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TEACHERS

Welcome!

Preparing for the Oath: U.S. History and Civics for Citizenship is a visually engaging and interactive learning tool for permanent residents interested in U.S. citizenship. The program is designed to assist aspiring citizens as they study for the naturalization test administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Fifteen thematic units cover each of the 100 questions and answers on the civics portion of the test.

You can use this tool to guide classroom instruction, or to enrich an existing curriculum. Below you will find two types of resources to help you use Preparing for the Oath in the classroom.

      • The teacher guides are designed for low-level English language learners. These guides instruct teachers on how to present each theme and include a student handout that reinforces the Civics Test questions covered.
      • The lesson plans target higher-level English students preparing for citizenship. These lessons provide background on the theme and extension activities for classroom use.

Preparing for the Oath is written at the “Low Intermediate” ESL level. In some instances, where more advanced vocabulary was called for, we have highlighted the words in bold white and defined them in the word list.

Links for Sharing

You may notice that the web address (URL) does not change as you explore the different themes and questions on Preparing for the Oath. If you want to save or share a link to a specific question or theme, visit the PDF list of links at http://americanhistory.si.edu/citizenship/pdf/LinkList.pdf.

Middle and High School Students

Preparing for the Oath can also be used as the starting point for middle and high school students learning about civics. Find the classroom materials near the bottom of the page, under the heading School Resources.

Teacher Guides and Lesson Plans

The 1800s
The 1900s
A Growing Nation
Congress
Courts
Establishing Independence
Famous Citizens
Geography
Government Basics
The Presidency
Responsibilities
Rights
Symbols & Holidays
Voting
Writing the Constitution



The 1800s

This teacher guide features a student handout, How Well Do You Know The 1800s?, and steps for taking the class through The 1800s theme. Download teacher guide.

The 1900s

This teacher guide features a student handout, Matching—The 1900s, and steps for taking the class through The 1900s theme. Download teacher guide.

In this lesson plan, students will follow The 1900s theme in Preparing for the Oath and will read more about three major movements in this era that expanded individual rights: Women’s Suffrage, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Youth Movement. Download lesson plan.

A Growing Nation

This teacher guide features a student handout, Write Two Sentences—A Growing Nation, and steps for taking the class through the theme, A Growing Nation. Download teacher guide.

In this lesson plan, students will follow the theme, A Growing Nation, in Preparing for the Oath and learn about different places where people have arrived when they immigrated to the United States. Download lesson plan.

Congress

This teacher guide features a student handout, Matching—Congress, and steps for taking the class through the Congress theme. Download teacher guide.

In this lesson plan, students will follow the Congress theme in Preparing for the Oath and research their current congressional representatives. Download lesson plan.

Courts

This teacher guide features a student handout, Crossword Puzzle—Courts, and steps for taking the class through the Courts theme. Download teacher guide.

In this lesson plan, students will follow the Courts theme in Preparing for the Oath and learn more about the Supreme Court by studying recent landmark cases. Download lesson plan.

Establishing Independence

This teacher guide features a student handout, Odd Man Out—Establishing Independence, and steps for taking the class through the Establishing Independence theme. Download teacher guide.

In this lesson plan, students will follow the Establishing Independence theme in Preparing for the Oath and learn about the legacy of George Washington through museum objects. Download lesson plan.

Famous Citizens

This teacher guide features a student handout, Crossword Puzzle—Famous Citizens, and steps for taking the class through the Famous Citizens theme. Download teacher guide.

In this lesson plan, students will follow the Famous Citizens theme in Preparing for the Oath and play games with Famous Citizens cards to reinforce their knowledge. Download lesson plan.

Geography

This teacher guide features a student handout, Label the Map—Geography, and steps for taking the class through the Geography theme. Download teacher guide.

In this lesson plan, students will follow the Geography theme in Preparing for the Oath and label a classroom map with places they must know for the naturalization test. Download lesson plan.

Government Basics

This teacher guide features a student handout, Finish the Sentence—Government Basics, and steps for taking the class through the Government Basics theme. Download teacher guide.

The Presidency

This teacher guide features a student handout, How Well Do You Know The Presidency?, and steps for taking the class through The Presidency theme. Download teacher guide.

In this lesson plan, students will follow The Presidency theme in Preparing for the Oath and will listen and analyze the current president’s inauguration speech. Download lesson plan.

Responsibilities

This teacher guide features a student handout, Why Do You Think?—Responsibilities, and steps for taking the class through the Responsibilities theme. Download teacher guide.

In this lesson plan, students will follow the Responsibilities theme in Preparing for the Oath and learn civic responsibilities by looking in more detail at federal oaths, including the U.S. Naturalization Oath. Download lesson plan.

Rights

This teacher guide features a student handout, Finish the Sentence—Rights, and steps for taking the class through the Rights theme. Download teacher guide.

Symbols & Holidays

This teacher guide features a student handout, Finish This Sentence—Symbols & Holidays, and steps for taking the class through the Symbols & Holidays theme. Download teacher guide.

In this lesson plan, students will follow the Symbols & Holidays theme in Preparing for the Oath and further familiarize themselves with the lyrics of the Star-Spangled Banner. Download lesson plan.

Voting

This teacher guide features a student handout, True or False?—Voting, and steps for taking the class through the Voting theme. Download teacher guide.

Writing the Constitution

This teacher guide features a student handout, Correct the Sentence—Writing the Constitution, and steps for taking the class through the Writing the Constitution theme. Download teacher guide.

School Resources

101 Questions

Ideal for middle and high school students, the 101 Questions activity includes reading and responding to the current USCIS Naturalization test, determining a hypothetical 101st question on the exam, and displaying their final product in a classroom or online gallery walk. Download the 101 Questions materials.

Artifact Explorations

Encourage your students to delve deeper into the artifact explorations within Preparing for the Oath with these handouts for Martin Luther King, Jr., segregated classrooms, and the Statue of Liberty.

Oral Histories

Oral histories can provide a window into naturalization in modern America: Why might an individual choose to become naturalized? What was the exam and paperwork like for that individual? What has the individual seen as a benefit of becoming a citizen? Guide students through either analyzing oral histories of naturalized citizens or recording and submiting oral histories of naturalized citizens in their communities.

Download the Record Oral Histories materials.

Download the Analyze Oral Histories materials.

View the oral histories create by the National Museum of American History or by other classrooms.

Looking for More Learning Resources?

The National Museum of American History offers hundreds of free lesson plans, primary sources, and learning interactives through Smithsonian's History Explorer.