History is the chronicle of choices made by actors/agents/protagonists in specific contexts. Students understand choices – they make them all the time. These lessons, prepared for the Constitutional Sources Project (ConSource), involve students by placing them in the shoes of historical people and asking: “What might you do in such instances?”
Points of decision create teachable moments. We help students imagine, from a distant time, the hopes of historical actors, but also the constraints that limited possibilities. Students explore the available options: How did people at the time view the chances for a desired outcome? What were the potential drawbacks or dangers? Having skin in the game, students can better understand why people acted as they did. They will think more deeply about the paths actually taken — how events ensued, the consequences of decisions, and the subsequent issues these created. By exercising individual and group decision-making skills within political contexts, they prepare for civic life.
Four units are currently available, with more to come.
Declaration of Independence
Independence in 1774? The Suffolk Resolves
Articles of Confederation
Franklin’s Initial Draft
Reform or Revolution?
Constitution in Action: Interpreting and Implementing the Constitution in the Early Republic
Origin of the Bill of Rights
Teacher’s Guide to People’s History of the American Revolution. A wide variety of material that can be adapted to all grade levels or to adult study groups. (Developed by Ray Raphael)
Sample lesson plans on the role of plain farmers, common soldiers, African Americans, and Native Americans in the American Revolution. These plans can be used in conjunction with People’s History of the American Revolution or as stand-alones. They can be adapted for use in elementary school, middle school, secondary school, or college. (Developed by Ray Raphael)
Lesson plans for Founding Myths. Practicing teachers enrolled in the “Teaching American History” Master’s of Arts program at Humboldt State University have prepared and tested lesson plans for each of the thirteen chapters in Founding Myths. For each chapter, they have provided a sample lesson plan geared to the fifth, eighth, and eleventh grades, in conformity with both the California and National Standards.