Thomas Jefferson’s World: Movie Guide for Middle and High School Classrooms (I)

Lesson Plan


Grade Level

High School

Author Info

Patrick Touart

Type of Lesson

Cooperative Learning


20 minute film and flexible classroom activities

Interdisciplinary Connections

Thomas Jefferson’s World would be an excellent addition to any middle school or high school class on American History.



Thomas Jefferson’s World introduces audiences to key notions regarding Jefferson's ideas and accomplishments, especially his core concepts about liberty that have reached far beyond his place and time in history to the present day.

Thomas Jefferson's World illustrates how Jefferson's vision for America and his optimism about the future were driven by his fundamental beliefs in human rights, personal freedom, and democratic values.

Jefferson's crucial role in America's revolutionary struggle for independence, his political career, his varied interests, and the conflict in his championing liberty while owning slaves are all explored.

The film also acquaints viewers with the other people – both enslaved and free – who lived and worked on Jefferson's mountaintop, the activities of the plantation, the main house, and to the extraordinary landscapes of Monticello for which Jefferson had such deep affection.

State Standards

It fulfills the following themes of Social Studies from the National Council for Social Studies: (1) Culture, (2) Time, Continuity, and Change, (3) People, Places, and Environments, (4) Individual Development and Identity, (5) Individuals, Groups, and Institutions, (6) Power, Authority, and Governance, (10) Civic Ideals and Practices.

It fulfills the following Virginia standards (SOLs): Revolution and the New Nation: 1770s to the Early 1800s USI 6, USI 7, Expansion and Reform: 1801 to 1861 USI 8, Revolution and the New Nation VUS 4, VUS 5, Expansion and Reform: 1788 to 1860 VUS 6

Related Assets

Handouts and Downloads


Materials Needed

1."Thomas Jefferson's World" film

2. Download the complete lesson plan, above, titled "TouartMovieGuide."

Technology Needs

1. DVD player

2. TV/Projector