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America's Heritage:  An Adventure in Liberty
Middle School Lesson Plan Downloads
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This middle school resource can be downloaded by lesson or all at once.  Due to file size & download time, downloading the entire resource at once is recommended only for those with fast connections like DSL.
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1-Introduction: The introduction to the AHEF middle school edition of America's Heritage: An Adventure in Liberty includes the publication and contact information, the table of contents, and the purpose/rationale for the lessons. The preface essay, 1776--From Freedom to Oppression: Modern History's First Experiment in Self-Government, offers a philosophical, political, historical, and socio-economic background for the birth of the United States and the corresponding ideology of the lessons. (759 KB)
Download:     National Edition             

2-American Heritage Themes: Students have the opportunity to define, understand, and examine the four underlying, philosophical themes of the AHEF lessons—Freedom, Unity, Progress, and Responsibility—that are important for citizens individually and for our nation as whole. The lesson includes related quotes by well-known figures, a think-aloud, a poster activity, and a writing assignment for personal application. (254 KB)
Download:     National Edition          

3-Colonial America:  Causes of the American Revolution:   Students understand the reasons for and context in which immigrants came to America, and they experience colonial life.  Students learn about British policies in the colonies and their effects on colonists in early America with regard to the causes of the American Revolution.  The lesson includes the Independence Game--a simulation of colonial life, trade, British rule, and events that occurred prior to and leading up to the American Revolution.  (906 KB)
Download:     National Edition           

4-Lives, Fortunes, Sacred Honor: Students learn about the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the sacrifices they made in order to secure their right to freedom. Students recognize and appreciate the value of freedom as well as the bravery and valor of the men who fought for it for the benefit of all people. Students become familiar with aspects of the colonial period including its clothing styles and events. The lesson includes background readings and portraits of ten signers, a crossword puzzle, and a create-a-signer project with biography writing and art activities. (741 KB)
Download:     National Edition           

5-Declaration of

"The art project on the Declaration of Independence was so popular with my classes that I modified and repeated it with the Constitution.  The cut-up strips along the wall in the picture are the Constitution.  ...  Your lesson helped to educate not just the 8th grade but the entire Elementary/Middle School.  'Independence Hall' is the path by which students enter the building every morning.  The little ones stood daily and admired the art work.  The older students read the biographies.  Thanks so much."
Photo by Beth M., Teacher, Elem/Mid School

Independence:
Students become familiar with the main structural components of the Declaration of Independence as well as analyze and understand the important ideas imbedded within the document including the thematic concept of freedom, the purpose of government, human rights, and the social contract theory. The lesson includes a copy of the Declaration, a text scramble, a vocabulary comprehension activity, and analytical and reflective writing applications.
(738 KB)
Download:     National Edition             

6-U. S. Constitution:  Students will learn about and understand the purpose and significance of the Constitution, the American beliefs and principles reflected in the document, and specific meanings and interpretations of the text.  The lesson includes a copy of the Constitution, a text scramble, the Preamble in sign language, the Citizenship Day and Constitution Week Proclamation, and creative applications and activities. (925 KB)
Download:     National Edition         

7-The History of Thanksgiving Day: Students discover the historical setting, origin, and meaning behind the first Thanksgiving holiday and, in the process, learn about the contributions of different people in the appreciation of unified, national blessing. The lesson includes a historical reading and comprehension activity, a T-chart response worksheet, a celebration idea, and an artistic parade assignment. (640 KB)
Download:     National Edition        

8-Bill of Rights:  Rights and Responsibilities: Students consider and appreciate their rights as reflected in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution, assessing the source and significance of various rights and understanding the need to exercise such rights appropriately and responsibly.  The lesson includes a copy of the Bill of Rights, an abridged description of the original ten amendments, a practice in creating a bill, a survey and analysis-evaluation of our rights, and a student code of conduct study. (596 KB)
Download:     National Edition            

9-Our National Documents: Students identify and compare/contrast the United States' significant primary documents including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights in order to gain an overview of what they are, mean, represent, and assert and how they relate to one another.  The lesson includes an essay about the meanings and purposes of these primary documents, text of the Constitution, a K-W-L chart, and visual timeline and charting activities. (572 KB)
Download:     National Edition             

10-The United States Flag: Students learn about the value and meaning of the U. S. flag as a symbol of freedom and unity by examining the various elements of the flag as well as the official uses of and ways to display the flag. The lesson includes a copy of the U. S. Federal Flag Code, a group vocabulary and analysis activity, and writing and collage ideas. (619 KB)
Download:     National Edition            

11-The Star-Spangled Banner: Students explore the background and meaning of our national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner," recognizing the unity inspired by how people fight for freedom for themselves and their fellow citizens. Students examine the text of the song and why it was adopted. The lesson includes a historical reading with response questions, a copy of the full text of the anthem, and a reflective journal assessment. (524 KB)
Download:     National Edition          

12-The Gettysburg Address: Students become familiar with President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and the responsibility that Lincoln demonstrated in affirming important ideas on which our nation was established and showing honor for the Americans that gave their lives to protect these ideas. The lesson includes a copy of the Gettysburg Address with a contextual reading, a vocabulary and analysis activity, a text puzzle, and pocket cards. (633 KB)
Download:     National Edition           

13-The National Motto: Students consider the nation's motto, "In God We Trust," as it progressively echoes the ideas of the Declaration of Independence and appears on U. S. currency. Students learn about the history and ideology of the national motto, the contributions of the Founding Fathers, and the role of religion in our nation's foundation. The lesson includes a reading about the country's religious freedom, a response worksheet, a motto timeline, and a collage activity. (554 KB)
Download:     National Edition            

14-The Statue of Liberty: Students discover and clarify the real meaning and significance behind the Statue of Liberty or Liberty Enlightening the World, including and elaborating on the thematic concept of freedom. Students examine the reasons for immigration to the United States and the content and relevance of the poem inscribed on Lady Liberty. The lesson includes a historical reading and book excerpt, a response worksheet, and reflective response charts. (632 KB)
Download:     National Edition           

15-The Pledge of Allegiance: Students learn, recite, and analyze the nation's Pledge of Allegiance as a symbol of unity and patriotism among U. S. citizens. Students explore the meanings behind the terms in the text and the reasons why they are included. The lesson includes a vocabulary exercise, a copy and analysis of the Pledge text, and a creative rewriting assessment. (605 KB)
Download:     National Edition           

16-What is an American?: Students reflect upon the philosophical, historical, religious, and economic underpinnings of the country. Ultimately, students recognize the need to be individually responsible and citizens who contribute to the betterment of the nation as well as appreciate the unified effort of all citizens of varying backgrounds toward this shared goal. The lesson includes a compare/contrast writing assignment, a collage activity, and a reflective essay. (461 KB)
Download:     National Edition            

17-Teacher Resources:  Religious Expression in Public Schools:   Religious expression is a historical element in the founding of the United States. Religious tolerance is known around the world as a key expression of freedom in our nation. Teachers and students can learn, clarify, and understand how religious freedom and expression applies to public schools and the classroom as addressed by the 1995 legal guidelines of the U. S. Department of Education.  (573 KB)
Download:     National Edition            

18-Character Education: This secondary level resource developed by HISD provides teachers and students with a month-by-month character education unit focus correlating with the AHEF themes of Freedom, Unity, Progress, and Responsibility. Each unit lists relevant or correlating resources including books, articles, and websites. (42 KB)
Download:     TAKS (State of Texas)

Model Test Units:  The following model test items are designed to provide a starting point for teachers to assess student knowledge of the American Heritage concepts tested on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS).  These items may be changed and modified in any fashion as needed by the teacher.  (80 KB)
Download:     TAKS (State of Texas)

Texas (HISD) Project CLEAR Objective Correlations, Grade 8:
  The middle school edition of America's Heritage: An Adventure in Liberty correlates with Houston Independent School District's (HISD) Project CLEAR in Required Objectives and Correlations (ROCs) to assist and guide Texas teachers in the teaching of concepts on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) for Social Studies, Grade 8.
Download:     Project CLEAR Correlates Grade 8 (State of Texas)

Texas (HISD) Project CLEAR Lesson Correlations of Key Concepts, Questions, and TAKS Elements, Grade 8:  The middle school edition of America's Heritage:  An Adventure in Liberty correlates with Houston Independent School District's (HISD) Project CLEAR on key concepts, key questions, and TAKS elements to assist and guide teachers in the teaching of concepts on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) for Social Studies, Grade 8.
Download:     Project CLEAR Key Concepts Grade 8 (State of Texas)

National (NCSS) Standard Correlations:  The middle school edition of America's Heritage: An Adventure in Liberty correlates with national curriculum standards, including thematic strands and performance expectations, of the National Council for the Social Studies. In addition to the standards emphasized and noted within each lesson, this comprehensive list of all standards relating to the middle and high school level lessons gives teachers more ideas for lesson focus and purpose.
Download:     NCSS (National)

America's Heritage:  An Adventure in Liberty (National):  This supplement includes all sections of the middle school resource.  Lesson plans correlate to the National Council for the Social Studies standards applicable to teachers throughout the United States.  (Download recommended only for fast connections like DSL.)  (2.53 MB)

America's Heritage:  An Adventure in Liberty (State of Texas):  This supplement includes all sections of the middle school resource.  Lesson plans correlate to the Texas Assessment Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) standards applicable to teachers in the state of Texas and/or may be adapted nationally.  (Download recommended only for fast connections like DSL.)  (2.52 MB)

See also AHEF Teaching Tools for additional teaching materials.

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