Lesson Plan | Why History Matters

These days, the trending topics of discussions on Social Media (as well as offline conversations) revolve around the documentary, India’s Daughter, and the Ban on Beef Consumption in Maharashtra state. There may be many other political topics that are trending, but for the sake of setting context for this article, I am considering the two topics mentioned above.

In both cases, citizens from across the country have been expressing their thoughts on these two issues. Majority of us express our thoughts through social media, and may have a long discussion about it with friends. While, a small chunk of the population, actually puts their thoughts into actions. The actions typically translate into initiating a silent protest march, starting a petition or filing a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) in court.

How does this small chunk of population know what action to take? How do they know if their action will yield results or not? How do they know if a new policy is respecting the rights of citizens or violating it?

The answers to these questions lies in Social Studies. The policies adopted and implemented by a government directly impact the citizens of the country. As citizens of a country, we need to be aware of our rights. We also need to have a good understanding of how the system works and what we can do to protect our rights.

The branch of Social Studies known as Civics, introduces us to our fundamental rights and the governing and justice system of our country. History, on the other hand informs us of similar events that occurred in the past, and what people did to protect their rights and interests, and the impact of their actions.

In a way, History can be thought of as a record of Case Studies. Each event is a case study, and by learning about it, we get answers to the “why, who, how and what” questions. The answers to the questions tell us what happened, how people reacted, what they did and what was the impact or effect of their actions.

Today, if we want to know what actions citizens can take to protect their fundamental rights, all we have to do is go back to our History and find a case study from the past that is similar to the events of the present day. We can read the History and adopt what worked in the past and learn from things that did not work, and create a well-informed plan of action for ourselves.

It is important that when we teach History to students, we consciously connect the past to the present and build this connection or relevance. Only then, will students understand why our History matters, and will be able to truly appreciate it.


One of the schools in Mumbai, asked us to develop a sample lesson plan to make History interesting for students. The topic given to us was “Unification of Germany” Grade 7. For the topic, we created a lesson plan that puts students into a situation and encourages them to refer to events from the past to decide the course of action for the situation they are in.

Click the link to view the lesson plan and please do share your feedback in the comments section below.

Unification of Germany_Lesson Plan

The source content for Unification of Germany can be found at: http://igcse-history.weebly.com/unification-of-germany.html


Kanchan Shine

Kanchan Shine

Passionate about everything related to education. I believe that the best kind of learning happens through play, experiments and fun! I love watching how children learn and love to implement play-based, hands-on teaching approaches. I get my thrill by planning activities for my children (6 yo girl & 3 yo boy) and watching them learn while having fun!

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