In this two-year course developed by Harlem Academy history teacher Sean Robertson, students examine how the United States developed into its present day form through six snapshots from American history: The Boston Massacre, Bleeding Kansas, the Spanish-American War, Brown vs. Board of Education, the Gulf of Tonkin Incident and the Vietnam War, and the September 11, 2001 attacks.
By exploring the causes and impact of these seminal events in depth, rather than attempting to survey all of U.S. history, students develop a strong grasp of how and why our nation has evolved. By steeping themselves in a historical period, students learn about the hopes and fears that drive these transformational events and gain a foundation for thoughtful citizenship. The curriculum devotes extensive time to recent events, giving students relevant context to understand the world around them.
An inquiry-based approach asks students to be “junior historians,” detectives of the past. Instead of studying history by reading from a textbook, the curriculum centers on primary source analysis. As students explore primary sources, unravel different perspectives, and develop their own analysis of events, our students develop as readers and thinkers.