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.
Featuring the voices of
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!
By the end of this unit, your students will be able to
- 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!
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 4 to 7 weeks.
Included in this complete unit:
- Unit Overview & 7 pages of Daily Lesson Plans from the unit hook to the final assessment
- Answer keys and rubrics (both CCSS-aligned and generic)
- 40-slide editable PowerPoint slideshow with portraits, links, and student directions
Student Materials & Activities
- Graphic Organizer & Concept Definition
for students’ unit-long note taking
- 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
- 5 Skill Sheets
Annotating a Text, HIPPOS Document Analysis, PIC Image Analysis, TASTED News Media Analysis, Ethos / Logos / Pathos Analysis
2 Summative Assessments
- “Who founded America’s values?” DBQ Essay
complete with outline, writing, and rubric sheets (CCSS and generic)
- SMART Goal & Action Plan
project directions, template, and rubric sheets (CCSS and generic) based on your students' own reflection of their core values
Want the mini version of this?
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!
Want more U.S. History PBL Units?
Six Degrees of Separation:
kick off a study of our country’s political and physical features with a “Flat Stanley” style project
1900s American Immigration:
explore the American story of diversity and hard work through the words and statistics of immigrants, Ellis Island to Angel Island, to create and preserve an oral history of their own
1900s Protest Movements:
be inspired by Silent Sentinels to Alcatraz Occupiers to develop one’s own statement of protest or support
1900s American Heroes:
explore what it means to be a hero from Madam CJ Walker to John Glenn in order to nominate one’s own hero for recognition