Created by UMass Lowell graduate student/Methuen High School social studies teacher Stephanie Turmel under the supervision of UMass Distinguished Professor of History Robert Forrant and Lawrence History Center staff (2019). 

Lesson: Introduction to the History of Lawrence This lesson may be completed before starting other lessons and activities about the history of Lawrence, Massachusetts to help provide important background information and historical context for students. 

Summary: In this lesson, students will be introduced to the history of the city of Lawrence, Massachusetts. Students will also identify major events in the history of Lawrence and sequence them in chronological order on a timeline. 

Objective(s): Students will understand how and why Lawrence became a city. 

Teacher Introduction: “Today you will be learning about the City out Lawrence, Massachusetts. Before we begin, please complete the opener / warm up activity.” 

Lesson Overview

Opener/Warm-Up Activity

Map Activity (Resource #1) 

Directions: Students will complete a quick map activity to identify the location of Lawrence, MA 


  • Option 1: Lawrence History Timeline Webquest (Resource #2) 

    Directions: Students will use the timeline from the Lawrence History Center to complete the webquest. 


  • Option 2: Illustrated Timeline Assignment
    • Students will use Lawrence History Timeline (Resource #3) to learn about the major events of the history of Lawrence. 
    • Working in pairs or groups, students will pick 10-15 of what they believe are the most important events from the timeline and create their own illustrated timeline to demonstrate their understanding of the general history of Lawrence.


  • Option 3: Timeline Activity 

    Prep: Teacher will print out Lawrence Timeline Cards (Resource # 4) and distribute evenly among students. 

    Note: Teacher may have to pair students up or group them depending on size of class. Teacher should also give each student a copy of the Lawrence History Timeline (Resource #3).

    • Each student will read the event/description on card and use the timeline resource to learn more about the specific event so they can figure out what date to add to the timeline card. Then students will also draw a picture to represent the historical event they have been assigned. 
    • When students complete assignment, challenge them to organize themselves into a human timeline (line up in chronological order) or create a timeline on the board or classroom wall. 
    • Teacher will give an overview of the history of Lawrence by reviewing what happened at each date. After teacher reviews a date, students will explain what they drew and why for the event.