https://www.storyboardthat.com/lesson-plans/1850s-america/reform-and-abolition

Activity Overview


Understanding the social movements of an era is paramount to understanding the time period as a whole and why certain wars, debates, and laws happened. Using a grid storyboard, have students detail, compare, and contrast the aims of the various abolition and reform movements of the mid- to late 1800s. Groups include those advocating for abolition, women’s rights, or increasing immigration, along with the Second Great Awakening and Transcendentalism.

Students can utilize the grid creatively, but it is recommended they label the rows “Reform Movements” and “Effects”, and list the groups across the columns (see the storyboard example above). This will help foster better understanding of the groups, their role in the mid-late 1800s, and their overall role in the question of slavery and allow students to easily compare the aims of different reform groups to see where they might overlap.



Extended Activity

Have students research and create a grid for current day reform movements. A multitude of groups and movements could be used and explained on current day issues. Again, promote cause/definitions with that of the effects in which the groups have on the social fabric of America and what their potential roles are in legislation and government actions concerning their respective social movements.


Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)



Student Instructions

Use the grid layout to compare and contrast the aims of different abolition and reform movements of the mid- to late 1800s.


  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. In the top row, identify the different reform movements and describe their beliefs in the description.
  3. In the bottom row, identify their effect on society.
  4. Create images in each cell that illustrate movement using appropriate characters, scenes, and items.
  5. Save your storyboard and submit it to the assignment.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 9-10

Difficulty Level 2 (Reinforcing / Developing)

Type of Assignment Individual or Group


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