In accordance with the 7th grade New York State curriculum, students will explore the history, geography, government and economy of the United States from pre-Columbian times to the 19th century. Students need to understand why the content they are learning is important and how it relates to their lives and the world around them. Therefore, the content will be presented in a wider context so that the past will be connected to the present. American History will be brought alive by having students write and perform original songs about the content, make animated presentations and videos and write and perform in historical plays.
Units of study include: Meso-American Civilizations, Exploration, the 13 Colonies, Life in the Colonies, the American Revolution, the Constitution, American Government, the Early Republic, the Age of Jackson, Reform Movements and Westward Expansion. Lessons will provide students with various opportunities to acquire and develop a variety of intellectual skills that will help them analyze the continuum of events from past to present. Some of these skills include: forming and justifying arguments, analyzing primary and secondary sources, interpreting maps and locating specific places.
Lessons will also emphasize the choices and actions individuals took that shaped America. This will help students understand that “history did not just happen; it was made - made by real people who faced real challenges, who had uncertainty about the future, just as we do today” (Graseck, 2008, p.2). Just like the individuals of the past, students have a place in making the choices that will become the history of tomorrow. Essentially, students will explore the past to understand the present and shape the future.