This resource has been recently redesigned! It now includes a differentiated learning approach and has been adjusted for use in lower grades which will also be valuable for ESL students. Lessons contain vocabulary glossaries and shortened versions of primary sources that hold students’ attention while fostering critical thinking.
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American Principles and Virtues
Lesson 1 outlines the main themes of the Being an American curriculum and introduces the final capstone project, in which students will capture and synthesize ideas from the lessons.
American Civic Virtues
American history is filled with examples of the nation’s leaders and other citizens demonstrating civic virtues.
The Enlightenment and Social Contract Theory
What were the major ideas of the Enlightenment? How did the Enlightenment influence the United States’ Founding?
The Declaration of Independence
What were the philosophical bases and practical purposes of the Declaration of Independence?
The Guiding Star of Equality: The Declaration of Independence and Equality in U.S. History
How has the Declaration of Independence inspired Americans throughout history to help the country live up to its Founding Principles?
An “Apple of Gold” in a “Picture of Silver”: The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution
What is the relationship between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution? How do these Founding documents reflect common republican principles?
“A Glorious Liberty Document”: The U.S. Constitution and Its Principles
How are the republican principles of limited government, separation of powers, and checks and balances reflected in the U.S. Constitution?
The Creation of the Bill of Rights
How does the Bill of Rights protect individual liberties and limit the power of government? How is this seen in our everyday lives?
The Supreme Court and the Bill of Rights
How has the Supreme Court decided cases in controversies related to the Bill of Rights?
American Heroes, Past and Present
How have Americans shown civic virtues throughout history?
Capstone Project: What Does “Being an American” Mean to Me?
This project provides students with an opportunity to apply and showcase what they have learned throughout their study of the Being an American curriculum. Students will identify a topic related to the curriculum that they wish to learn more about, research that topic, and then develop a product to share with the class on an assigned date.