1. On the day prior to this lesson, assign students any materials contained in the textbook that addresses the Great Awakening.
2. Begin the lesson with a discussion of the characteristics of the Great Awakening. Some students may begin to discern differences between the events in the mid-Atlantic colonies, New England, and the South. Encourage the distinctions but continue to look for similarities.
3. Ask the question, “Why did this movement happen at this point in time?” Here you may need to assist students in looking at events in England (which also experienced a Great Awakening) and here in the colonies. Students should, in time, be able to point to the enormous social, political, and economic upheavals taking place on both sides of the Atlantic due to the Industrial Revolution and other events. It’s little wonder that people sought fellowship, solace, and emotional release in such trying times.
4. As students explore the lives and activities of the following people, have them answer the question, “What did they contribute to the Great Awakening and how did their work usher in what has been called a new age of faith?”
- Solomon Stoddard
- Jonathan Edwards
- George Whitefield
- James Davenport
- Charles Chauncy
- William Tennent
- Silbert Tennent
- Samuel Davies
- Shubal Stearns
- Devereux Jarratt
- David Brainerd
- Eleazer Wheelock
- Samuel Kirkland
5. As students familiarize themselves with one or more of these individuals, have them develop a timeline of each person’s life.
6. Have students report on each individual and place the work within the time frame of the period. Look for patterns of activity and location. What were the major ideas of the Great Awakening? Can students trace the movement of these ideas? Are there connections between specific events here in the colonies and the ideas?
7. Have students write a summary of the ideas, events, and impact of the Great Awakening. Have them speculate about a connection with the American Revolution.
The Great Awakening
More on the Great Awakening
George Whitefield and Benjamin Franklin
Jonathan Edwards and the Great Awakening
This lesson was developed by Bette Brooks, Kent State University.