Discussions and Assignments

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The assignments in this course are openly licensed, and are available as-is, or can be modified to suit your students’ needs.

If you import this course into your learning management system (Blackboard, Canvas, etc.), the assignments will automatically be loaded into the assignment tool. The assignment pages within each module link to the live assignment page. You can view them below or throughout the course. There is at least one discussion and one assignment ready to be used in every module of the course. We do not recommend assigning them all, however, and recommend selecting those that work best for you.

To make edits or customized versions of the assignments, we recommend copying and pasting the discussion or assignment text directly into your LMS discussion or assignment page in order to make changes.

Capstone Project: Create a Podcast

In addition to the module-specific assignments, the course includes a capstone project, in which students create a podcast. This is divided into three parts (and connected with podcast-related assignments in Module 7). If you choose to utilize the capstone project, we recommend introducing the project early, referencing it often, and providing students several weeks to work on each section, as shown in the outline below.

The capstone project components are shared as assignments that link to Google Documents. You can make a copy of those documents to customize them. To do so, open the Google Doc and choose “File -> Make a copy” to create your own version. Then be sure to update the hyperlink within the assignment page so that it directs to your unique version, or add your new instructions directly to the assignment page within the LMS.




Additional Assignments

Module 1: Indigenous America and Early European Exploration
Module 2: Colliding Cultures
Module 3: British North America
  • Discussion: A Taste of Colonial Life Assignment
  • Prepare a recipe from this time period OR be a historical consultant for a TV show set during this time period
  • This is a larger, open-ended creative assignment. It has been created as a discussion forum so that students can share their finished work.
  • Assignment: HAPPY Analysis
  • Use the HAPPY Analysis steps to analyze a primary source document from this module
  • The HAPPY Analysis is explained in the historical hack for this module
Module 4: Imperial Reforms and Colonial Protests (1763–1774)
Module 5: The American Revolution (1775–1783)
Module 6: Creating a Government (1776–1783)
  • Discussion: Compromises
  • In reference to the three-fifths compromise, slave trade compromise, and commerce compromise, do you think the North and South came out equally here, or did one side get the better end of the deal?
Module 7: The Early Republic (1790–1820)
  • Discussion: Podcast Ideas
  • Think creatively about how you might go about developing an idea for a podcast that relates to a topic in American history (sometime before 1870)
  • Assignment: Listen to a Podcast
  • Listen to a podcast that relates to a topic of U.S. History between 1492-1870 and respond to several questions.
  • Note that the discussion and assignment in this module are preparation for the larger capstone podcast assignment, though they could still be assigned without assigning the podcast.
  • Introduce the Capstone Podcast Project
Module 8: Industrial Transformation (1800–1850)
Module 9: Democracy in America (1820–1840)
  • Assignment: Differing Historical Perspectives
  • It is the election of 1832 and you are tasked with either (1) preparing a brief “stump speech” for a campaign stop, OR (2) creating a political advertisement either promoting your own candidate or warning about the dangers of another candidate.
Capstone Project: Podcast Part 1—Research

  • Students do research and complete an annotated bibliography related to their podcast topic
Module 10: Westward Expansion (1800–1860)
  • Discussion: Continuity and Change Through Manifest Destiny
  • Explain at least two ways in which European colonization of the Americas during the Age of Exploration is the same as the 19th-century ideals of Manifest Destiny.
  • Select which of the policy changes listed you feel most closely represents the principles of Manifest Destiny.
  • Assignment: Reimagining Historical Change Western Movie Synopsis
  • Choose an event from the course content that impacted the westward expansion of the United States (the annexation of Oregon, Texas, The U.S.-Mexican War, The Gold Rush, etc.) and write a synopsis for a dramatic Hollywood movie centered around the event you chose
Module 11: Cotton Is King — The Antebellum South (1800–1860)
  • Discussion: The Slavery Debate
  • Read two primary sources from an abolitionist and defender of slavery and answer discussion questions about the arguments in each.
Capstone Project: Podcast Part 2—Draft

  • Students create a script for their podcast
Module 12: Religion and Reform (1820–1860)
Module 13: Troubled Times — The Sectional Crisis
  • Discussion: Was it Inevitable?
  • Imagine for a moment that you are a time traveler sent on a mission to prevent the Civil War from taking place. You can intercede in one event from the 1850s. Identify your selection and why you think altering this particular event will make the Civil War less likely.
  • Assignment: Casting Call
  • Select five historical figures whose perspective a new Broadway musical will follow through the 1850s. Once you have selected the five historical figures, you will select the contemporary people who you will cast in these roles and explain your casting selections.
Module 14: The Civil War (1860–1865)
  • Module 14 Discussion: Civil War Photography and Monuments
  • Pick ONE prompt:
    • Analyze a Civil War Photograph and write up a description for the photograph for an art gallery.
    • Research a Confederate Civil War Monument and evaluate why some think it should stay and some think it should be removed.
  • Assignment: Historical Snacks
  • Pick an interesting or important person or event from the Civil War time period and create a social media post related to this topic. The post should be historically accurate, reference at least one historical figure or event, and teach about something novel or interesting.
Capstone Project: Podcast Part 3—Final Podcast

  • Students submit the final podcast
Module 15: The Era of Reconstruction (1865–1877)
  • Assignment: The Right to Run for Office
  • Choose the U.S. zip code, county, town, or state where you were born. Do your own independent research and find out who the first Black or Indigenous person elected to office from your selected area or state was/is. Make a brief PowerPoint presentation on your elected official.

If interested in additional project ideas or generic course-level assignments, this google doc explains options for a primary source paper, visiting a museum, or watching a film.