Democracy and Freedom: US History Capstone Project | Facing History & Ourselves
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Democracy and Freedom: US History Capstone Project

This capstone project invites students to reflect on their own role in a democracy in light of what they’ve learned about freedom and democracy in US history.


At a Glance

mini-unit copy


English — US


  • History
  • Social Studies




Part of a full-year program
  • Democracy & Civic Engagement


About This Mini-Unit

This mini-unit is intended to bolster the central throughline of our US History Curriculum Collection: Democracy & Freedom, while also offering an opportunity for students to use the lessons they have learned in their US History course to reflect on their own role as a steward for democracy. It is tailored to fit the themes and sources from our US History materials, but is broad enough to be accessible to educators who have not taught our US History Curriculum Collection in full. 

The mini-unit includes two components:

  • Three lessons that help students revisit some of their key learnings from the US History Curriculum Collection and gather evidence that they will use in the capstone project.
  • A capstone project entitled “My Freedom Dream,” which includes a project handout/description, activities for introducing/implementing the project with students, and a project planning tool for teachers.

How can I make real the ideals of freedom and democracy?

Develop the capacity for informed civic participation.

This mini-unit includes:

  • 3 lessons
  • 1 capstone project

Preparing to Teach

A Note to Teachers

Before teaching this mini-unit, please review the following information to help guide your preparation process.

The lessons that students explore in this mini-unit are intended to serve as a capstone experience that builds students’ capacity for civic participation while also tying together key themes from Facing History’s US History Curriculum Collection, particularly our focus on Democracy and Freedom.

This mini-unit aligns with the themes and sources from our US History materials, but it is also designed to be broad enough so that most educators will be able to access it even if they have not taught our curriculum collection in full. We encourage you to select key sources from units and/or inquiries that you have taught from our curriculum collection (particularly in Lessons 1 and 2) to tie back to students’ learning throughout the year.

The three lessons in this mini-unit are designed to prepare students for a final civic participation project entitled “My Freedom Dream.” We have created activities to help students at all stages of the project, but teachers will likely need to spend additional time helping students to fully implement the project (the “act” component). This includes creating a rubric or other format for evaluating students’ performance and assisting with any logistical aspects of implementation. 

For more guidance on implementing the project in your classroom, explore this teacher-facing handout: Planning the “My Freedom Dream” Capstone Project.
The teacher-facing handout refers to strategies from the resource From Reflection to Action: A Choosing to Participate Toolkit. We encourage you to have the toolkit on hand for reference as you implement this project.

Some of the suggested activities for implementing the "My Freedom Dream" Capstone Project require students to have access to a computer to conduct online research. We recommend taking care of logistics prior to teaching these activities, for example, by reserving the computer lab or laptop carts for students.

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Lesson Plans

Materials and Downloads

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Get all the materials you need to teach this mini-unit in PDF or Google Doc format. This includes both teacher guidance and student materials.

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Facing History & Ourselves is designed for educators who want to help students explore identity, think critically, grow emotionally, act ethically, and participate in civic life. It’s hard work, so we’ve developed some go-to professional learning opportunities to help you along the way.

Most teachers are willing to tackle the difficult topics, but we need the tools.
— Gabriela Calderon-Espinal, Bay Shore, NY