By the end of the lesson, students will be able to:

1) Discuss political, social, and economic complications of building bridges across the Anacotia River.

2) Compose a letter to the editor of the Washington Post describing his or her opinions on the new 11th Street Bridge.


12.DC.25. Students describe how they can participate in the governmental process of the District of Columbia.

3. Describe the political geography of the District, and explain the various divisions: wards, precincts, Board of Education Election Districts, and Single Member Advisory Neighborhood Commission Districts, or SMDs.

12.DC.26. Students describe the growth of Washington, DC, as a cultural center and as a world capital.

1. Identify the various ancestries of Washingtonians today.


Resources provided here for you to use as necessary with your class.  For those who need them, handouts are available for most sections.  For others, you might want to project sources on a board for class discussion.  Do what works best with your students.

Appropriate handouts and worksheets are attached to each section of the lesson plan.

If you do not have internet access for your students, this lesson will require a little more paper as you need to print out at least a quarter class set of each source. 

Warm Up

As students enter the classroom, they should quickly offer anwers to the following questions.  When they have completed these questions to your satisfaction, make sure to discuss the answers to the questions as a class. 

What's the deal with all the construction on 11th street coming into Anactoria?

- Why are we building a bridge?

- What was wrong with the old one?

- What do we hope to accomplish by buidling this new bridge? 

New Material

Students will use the following resources to gain a clearer understanding behind the purposes and controversies of the 11th Street Bridges, as well as the history behind bridging this portion of the city.

Two Formats: 

(1) Stations through which students (or student groups) rotate, but feel free to adjust them in a manner that will work with your students. 

(2) Classroom discussion with these sources projected in front of the room. 

Source A 

JD Land -  http://www.jdland.com/dc/11bridges.cfm

Resources that show what the completed plans will look like.

Ask students to compare the photographs and descriptions.  They should evaluate the bridges by asking:

(1) What is the goal of building these new bridges?

(2) According to this source, will the plan work?

(3) Do YOU think the plan will work? 

Source B

The Atlantic Cities -  http://www.theatlanticcities.com/neighborhoods/2012/06/watch-these-us-cities-segregate-even-they-diversify/2346/

This site provides an excellent analysis of cultural geography and how cities have segregated over time.  The text used in the analysis is definitely above high school level, but with a little analysis, the graphics certainly detail the story. 

Questions for student to consider:

(1) Is the goal of the 11th Street construction to desegregate the city?

(2) Even if this is not a goal, what might be the consequences of the bridges' construction?

(3) Are these consequences good or bad? 

Source C

MixedMetro.us - http://mixedmetro.us/

This source is quite similar to Source B, but with more vivid illustrations and animations.  DC is a city under consideration, as well as several cities across the nation.  Ask students to choose any other city and compare it with the trends they observed in Washington over the course of the lesson.

Questions for students to consider:

(1) Has Washington become more or less segregated over the past few decades?

(2) Is Washington unique in this trend?

(3) Is the city becoming "more diverse"?

(4) What might be some positive consequences of increasing diversity?

(5) What might be some negative consequences of increasing diversity? 

Source D

"11th Stree Bridge in D.C. Could Feature Public Park, Local Teenagers Say," Washington Post, July 29, 2012.


Questions to Consider:

(1) What are students actually proposing?  Why?

(2) What does Darius McKnight mean when he says, "People stay in their zone"?

(3) How do these students believe certain activities in these parks will encourage the city community?

(4) What do you think of the idea that there's no where to eat out on this side of the river?

(5) How do you think the city might be able to overcome the obstacles to building? 

Lesson 4 - New Information

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After students have gone through the previous sources, have them consolidate their thoughts.  If you chose to have them comb through sources, independently, consider having them answer these questions as a class. 

Do you think the new 11th Street Bridges will help connect both sides of the river?

After considering several sources from the class period, write a letter to the editor of the Washington Post in which you tell your opinion of the new 11th Street Bridge.

 Questions to Consider:

- Is the new bridge a good thing or a bad thing?

- How will people get across the bridge/

- What are some positive effects of people coming into Anacostia and Congress Heights?

- What are some negative effects of people coming into Anacostia and Congress Heights?

- What are some positive effects of people leaving Anacostia and Congress Heights?

- What are some negative effects of people leaving Anacostia and Congress Heights? 

Lesson 4 - Practice

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Assignment: Compose a letter to the editor of the Washington Post in which you describe your feelings about the new 11th Street Bridges and their effects on communities on either side of the river.

Lesson 4 - Assessment

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Closure and Reflection

Choose two pieces of evidence from the past two days' lessons that helps answer the following question:

 How has the presence of the Anacostia River influences settlement "East of the River"?

 For your each of your chosen pieces of evidence, write:

1) A Brief Description

2) Where the source can be found

3) How does this evidence help answer the question?