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U.S. History PBL: Values & America's Foundations Unit

U.S. History PBL: Values & America's Foundations Unit
U.S. History PBL: Values & America's Foundations Unit
U.S. History PBL: Values & America's Foundations Unit
U.S. History PBL: Values & America's Foundations Unit
U.S. History PBL: Values & America's Foundations Unit
U.S. History PBL: Values & America's Foundations Unit
U.S. History PBL: Values & America's Foundations Unit
U.S. History PBL: Values & America's Foundations Unit
Product Description
Lay a strong foundation for your U.S. History course with this kick-off project-based unit that examines the FORE American values (Freedom, Opportunity, Representation, and Equality) by exploring the ideas and contributions of the Founding Fathers as well as activists throughout the 1700s and 1800s who have all contributed to America’s thriving story of liberty, democracy, and success.

Some of the Featured Voices Include
Puritans & Founding Fathers, including Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine
Women’s rights activists Abigail Adams and Elizabeth Cady Stanton
African American rights activists Frederick Douglass and W.E.B Du Bois
The societal questioner, Henry David Thoreau
The peace-offering Chief Joseph
>>> 20 voices total to create a custom pick-and-choose unit!

Historical Thinking Skills
- Annotate and analyze written primary sources with the HIPPOS method and visual primary sources with the PIC method
- Utilize source-based evidence to support a claim in a DBQ essay
- Identify and evaluate uses of ethos, logos, and pathos to write own persuasive letters
- Locate and analyze current news media sources to make thematic connects between historical and current events
>>> Highly scaffolded, basic historical and source skill building, perfect for the first unit of the school year!

Culminating, summative assessments
- Document-based essay, supported by an outline template and sentence stems, that requires them to encapsulate their understanding of the entire unit by arguing their answer to the simple question, “Who founded America’s values?”

- Value-based SMART Goal & Action Plan, supported by rubrics, models, and skill builder mini-lessons, that challenges students to reflect on their values and brainstorm, articulate, and develop a realistic plan for accomplishing their goal (much like the activists studied), as well as utilize both research-based strategies and persuasion techniques (ethos, logos, and pathos) to write motivation letters to themselves to be handed back to them throughout the remainder of the course.


Greatness is realizing a goal is useless without a detailed plan and committed actions.

The small collection of white, upper-class men of the late 1700s who make up the “Founding Fathers” seem to get all the glory of founding this exceptional nation. While their work is worthy of considerable recognition, is it at the expense of the brown, the female, and otherwise disenfranchised Americans? The men and women who took that original goal and fought to turn it into a real action plan of democracy to which the rest of the world looks to for guidance?

Take your students on a quest through our foundational first century (Independence through the late 1800s) exploring various spotlights on visionaries and activists while asking students to decide, “Who really then deserves the credit for founding America’s values?”

Leave the boring chronological textbook behind and head straight to the compelling sources that make this question central to our pride and identity as Americans, and empower your students develop their vision and action plan for themselves.

The beauty of a thematic unit is your freedom to mix-and-match, add-and-subtract: each activity is self-contained, allowing for complete customization to meet local standards, time restraints, and interests. This unit can be done well in anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks.

Included in this complete unit:

- Unit overview and detailed daily lesson plans from the unit hook to the final assessment
- Graphic organizer and concept definition sheet for unit-long student note taking

7 Sub-Topics (1-5 class periods each, depending on customization)
- Unit Hook: Analysis of New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu spring 2017 speech
- Current Day: Collaborative brainstorm and discussion activity to introduce the FORE American values / News research and analysis activity to connect values with current events
- Foundational Visionaries: Puritans / Thomas Paine / Thomas Jefferson / Constitution Conventioneers
- Freedom Fighters: Benjamin Banneker / Frederick Douglass / Jourdan Anderson / W.E.B. Du Bois
- Opportunity Fighters: Molly Wallace / Mary Lease / Russell Conwell / Emma Lazarus
- Representation Fighters: Abigail Adams / Dorothea Dix / Henry David Thoreau / Terence V. Powderly
- Equality Fighters: Michel-Guillaume-Jean De Crevecoeur / Elizabeth Cady Stanton / Lucy Stone / Chief Joseph

2 Summative Assessments
- “Who founded America’s values?” DBQ essay outline, writing sheets, and rubric sheets (CCSS and generic)
- SMART Goal & Action Plan project directions, template, and rubric sheets (CCSS and generic)

Additional Resources
- Answer Keys for documents
- 5 Skill Sheets: Annotating a Text, HIPPOS Document Analysis, PIC Image Analysis, TASTED News Media Analysis, Ethos / Logos / Pathos Analysis
- EDITABLE Power Point of images with PIC analysis answer keys & portraits of features Americans to introduce each day’s lesson


Only have a couple of weeks? Try the mini-unit version!

U.S. History PBL Mini-Unit: SMART Goals in America's Foundations
include student notes sheets, two Visionary documents, one of each FORE value documents, and complete project. Makes a fantastic beginning-of-the-year project!
Total Pages
167 pages
Answer Key
Included with rubric
Teaching Duration
1 month
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