Henry’s Hat Lesson Plans

Henry’s HatSM is organized around a simple, “Henry as...” topic structure. Lessons cover a wide range of subjects, tied to Thoreau’s writing, vocations, and practices. In each topic area, engaging lessons and extensions are presented for you to incorporate in classroom instruction and your delivery of curriculum materials.

Henry as...Author (English Language Arts)
Henry is best-known for his important contribution as an American Author. Here is a variety of lessons focused on developing writing skills.

Henry as...Scientist/Naturalist (Science)
At the root of it all, Henry was a keen observer of the natural world. He was one of the earliest "citizen scientists," as someone who, while not paid to be a scientist, contributed significantly to what we know about the natural world.

Henry as...Innovator (Technology/Engineering)
Did you know that Henry was a clever technologist? He introduced graded pencils to America! Discover approaches to teaching technology and engineering through Henry's own work. The Technology and Engineering lessons often draw from other areas, such as science and math.

Henry as...Mathematician (Math)
When we observe and record nature, we can't help but think mathematically. Students are encouraged to apply mathematics to their observations in these lessons.

  • How Big is That? (measurement and units)
  • Measuring Plant Parts
  • That's Approximately... (estimating)
  • Rods and Chains (units and conversion)
  • Step and Repeat (finding and analyzing patterns)
  • The Cost of Thoreau's Cabin Today

Henry as...Citizen (Social studies and social-emotional learning)
Thoreau's legacy in part are his philosophies regarding how we conduct ourselves with our neighbors and the choices we make in our lives. Explore the human side of Thoreau with your students.

Henry as...Artist (Creativity and the Arts)
While Thoreau's drawings will likely never appear in an art museum, he employed creativity in his words and innovation and held the belief that all Nature is art to behold.  While art is used in lessons throughout the unit, here are some that focus on the creative inspiration from Thoreau.