Washington, D.C.


The lesson introduces students to the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., and the history behind this famous city.  Students will also learn about several of the monuments found inside the city and their significance in history.  In addition, it is important for students to find the city on a U.S. map, and its location relative to their own city.  Teachers are encouraged to allow students to visit some of the many web sites giving virtual tours of Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. Lesson Plan Includes:

  • Full Teacher Guidelines with Creative Teaching Ideas
  • Instructional Content Pages about Washington, D.C.
  • Hands-on homework activities
  • Answer Keys
  • Common Core State Standards
  • Many Additional Links and Resources
  • Built for Grades 3-5 but can be adapted for other grade levels.

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The lesson introduces students to the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. The lesson begins with geographical information about Washington D.C. and students will learn how to locate the city on a map. Then the history of Washington D.C. is covered, including the Native Americans who used to live on that land. Finally, the major monuments in D.C. are described with illustrations. Several websites are included that have virtual tours of D.C.

Sample Classroom Procedure / Teacher Instruction: 

  1. Display a U.S. Map and ask students to name some important cities of the United States. Ask students to tell why they are important.
  2. Allow for responses and discussion. If a student chooses Washington, D.C., ask students what state is it located in?  Is Washington, D.C. a state?  If it is not either, then what is it?
  3. Allow for responses and discussion. Introduce Washington, D.C. telling students it is neither a state nor a part of the state.  Display a map of Washington, D.C.  Ask students if they have ever visited D.C.
  4. Allow for responses and discussion. Students share some of their experiences if they have visited.
  5. Distribute Washington, D.C. content pages. Read and review the information with the students.  Save the final questions for the lesson closing.  Use the additional resources to enhance understanding.
  6. Distribute Activity page. Read and review the instructions.  Distribute colored pencils and final copy paper when needed.  Remind students the images must include the different angles.
  7. Once completed the students will share their designs with a partner and with the class, sharing the reasons they chose the memorial or monument. Allow time for Q and A.
  8. Distribute Practice page. Check and review the students’ responses.
  9. Distribute the Homework page. The next day, check and review the students’ responses.
  10. In closing, ask students: If you had to choose only one famous monument, museum, or another landmark to visit, which one would you choose and why? Which one would you least likely visit?  Why not?

Common Core State Standards: 

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.3, 7, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3, 7, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.3, 7

Class Sessions (45 minutes): At least 2 class sessions.

Additional Resources:

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Additional information

Grade Level

3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade


Social Studies