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Lesson Plans

Title: Sectionalism and the Kansas-Nebraska Act

Grades: Middle and High School
Download the Complete Lesson Plan (.pdf, 394KB)

Kansas History Standards (Middle and High School):

  • KH8B3I1 explain the concept of popular sovereignty under the Kansas-Nebraska Act
  • KH8B3I3 describe the influence of pro- and
    antislavery ideas on territorial Kansas


See lesson plan.



  • Understand the impact of popular sovereignty in
    the creation of Kansas as a state


  • Using primary sources (letters, speeches,
    photographs, artifacts, advertisements,
    government documents)
  • Analyzing persuasive writing
Focus Questions Assessment Tools
  • What issues currently divide the nation?
  • Who has a right to decide the outcome of
    controversial issues?
  • Students write a short essay about whether the
    conflict in Kansas is over slavery or popular
  1. Activate empathy for the issues in territorial Kansas by discussing a current politically divisive topic.
  2. Define the terms sectionalism and popular sovereignty.
  3. Have students evaluate primary source documents as to whether they are anti- or proslavery.
  4. Lead a discussion about the evidence that students found to support or oppose slavery in Kansas.

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