Middle School Social Studies / 8th Grade

Founding Mothers and Fathers

How did founding communities shape what it means to be an American?

Students learn about the events and actions driving European exploration and expansion in the 15th century. Using a classroom practice, philosophical chairs, students discuss the meaning of discovery and its impact on the continent and on Native Americans. Working in teams, they research six different founding communities, and use peer feedback to strengthen and clarify the relationship between their new knowledge and the unit question: How do founding groups shape what it means to be an American? They present their findings to their peers and end the unit with a Socratic discussion that uses an excerpt of Langston Hughes’s poem, “Let America Be America Again”, to begin their exploration of the course essential question: What Does It Mean to Me to be an American?

Unit length: 2 weeks (7.5 hours)

"I got to contribute to projects in ways that I care about and am proud of and I learned so much more than I usually do in history class."

Anna, Student
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