Teaching Materials
Ask a Master Teacher
Lesson Plan Gateway
Lesson Plan Reviews
State Standards
Teaching Guides
Digital Classroom
Ask a Digital Historian
Tech for Teachers
Beyond the Chalkboard
History Content
Ask a Historian
Beyond the Textbook
History Content Gateway
History in Multimedia
Museums and Historic Sites
National Resources
Website Reviews
Issues and Research
Report on the State of History Education
Research Briefs
Best Practices
Examples of Historical Thinking
Teaching in Action
Teaching with Textbooks
Using Primary Sources
TAH Projects
Lessons Learned
Project Directors Conference
Project Spotlight
TAH Projects
Technical Working Group
Research Advisors
Teacher Representatives
Quiz Rules
Teaching History.org logo and contact info

Idea of America

strict warning: Only variables should be passed by reference in /websites/teachinghistory/sites/all/modules/date/date_api.module on line 866.
Photo, 2007 Powwow, Ken Rahaim, Smithsonian Institution, Flickr Commons

The Idea of America invites student discussion concerning the historical and present day manifestations of ideals such as unity and diversity, equality and freedom, common wealth and private wealth, and law and ethics. Note that high school students and educators comprise the intended audience.

The website is divided into two major portions—Current Events and the Virtual Republic. Current Events offers more than 80 case studies, each of which includes an introduction, key questions (ex: "What makes the nation decide it is the right time to expand the promise of freedom and equality?"), questions connecting these broader key questions to the specific current event, and links to news columns and videos. Recently added topics include women in the military; the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell; and the line between hate speech and First Amendment rights protection.

The Virtual Republic is the place for debate. Here, students are encouraged to write and publish statements on their opinions, beginning with "We believe. . . " These statements can form the basis for debate or support among schools and student groups across the country. Participation requires free student and teacher registration. Students engage as active citizens, and essentially form a microcosm of the Great Debate which has existed throughout the history of the United States.