April 19, 2023, College Park, MD—National History Day® (NHD) is proud to feature the work of two scholars and 30 educators who contributed to Revolutionary Ideals, a new collection of lesson plans and essays in preparation for the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 2026. These classroom materials will help middle school and high school social studies teachers engage students with unique primary sources and engage active learning strategies to further historical thinking skills.

The materials in this book resulted from a 2022 Summer Teacher Institute held in partnership with the Rhode Island Historical Society. This program focused on revolutionary ideals, exploring the ideals of the time and considering how they were (or were not) practiced or applied fully. Working with scholars, repositories, museums, and historical societies, teachers studied the colonial and revolutionary eras through expert lectures, museum visits, and research at various archives and libraries.

“This resource is designed to start the celebration of our nation’s anniversary by exploring the foundational ideas on which this nation was built,” said Dr. Cathy Gorn, National History Day Executive Director. “By engaging expert scholars and historical collections, the teachers produced lesson plans to help teachers across the nation engage their students with the questions and ideas that permeated the founding era while engaging diverse stories that help students see the time period in a new light.” NHD would like to thank Tom Lauer and the Dr. Scholl Foundation for their generous support of these programs and this resource.

The book contains the following essays and lessons:

Staging a Revolution: The Complex History of Turning Thoughts into Actions
C. Morgan Grefe, Ph.D., Executive Director, Rhode Island Historical Society
Revolutionary Ideals and the Study of American History
Abby Chandler, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Lesson Plans:
Using Maps to Compare European Colonization in North America
Eun Jung Kim, Santa Teresa High School, San Jose, California
Abigail Kuhn, Charlotte Middle School, Charlotte, Michigan
The Puritans and “Liberty of Conscience”: Conflicting Views on Religious Freedom in Colonial New England
Leif Liberg, Saint Mary’s Ryken High School, Leonardtown, Maryland
William Turner, Cornerstone Charter Academy High School, Belle Isle, Florida
New Ideas in a New Land: Roger Williams’s and William Penn’s Quest for Autonomy and Freedom in Colonial America
Julia Texeira, Barrington Middle School, Barrington, Rhode Island
Kevin Wagner, Carlisle High School, Carlisle, Pennsylvania
Metacom’s (King Philip’s) War: The Remaking of Colonial Identity
Valerie Carnevale, North Smithfield Middle School, North Smithfield, Rhode Island
Christina O’Connor, Hingham High School, Hingham, Massachusetts
The Regulators of North Carolina: Rebels with a Cause
Guadalupe Cardenas, Lee County High School, Sanford, North Carolina
Kathryn Kennedy, George Stevens Academy, Blue Hill, Maine
Rum and Revolution: Rhode Island’s Role in the Triangular Trade
Marisa Rubel, School Lane Charter School IB Campus, Bensalem, Pennsylvania
Christopher Stewart, North Lakes Academy Charter School, Forest Lake, Minnesota
The Gaspee Raid: Prelude to the Boston Tea Party?
Michael McNamara, Ponaganset High School, Glocester, Rhode Island
Frank X. O’Grady, Menlo Park Academy, Cleveland, Ohio
Party in Philadelphia: Tea, Time, and Troubles
Alan Birkemeier, Central Middle School, Columbus, Indiana
Paul Nadeau, Western Hills Middle School, Cranston, Rhode Island
Women’s Coverture: Unpacking the Historical Context of Abigail Adams’s Call to “Remember the Ladies”
Kris Hart, Ardsley High School, Ardsley, New York
Deanna McDaniel, Genoa Middle School, Westerville, Ohio
The Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Great Law of Peace: A Precursor to the United States Constitution
Jodi Belford, Western Hills Middle School, Cranston, Rhode Island
Joe Russell, Ph.D., Plano East Senior High School, Plano, Texas
Founding Mothers: Women and the Spread of Revolutionary Ideals
Meghan FitzGerald
Laura Quindlen, Freedom High School, South Riding, Virginia
Free Press and its Limits in Colonial America
Rebecca L. Byrd, Sevier County High School, Sevierville, Tennessee
Michelle Zaia, Brookfield Central School, Brookfield, New York
Revolutionary Ideals and Native Nations: Taking Sides in the American Revolution
Amy Boehning, Mililani High School, Hawaiʻi
Sandra E. Garcia, Theodore Roosevelt Middle School, Glendale, California
Promises Made, Promises Broken: The Rhode Island First Regiment and The Struggle for Liberty
Dianne E. Johnston, University Academy Charter School, Panama City, Florida
Sarah R. Woltring, Murphy High School, Mobile, Alabama
Revolutionary Ideals in Action: Comparing the American, French, and Haitian Revolutions
Ken Ekstein, Frontier Regional School, South Deerfield, Massachusetts
Kristin Rentschler, Columbia City High School, Columbia City, Indiana

About National History Day® (NHD):

NHD is a non-profit organization based in College Park, Maryland, that seeks to improve the teaching and learning of history. The National History Day Contest was established in 1974 and currently engages more than half a million students every year in conducting original research on historical topics of interest. Students present their research as a documentary, exhibit, paper, performance, or website. Projects compete first at the local and affiliate levels, where the top entries are invited to the National Contest at the University of Maryland at College Park. NHD is sponsored in part by HISTORY®, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Park Service, The Better Angels Society, and the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation. For more information, visit nhd.org.

About the Rhode Island Historical Society:

The Rhode Island Historical Society, the state’s oldest and only state-wide historical organization, is dedicated to honoring, interpreting, and sharing Rhode Island’s past to enrich the present and inspire the future. Founded in 1822, the RIHS is an advocate for history as a means to develop empathy and 21st-century skills, using its historical materials and knowledge to explore topics of timeless relevance and public interest. As a Smithsonian Affiliate, it is dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible public programming and educational opportunities for all Rhode Islanders through the Newell D. Goff Center for Education & Public Programs and across its four sites: the John Brown House Museum, the Museum of Work & Culture, the Mary Elizabeth Robinson Research Center, and the Aldrich House. The RIHS is proud to be the Rhode Island Affiliate for National History Day.


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