Sample Assignments

  • Sample Assignment Showcasing the Importance of Local/Regional History in the Early American Survey Course

    Brittany Adams focuses on incorporating more regional history into the early survey. She also emphasizes the importance of de-centering the British colonial narrative when teaching students who identify more with western US history, as do many of her students at UC Irvine.

  • Assignment: Social History of the Atlantic Slave Trade

    Shannon Bontrager not only incorporated global contexts into his survey, but he also used non-traditional and digital pedagogical tools to engage his students.

  • Chinese Immigrants in America in the 19th Century: A Study Module

    These materials, produced by Vincent A. Clark as a result of his work in the Bridging Cultures program, consist of an illustrated introduction, excerpts from four contemporaneous articles, an online quiz (not included in these materials), and an assignment for an e-mail discussion. The introduction describes not only the life of the immigrants in the United States but their economic and cultural background in China. The goal is to expand the students’ knowledge to include the China from which these immigrants came. Two of the articles oppose Chinese immigrants; two praise them. They are designed to let students see the varying perceptions of the immigrants, the arguments for and against Chinese immigration, and the complex class and ethnic dimensions of this controversy.

  • Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Extra Credit Assignment

    As part of her work in the Bridging Cultures program, Cheryll Cody designed a course assignment using the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database. It requires students to answer a series of questions by looking at the database’s extensive collection of maps and charts.

  • The US Becomes an Empire, Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries

    As part of his work in the Bridging Cultures program, Carlos Contreras provided some classroom assignments and activities that challenge students to think "Atlantically" and "Pacifically" as they think broadly about American history. This set of discussion questions focuses on the expansion of the US as it becomes an imperial power and has students critically examine the US-Caribbean relationship, Hawaii and the Philippines in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

  • Discussion Questions on the Film Manifest Destiny

    As part of his work in the Bridging Cultures program, Carlos Contreras provided some classroom assignments and activities that challenge students to think "Atlantically" and "Pacifically" as they think broadly about American history. This set of discussion questions focuses on the expansion of the US as it becomes an imperial power and has students critically examine the US-Caribbean relationship, Hawaii and the Philippines in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

  • National History Center Mock Policy Briefing Program

    Oct. 2, 2015 - Modeled on the National History Center's Congressional Briefings by Historians program, the Mock Policy Briefing Program aims to help students appreciate the importance of bringing historical perspectives to contemporary policy conversations.  Designed to be adaptable to many courses and teaching styles, the Mock Policy Briefing initiative provides a guide for history educators to develop and host briefings about the historical dimensions of current policy questions.  Read more about the background of the initiative in the October issue of Perspectives on History. 

  • Paper Assignment: Encountering Commodities in the Atlantic and the Pacific Worlds

    This sample assignment requires students to use primary and secondary sources to connect American history with the Atlantic and Pacific worlds and write a paper that focuses on the circulation of commodities, peoples, and ideas throughout those worlds. This paper assignment has three major parts: a list of sources for students to read and study along with guiding questions on each reading; a mapping exercise; and the five page paper.

  • Paper Assignment: Localizing Global Encounters, Case Study: New Netherland/New York (Suffolk County Community College)

    This sample assignment requires students to use primary and secondary sources to connect American history with the Atlantic and Pacific worlds and write a paper that focuses on encounters between different groups of Europeans in New Netherland/New York. This paper assignment has three major parts: a list of sources for students to read and study along with guiding questions on each reading; a mapping exercise; and the five page paper.

  • Sample Assignments from Globalized US History Courses

    As part of her work in the Bridging Cultures program, Amy Forss employed wide-ranging techniques such as PechaKucha presentations, oral history research, and greater study of maps to engage her students in their globalized US history courses. She even had her students find historical recipes and try them out.

  • Revolutions, Independence and New Nations: The Great Transformation

    As part of his work in the Bridging Cultures program, Carlos Contreras provided some classroom assignments and activities that challenge students to think "Atlantically" and "Pacifically" as they think broadly about American history. This set of discussion questions helps students consider the implications of revolution in the Atlantic world.

  • Discussion Questions on the Film Black in Latin America

    As part of his work in the Bridging Cultures program, Carlos Contreras provided some classroom assignments and activities that challenge students to think "Atlantically" and "Pacifically" as they think broadly about American history. This set of readings and discussion questions helps students consider the complexities of the Transatlantic slave trade and the broader Atlantic world during the colonial era, particularly considering the film "Black in Latin America."

  • Films and Readings on the African Slave Trade and the Atlantic World

    As part of his work in the Bridging Cultures program, Carlos Contreras provided some classroom assignments and activities that challenge students to think "Atlantically" and "Pacifically" as they think broadly about American history. This set of discussion questions helps students consider the complexities of the Transatlantic slave trade and the broader Atlantic world during the colonial era.

  • Africans in the Americas: Discussion Questions from Lepore, Benjamin, Articles, and Film

    As part of his work in the Bridging Cultures program, Carlos Contreras provided some classroom assignments and activities that challenge students to think "Atlantically" and "Pacifically" as they think broadly about American history. This set of discussion questions helps students consider the complexities of the Transatlantic slave trade and the broader Atlantic world during the colonial era.

  • Video Assignment Based on Isabel Allende's Daughter of Fortune

    Oscar Cañedo crafted this creative assignment about the California Gold Rush and the experiences of people traveling from South America to get to California. He used a story from prominent Latin American novelist Isabel Allende as a backdrop for the assignment. Students craft their own characters based on Isabelle Allende's novel Daughter of Fortune and produce videos to explain why they wished to make the arduous journey to California

  • Plagiarism: Curricular Materials for History Instructors

    History instructors can use this guide to teach students how to avoid plagiarism. It includes a discussion of how the American Historical Association defines plagiarism, tips on preventing and detecting plagiarism in student work, exercises to sharpen students’ understanding of plagiarism, a list of suggested readings for graduate students, an annotated bibliography, and a list of useful web sites.

  • ChronoZoom Memory and History Project Rubric

  • Discovering American Social History on the Web

    Dan Kallgren developed several sample assignments for use in his undergraduate survey course "United States History Since the Civil War," in the spring of 2000. Assignments can be used inidividually or in series, as each is accompanied by suggested reading and primary sources.

  • The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire

    One of Dan Kallgren's assignments. Students read a section from "Out of Many; A History of the American People" by John Mack Faragher, et al., to contextualize primary source documents about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. After analyzing the sources, the students write a short report.

  • The Anti-Saloon League

    One of Dan Kallgren's assignments. Students analyze digital primary sources in order to contextualize and understand the motivation of the Anti-Saloon League members.

  • Mapping Suburbanization

    One of Dan Kallgren's assignments. Using topographical maps from the University of New Hampshire, students explore how the landscape surrounding a 1950s New Hampshire city changed over time. Students are asked to consider how sociopolitical factors such as the Cold War might have affected the development of the United States.

  • World Civilizations: The Ancient Period to 500 CE

    In David Smith's project, students use world history methods (Big Picture, Diffusion, Syncretism, Comparison, and Common Phenomena) to interpret secondary and primary materials. Primary material is handled through directed reading questions that focus on three classics: the Odyssey, the Ramayana and the Analects.

  • JFK's Executive Orders and the New Frontier

    One of Dan Kallgren's assignments. Students analyze executive orders from President Kennedy to draw out themes and place them in the context of Kennedy's agenda.

  • United States History from the Civil War to the Present Syllabus

    Sue C. Patrick's syllabus for her United States History from the Civil War to the Present course, which includes assignments and links to digital primary sources.

  • United States History through the Civil War Syllabus

    Sue C. Patrick's syllabus for a United States History through the Civil War course. The syllabus includes assignments and links to digital primary sources.

  • Sample Assignment: Charting Your Journey with ORBIS

    Created by John Rosinbum as part of his Teaching with #DigHist series on AHA Today, This assignment asks students to craft a hypothetical journey using ORBIS, a digital humanities project at Stanford University that allows users to plot a route between sites in the Roman Empire and simulate the journey. After rationalizing the choices made when planning their trip, students use a comic strip or travel diary to recount the trials and tribulations of their journey. The assignment helps develop skills in writing narratives, real or imagined. In addition, it develops the historical skills of contextualization and causation by asking the students to ground their narratives in a place they have already learned about and then justify the steps in their journey. While designed for middle school students, the assignment and attached rubric could easily be adapted for students ranging from elementary school to entry-level undergraduate.

  • Sample Assignment: Comparing Spatial Depictions of the Roman World

    Created by John Rosinbum as part of his Teaching with #DigHist series on AHA Today, this assignment requires students to analyze the depictions of the Roman world created in digital projects ORBIS and the Digital Atlas of Roman and Medieval Civilizations. Designed for high performing high school students and freshman/sophomore undergraduate students, the assignment pushes students to compare the two projects and gives them the opportunity to explore how purpose, argument and data shape a project.

  • Sample Assignment: Visualizing the Transatlantic Slave Trade with Voyages

    Created by John Rosinbum as part of his Teaching with #DigHist series on AHA Today, this assignment offers students the opportunity to use their visual and/or technical skills to create a visualization of the transatlantic slave trade. Students will use the information provided by Voyages to create either a digital or an analog data visualization of the trade. In addition they will write a detailed guide explaining their process and defending their choices. This assignment asks them to think deeply about the process of visualizing history and personally involves them in the process of generating a better understanding of the past.

  • Sample Assignment: Tracking a Slave Ship with Voyages

    Created by John Rosinbum as part of his Teaching with #DigHist series on AHA Today, asks students to investigate a specific slave vessel and contextualize its journeys within their broader knowledge of the trade and concurrent historical events/processes that might have affected it.

  • Teaching the Slave Trade with Voyages: The Transatlantic Slave Trade Database (AHA Today)

  • New Perspectives on 19th-Century America [Assignment]

    John Rosinbum uses American Panorama, a digital atlas created by the University of Richmond's Digital Scholarship Lab, to teach students about the economic, cultural, and territorial transformations that changed America during the 19th century. In this assignment, students must create their own visualization of changes in 19th-century America. Students must also develop a guide that defends their research choices in the creation of the visualization, explains how the visualization extends our current understanding of the period, and distinguishes their visualization from American Panorama.

  • Analyzing Visual Depictions of America's Expansion with American Panorama

    John Rosinbum uses American Panorama, a digital atlas created by the University of Richmond's Digital Scholarship Lab, to teach students about the economic, cultural, and territorial transformations that changed America during the 19th century. In this sample assignment, he asks students to compare two maps from American Panorama dealing with the 19th century and explore how each map presents American expansion differently.