Thomas Jefferson’s World: Movie Guide for AP High School and College Classrooms

Lesson Plan


Grade Level

High School

Author Info

Mike Klapka

Type of Lesson

Cooperative Learning


20 minute film and flexible classroom activities

Interdisciplinary Connections

Thomas Jefferson’s World would be helpful for U.S. History and Government courses at both the high school and collegiate level for a broad overview of the philosophy, efforts and influence of the nation’s third president.



“Thomas Jefferson believed human freedom was the surest path to human progress. To that vision he devoted his life.” With those simple, direct words, Thomas Jefferson’s World introduces viewers to the man who was the author of the Declaration of Independence and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, the father of the University of Virginia, and the third president of the United States. The film also centers on the importance of Monticello, his mountain top home, as his personal laboratory for many of his ideas and efforts.

Thomas Jefferson’s World outlines the broad interests of his life, highlighting his curiosity of all things intellectual as well as examining his personal struggle with slavery. More importantly, Thomas Jefferson’s World shows the lineage from Jefferson’s words and efforts to the expansion of liberty in United States through events such as Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address to women’s suffrage to civil rights in the 1960’s. Showing that the quest for freedom is not solely an American ideal, Jefferson’s World will show the power of his ideas in an effort to overcome tyranny in India, Berlin and South Africa. The film underscores Jefferson’s own hope, in which he stated that “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”

Related Assets

Handouts and Downloads


Materials Needed

1.”Thomas Jefferson’s World” film

2. Download the complete lesson plan, above, titled “KlapkaMovie Guide.”

Technology Needs

1. DVD player 2. TV/Projector