will investigate this question over the course of the lesson and will return to it at the end.
  2. ASK students what challenges they think Lincoln confronted during his presidency. Jot their ideas on the board. Read aloud the description below the movie player. 
  3. MAKE CONNECTIONS by asking students to identify someone they think is a strong, effective leader and what traits contribute to his or her success.
  4. WATCH the movie Abraham Lincoln as a whole class on the whiteboard. Turn on the closed caption option to aid in comprehension.



Approximate time: 20-25 minutes

Prompt students’ inquiry and critical thinking skills by having them find key details to build knowledge and understanding.


  1. Students open their Make-a-Map Assignment and select the Problem/Solution template. They type the question they will investigate at the top: What problems did Lincoln face during his years as President?
  2. As students watch the movie again, they identify problems the country confronted during Lincoln’s presidency and how he solved them. Evidence can be text, images, and movie clips.
    Extra Challenge: Prompt students to also include evidence that connects how Lincoln’s accomplishments led to his legacy as one of America’s greatest Presidents.
  3. Students SUBMIT their maps when they are done.



Approximate time: 45-60 minutes

Students demonstrate their understanding by synthesizing their ideas and expressing them through one or more of the following hands-on, creative projects.  They can work individually or collaborate. Remind them to use evidence from their concept maps in their creations.


  • An Interview with Lincoln: The year is 1864 and you’ve landed an interview with President Lincoln! Code an interview that includes questions about the problems the President faced during his term and his solutions to those problems.  
  • A Lincoln Documentary: Produce a mini documentary featuring Lincoln’s accomplishments–from preserving the Union to abolishing slavery–that led to his legacy as one of the greatest leaders in American history. 
  • Lincoln Memorial Museum:  Code a museum exhibit honoring President Lincoln’s extraordinary accomplishments. Bring artifacts to life by having them describe their role in creating a “more perfect union.”



Wrap up the lesson with student presentations and a final reflection on learning.

PRESENT: Students present their completed projects to their classmates. 

WRAP UP: Draw attention to the Anchor Question again: Why is Abraham Lincoln considered one of the greatest Presidents in American history? Students answer the question using their new knowledge.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments