Centering on the themes of Democracy & Freedom, Facing History's new US History curriculum collection is designed to help students think critically about what it means to live in the United States as a free and full human being and draw meaningful connections between our country's complex history and their own lived experiences. The materials in the collection are intentionally curated to help empower students to become active citizens and deepen their understanding of their rights and responsibilities in their communities and our nation.
The identity of a nation like the United States is shaped by the ways people have worked individually and together to create a more free and fair democracy. This new collection builds on existing Facing History resources and has the arc of the academic year in mind, but no matter where in your course you begin to integrate these materials, taking time to create a classroom community that is open, inclusive, and prepared to tackle difficult conversations is a key element to our approach to teaching US History.
Once you've laid the foundation for deep and collaborative learning, you can utilize our carefully curated collection to explore a variety of historical periods and perspectives including the founding era, Reconstruction Era, the period of Asian exclusion and mass immigration at the turn of the twentieth century, and the Civil Rights movement.
Also included in the collection is a Choosing to Participate unit designed to help educators and students craft a dynamic capstone project at the culmination of their US History Course. This unit fosters the civic capacity of students by asking them to examine the civic actions of people in the past and present and imagine what freedoms they would like to see in their communities.
Continue exploring our US history resources and consider incorporating them into your curriculum to help inform and inspire students as they prepare to make their mark on the world.
Get a quick guided tour through the US History Curriculum Collection
Get an introduction to the resources featured in this curriculum collection and how they can fit into your US History course.
Our US History Curriculum Collection consists of a set of flexible resources to help you incorporate lessons about and apply the themes of democracy and freedom throughout your course.
Our approach to teaching US history emphasizes students’ capacity for civic agency and develops the historical inquiry skills students need to generate new and more complex questions about the past and present.
Explore Democracy and Freedom in US History
This collection invites students to investigate the essential question, “What do democracy and freedom mean in US history and in our society today?” Through this curated set of US history lesson plans, units, and C3-style inquiries, students explore how progress toward greater freedom, equality, and justice are not inevitable.
These materials introduce voices not often included in textbooks, examine historic and ongoing injustices, and explore the lived experiences of many Americans. Primary sources throughout the collection highlight the work of those in our country who have demanded greater freedom and expanded civil and human rights.
Integrate This Collection with Your US History Curriculum
Curated with the arc of the school year in mind, the collection can be used in total or you can select the resources that are best suited to your unique context.
Download an overview of the collection to learn more about our classroom-ready resources and on-demand professional learning.
Course Foundations | Teaching Materials for Exploring Identity & Building Community
Taking time to create a classroom community that is open, inclusive, and prepared to tackle difficult conversations is a key element in our approach to teaching US history. The Back to School Toolkit and My Part of the Story help you build community with students at the beginning of the year and explore the complexity of both individual and national identity. In Pursuit of Democracy and Freedom helps you establish the themes of democracy and freedom in your US History course.
In Pursuit of Democracy and Freedom: A US History Inquiry
This 5–7 day C3-aligned inquiry explores the compelling question, “How can we make real the ideals of democracy and freedom?”
Supplemental Curriculum | Flexible US History Units and Inquiries
These units and inquiries explore a variety of historical periods, including the founding era, Reconstruction, the period of immigration and Asian exclusion at the turn of the twentieth century, and the Civil Rights Movement. While we recommend using the collection in full within your US History course, you can also choose the resources that are best suited to your unique context. This collection will continue to grow as we develop additional resources that examine inflection points throughout US History.
“I Wanted the Whole World to See”: The Murder of Emmett Till
This six-lesson unit delves into the history and legacy of the murder of Emmett Till, considering what we can learn from it as we work to achieve racial justice.
Culminating Capstone Project | Guide and Toolkit for Teachers
As the culmination of a US history course, this capstone project is designed to help students grow their capacity for civic agency. Students reflect on the actions of past and present civic actors as they endeavored to preserve and expand democracy; then they identify and take action on an unresolved issue related to the struggle for freedom and democracy in the United States.
Studying the history of Reconstruction reveals that American history is lined with recurring cycles of social progress and backlash in which everyday people have surmounted immense barriers to drive powerful change.
Teaching Reconstruction: A Conversation with Dr. Kidada Williams
Join us for this recorded conversation with writer and historian, Dr. Kidada Williams, as we discuss her research on African Americans’ fight for liberty and equality during and after the Civil War and Reconstruction era.
Reexamining Reconstruction: A Conversation with Dr. Hasan Kwame Jeffries
Examine how the Reconstruction Era is remembered and the impact of its legacy on contemporary society with Dr. Hasan Kwame Jeffries, Associate Professor of History at The Ohio State University and scholar of African American history and contemporary Black politics.
After 25 years of distinguished service to our organization, Dr. Karen Murphy, Facing History’s Director of International Strategy, will join our partner organization High Resolves as CEO of an initiative called The Human Responsibility Accelerator. In this article, we invited Karen to share a bit of what she has learned in more than two decades at Facing History.
Research released by the Claims Conference found that 49% of U.S. millennials and generation Z have seen Holocaust denial or distortion content online—and that one in five U.S. millennials and generation Z surveyed in New York believe that Jews caused the Holocaust. This toxic combination of ignorance allied with antisemitic hatred continue to permeate global consciousness, and teachers have an important part to play in turning the tide.