When you compare American History with that of other countries it might appear as though America is but an "infant". Our country has existed for just over two hundred years, which seems pretty microscopic next to China and Greece who date back to thousands of years B.C.E.
Yet, even though America is so young in the scheme of world history, so much has happened! Any American, young or old who studies American History can't help but swell with patriotic pride. America has stood its ground against world bullies, has helped its friends in need, has contributed to some of the world's most important inventions, and has held fast to its founding fathers' principles of democracy and freedom.
Of course, in every country's history there are going to be dark moments. It's important for students to understand that while America is the greatest country in the world, it is also guilty of grave misdeeds. The enslavement of Africans and the internment of Japanese Americans are just two examples of the stains on the fabric of our history which cannot be erased.
American History is a human story. It is a story of survival and ambition. It is a story of trial and error. It is a story of pain and joy. No, we didn't always get it right but teaching American History to young adults is about showing them how to learn from the past. We rejoice at our successes and learn from our failures. As Harry S. Truman said, "America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand." Sometimes the job at hand was not easy, but it is all part of our history.
The following units all contain a bit of background information to get teachers started. Printable worksheets, handouts, various assignments, classroom activities, hands on projects, study guides, and tests are all available for easy download and printing. In addition, almost all units contain at least one free PowerPoint presentation to use in the classroom.
Most importantly, remember to have fun when you teach American History. Convey your enthusiasm to your students and teach with creativity!
Click on the following links to go to your desired unit in American History:
It's a fact: when you teach with movies, you offer your class a welcome break to traditional teaching methods. Not only is it a break for the teachers, but for the students as well. Students can sit back and enjoy learning history through the entertaining medium of cinema. The benefits of using movies in the classroom are numerous.