House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC)

Lesson Author
Required Time Frame
4 days minimum
Grade Level(s)
Lesson Abstract
Students will read through the Bill of Rghts and put into their own words what those rights mean today. They will then prioritize those rights as they apply to students.

Individual assignments using primary sources – transcripts from HUAC investigations; The US Constitution

Rationale (why are you doing this?)

Students will understand their constitutional rights and responsibilities

Lesson Objectives - the student will
  • Identify rights guaranteed in 1st, 4th, and 5th amendments
  • Describe situations that tested these rights
District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met
  • Knowledge of Bill of Rihts
  • Understanding of Cold War events, McCarthyism,
  • Apply knowledge and understanding of historical events to current events

Missouri Standards

1. Principles expressed in the documents shaping constitutional democracy in the United States

2. Continuity and change in the history of Missouri, the United States and the world

Kansas Standards

Benchmark 2: The student understands the shared ideals and diversity of American society and political culture.

1. (K) recognizes that a nation’s values are embodied in the Constitution, statutes, and important court cases (e.g., Dred Scott vs. Sanford, Plessy vs. Ferguson, Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka).

2. (K) understands core civic values inherent in the United States Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence that have been the foundation for unity in American society (e.g., right to free speech, religion, press, assembly; equality; human dignity; civic responsibility, sovereignty of the people).

Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed
  • Textbooks
  • A+ computer program
  • Video: The Majestic
Primary sources needed (document, photograph, artifact, diary or letter, audio or visual recording, etc.) needed
  • HUAC transcripts
  • US Constitution
  • Video from HUAC hearings
  • Photocopy of loyalty oaths
Technology Required

 Computer programs, Truman Library Website, DVD/TV

Fully describe the activity or assignment in detail. What will both the teacher and the students do?

Students will read through the Bll of Rghts and put into their own words what those rights mean today. They will then prioritize those rights as they apply to students.

Students will view videos on the HUAC hearings, read transcripts taken, and write a 1 page reflection paper on those events.

Students will view the video The Majestic and write a brief summary of the video explaining how it relates to this topic.

Assessment: fully explain the assessment method in detail or create and attach a scoring guide

I will give the students a 25 point test including matching, short answer, and 1 essay question which will demonstrate their knowledge of terminology, names of people involved, and their interpretation of the phrase “Does the end justify the means?” as it relates to Cold War issues.