Global Learning: Russia, Land of the Tsars

Global Learning: Russia, Land of the Tsars
Louisa Adams: First Ladies' Lives

Skill: Middle School
Time Required: Two to three class periods

Required Documents
Tsar Presentation Form


In 1807, John Quincy Adams was offered the post of Minister to Russia by President James Madison. Without even consulting his wife, Louisa, Mr. Adams accepted the assignment and at least part of the Adams family moved to St. Petersburg, Russia. The Tsar at this time was Alexander I. Louisa did not remember her time in St. Petersburg fondly because she was separated from her two oldest sons who remained in Massachusetts with her mother-in-law, Abigail Adams. She did prove to be a diplomatic asset to her husband. Because of her European upbringing and her love of dance she became a favorite at the court of Tsar Alexander I.


1. Students will be able to explain the origin of the word Tsar and list the titles of the Tsars Family.

2. Students will research Tsars of Russia using various media including books, Periodicals, and the Internet.

3. Students will create a bulletin board that displays the Tsars of Russia.

Materials Required:

Tsar Presentation Form; Computer with Internet and a printer; Glue and scissors


1. The teacher will introduce the lesson by asking the students the characteristics of a monarchy. Once these have been discussed the teacher will ask the students to take a scrap piece of paper and list all the words they can think of that mean “monarch.” After several minutes select one student to record each different word for monarch. The teacher is looking for the word “Tsar” or “Czar.” If none of the students listed these words the teacher will write them on the board and explain to the students that the Tsars were the rulers of Russia. The teacher will then explain the origin of the word Tsar and list the titles of the Tsars Family. This information can be found on the list of Russian Tsars website listed below.

2. The teacher will then inform the students that they are each going to be assigned a Russian Tsar to research. There is a list of the Tsars on the List of Russian Tsars website. There is also a link to a Youtube video on the Russian Tsars that could be used as a visual introduction to the assignment. The teacher will then pass out the Tsar Presentation Form included with this lesson. The students will need to find a portrait of the Tsar they were assigned and either cut and paste or print and glue it to their form. They will have to include the following information on the form: Duration of the reign, the members of the Tsar’s family, and any interesting facts about the reign of the Tsar. The students may use any media to conduct this research, including books, periodicals, or the Internet.

This assignment could be given as a homework assignment, or it could be conducted in the class or computer lab if the technology is available. When the students have completed the assignment, their Tsar Presentation Forms will be used to create a bulletin board as a display of what they have learned.

Extending the Lesson:

This lesson could be extended to conduct research on rulers of other monarchies. Some examples may be Roman Caesar’s, English, French or Spanish kings and queens, German Kaisers, etc.  

Sources & Resources:


Warnes, David. Chronicle of the Russian Tsars: The Reign-By-Reign Record of the Rulers of Imperial Russia. Thames and Hudson, 2009.


Russian Tsars: 1533-1917.

List of Russian Tsars


This lesson was developed by Robert McClelland, Cleveland Metropolitan School District.