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Project of The American West

Contextualization

Introduction to the American West

The American West is a region of the United States that includes the westernmost states. Historically, it was a frontier of exploration and settlement, attracting people with the promise of adventure, economic opportunity, and a fresh start. This period of Western expansion, from the early 19th century to the early 20th century, was a defining era in American history.

The significance of the American West stretches far beyond geographical boundaries. It shaped the nation's identity, fueling dreams of wealth and success, but also sparking conflicts and raising profound questions about the meaning of freedom and the role of government. It was a complex and multifaceted story of exploration, settlement, conflict, innovation, and transformation.

The Historical Context

The exploration and settlement of the American West were driven by a combination of factors. The Louisiana Purchase in 1803, which doubled the size of the country, opened up vast new territories for settlement. The California Gold Rush of 1848-1855 and the discovery of silver in Nevada in the 1860s further accelerated Western migration. The construction of the transcontinental railroad, completed in 1869, made the journey to the West faster and easier, and opened up new opportunities for trade and economic development.

However, this period of Western expansion also brought about significant conflicts. The displacement and mistreatment of Native American tribes, the destruction of wildlife and natural resources, and the rise of powerful industrial and financial interests all raised profound moral and ethical questions. These issues still resonate today, making the history of the American West a subject of ongoing debate and controversy.

Resources for Further Study

For a deeper understanding of the American West, you can explore the following resources:

  1. The American West: A New Interpretive History by Robert V. Hine and John Mack Faragher. This book provides a comprehensive overview of the history of the American West, from prehistoric times to the present.

  2. The West - A documentary series by PBS. It covers the history of the American West, from the early days of the fur trade to the 20th century.

  3. The American West - An online course by Khan Academy. It explores the social, economic, and cultural history of the American West.

  4. National Archives: The West - A collection of primary source documents related to the history of the American West. It provides a firsthand look at the people and events that shaped the region.

  5. Smithsonian National Museum of American History: The American West - An online exhibit that explores the history and culture of the American West. It features artifacts, photos, and interactive displays.

Practical Activity

Activity Title: "The American West: A Historical Role Play"

Objective of the Project

This project aims to promote a deeper understanding of the historical events and social dynamics that occurred during the period of Western expansion in the United States. Through a detailed and immersive role-playing exercise, students will gain insights into the perspectives and experiences of different groups of people involved in this era, including settlers, Native Americans, and industrialists.

Detailed Description of the Project

  1. Research and Character Development: Students will be divided into groups of 3 to 5. Each group will be assigned a specific role to play, such as a pioneer settler, a Native American tribal leader, a railroad tycoon, or an environmentalist. Each student within the group will be responsible for researching their character's background, motivations, and role in the historical events of the American West.

  2. Scenario Creation: Based on their research, each group will create a scenario that represents a significant event or conflict related to the American West. The scenario should involve interactions between different groups of people, reflecting the complex social and cultural dynamics of the time.

  3. Role Play and Reflection: Each group will then act out their scenario in front of the class. After the role play, students will engage in a reflective discussion, exploring the different perspectives and motivations of the characters, and how these might have contributed to the events and conflicts of the American West.

  4. Report Writing: Each student will be responsible for writing a report documenting their research, the scenario they created, the role play, and the reflective discussion. The report will be structured as follows:

    • Introduction: Contextualize the theme, its relevance, real-world application, and the objectives of this project.
    • Development: Detail the theory behind the theme, explain the activity in detail, indicate the methodology used, and present and discuss the obtained results.
    • Conclusion: Revisit the main points of the project, explicitly state the learnings obtained, and draw conclusions about the work.
    • Bibliography: Indicate the sources they relied on to work on the project such as books, web pages, videos, etc.

Necessary Materials

  • Internet access for research
  • Library access for additional resources
  • Props and costumes for the role play (optional)
  • Paper and pen for note-taking and report writing

Project Deliverables

  • A role play scenario
  • A reflective discussion
  • A written report

Project Duration

The project is estimated to take more than twelve hours per participating student, distributed over a period of one month. This includes time for research, scenario creation, role play preparation, the role play itself, post-role play reflection, and report writing.

Project Grading Criteria

The projects will be evaluated based on four main criteria:

  1. Content (30%): The depth and accuracy of the historical research, and the quality and complexity of the role play scenario.

  2. Collaboration (30%): The ability to work effectively as a team, demonstrating good communication, time management, and problem-solving skills.

  3. Creativity (20%): The originality and creativity in the scenario creation and role play execution.

  4. Writing Skills (20%): The quality of the written report, including the clarity and organization of the writing, and the depth of the analysis and reflection.

The grading will be done collectively, taking into account both the group's output (role play and scenario) and each student's individual contribution (research and report writing).

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History

Feudal Japan

Contextualization

The Feudal Period in Japan, spanning from the 12th to the 19th century, was a complex and intriguing era that shaped the socio-political landscape of the country. It was characterized by a distinct social structure, the Samurai warrior class, the rise of Shogunate governments, and the influence of Zen Buddhism. This era of Japanese history is not only rich in ancient culture and traditions but also witnessed significant transformations that laid the foundation for modern Japan.

During this period, Japan was divided into numerous small territories controlled by powerful clans. These clans were engaged in continuous power struggles, leading to the emergence of the Samurai, an elite warrior class that became the dominant force in Japanese politics. The Samurai followed a strict code of conduct known as Bushido, which emphasized loyalty, honor, and obedience, and their role was not only limited to warfare but also encompassed various administrative and diplomatic responsibilities.

The central authority during the feudal period was largely decentralized, with the emergence of military dictators known as Shoguns. These Shoguns controlled the country through a system of vassalage, where they granted land and privileges to their loyal Samurai in exchange for their service and loyalty. This system, known as Feudalism, ensured a degree of stability and security in Japan.

The influence of Zen Buddhism, which arrived in Japan during this period, had a profound impact on the Japanese culture and society. Zen teachings emphasized self-discipline, meditation, and the pursuit of enlightenment, and it greatly influenced the Samurai code of conduct and their way of life. This fusion of warrior culture and Buddhist philosophy created a unique Japanese identity that still resonates today.

Resources

To embark on this journey, here are some reliable resources that will help you delve deeper into the captivating world of Feudal Japan:

  1. Japan: Memoirs of a Secret Empire: This PBS documentary series provides an in-depth understanding of the Feudal period and its impact on Japanese society.

  2. The Samurai Archives: This comprehensive website offers a vast amount of information on various aspects of the Samurai, the Shogunate, and Feudal Japan.

  3. Books:

    • "The Samurai: A Military History" by Stephen Turnbull
    • "Japan Emerging: Premodern History to 1850" by Karl F. Friday
    • "The Way of the Samurai" by Yamamoto Tsunetomo
  4. Videos: Crash Course: Feudal Japan - This engaging video provides a concise overview of Feudal Japan.

  5. Metropolitan Museum of Art: This online exhibition offers a visual exploration of the art and culture of Feudal Japan.

Practical Activity

Activity Title: "Exploring Feudal Japan: A Journey Through Time"

Objective of the Project

The objective of this project is to engage students in a hands-on exploration of the key aspects of Feudal Japan, including the social structure, the role of the Samurai, the Shogunate government, and the influence of Zen Buddhism. Students will work in groups, combining research with creative tasks, to gain a comprehensive understanding of this fascinating period in Japanese history.

Detailed Description of the Project

Each group will be tasked with creating a multimedia presentation that incorporates both visual and written elements to communicate their findings about Feudal Japan. The presentation should follow a chronological order, from the emergence of the Samurai to the end of the Feudal period, and should touch upon the key themes and events of each period.

The groups will also create a visual representation of a specific aspect of Feudal Japan, such as a feudal estate, a Samurai armor, a Zen garden, or a Shogunate government structure. This will enable them to not only understand the theoretical aspects of the period but also to visualize and appreciate the material and artistic culture of the time.

Necessary Materials

  1. Access to the internet for research.
  2. Books and other reference materials about Feudal Japan.
  3. Art supplies for creating visual representations (paper, markers, colored pencils, etc.).
  4. Presentation software (e.g., PowerPoint, Google Slides, Prezi, etc.).
  5. Camera or smartphone for capturing images of the visual representation.

Detailed Step-by-Step for Carrying Out the Activity

  1. Research (1 hour): Each group will conduct research on the assigned topics using the provided resources. This will involve understanding the social structure of Feudal Japan, the role and code of conduct of the Samurai, the power structure of the Shogunate government, and the influence of Zen Buddhism.

  2. Discussion and Planning (30 minutes): After completing their research, the group members will discuss their findings, ask questions, and plan their presentation and visual representation. Each group member should have a clear role in the project, such as researcher, writer, artist, or presenter.

  3. Presentation Creation (1 hour): The group will then create their multimedia presentation. This should include an introduction to Feudal Japan, a chronological overview of the period, detailed explanations of the key themes and events, and a conclusion that highlights the group's main findings.

  4. Visual Representation Creation (1 hour): Simultaneously, the group members will work together to create their visual representation. This should be based on their understanding of the assigned topic and should be accompanied by a brief description that explains its significance in the context of Feudal Japan.

  5. Rehearsal (30 minutes): The group will rehearse their presentation, ensuring that each member is comfortable with their role and that the presentation flows smoothly.

  6. Presentation (15 minutes per group): Each group will present their project to the class, explaining their findings and the significance of their visual representation.

  7. Q&A and Discussion (15 minutes per presentation): After each presentation, there will be a Q&A session and a group discussion about the project. This will allow students to deepen their understanding of the topics and learn from their peers' insights.

Project Deliverables

At the end of the project, each group will submit:

  1. A multimedia presentation about Feudal Japan (this should be in the form of a PowerPoint or PDF file).
  2. A visual representation of a specific aspect of Feudal Japan (this can be a photograph or a scanned image).
  3. A written document (report) detailing their research, the development of their project, and the conclusions drawn.

The report should be structured in the following sections:

  1. Introduction: An overview of the Feudal Japan period, its significance, and the objectives of the project.
  2. Development: Detailed explanation of the group's research process, the information they gathered, and the methodology they used to create the presentation and visual representation.
  3. Conclusions: A summary of the main points learned about Feudal Japan, and the conclusions drawn from the project.
  4. Bibliography: A list of all the resources used in the project, including books, websites, videos, etc.

Through this project, students will not only gain a deeper understanding of Feudal Japan but also develop valuable skills such as research, teamwork, communication, and creativity.

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History

Classic Greece

Contextualization

Introduction

Welcome to the project on Classic Greece, a period in history that has laid the foundation for the democratic principles, philosophy, literature, and arts that we enjoy today. This era, known as the "Golden Age" of Greece, spans from the 5th to the 4th centuries BCE.

In this project, we will be exploring the core elements of Classical Greece, including its political structure, notable philosophers, significant historical events, cultural contributions, and the daily life of its citizens. We will delve into topics like the birth of democracy, the teachings of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, the Persian Wars, the Peloponnesian War, and the Olympics, just to name a few.

Greece, in particular, the city-state of Athens, forms the basis of much of our modern societies. It was a hub of intellectual and artistic innovations, where ideas were shared and debated, and where the foundations of Western philosophy, literature, and art were laid.

Importance of Classic Greece

Understanding Classic Greece is more than just a study of the past; it's a key to understanding present-day society. The concepts, philosophies, and forms of government that originated in this period still resonate in our world today.

The birth of democracy in Athens is especially significant. It introduced the idea that people should have a say in how they are governed, an idea that has shaped many modern governments. The teachings of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle laid the groundwork for Western philosophy and continue to influence our thoughts on ethics, politics, and the nature of reality.

The cultural contributions of Classic Greece are also profound. From the epics of Homer to the dramas of Sophocles, from the sculptures of Phidias to the temples of the Acropolis, these achievements continue to inspire and influence our art and literature.

Resources

To guide your exploration of Classic Greece, I recommend the following resources:

  1. Ancient Greece - History, mythology, art, war, culture, society, and architecture
  2. BBC Bitesize - Ancient Greece
  3. Khan Academy - Ancient Greece
  4. The Metropolitan Museum of Art - Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Ancient Greece
  5. Crash Course - World History: The Greeks

These resources provide a comprehensive overview of Classic Greece and will help you delve deeper into its different aspects.

Practical Activity

Activity Title: "Journey through Classic Greece: An Interactive Timeline"

Objective of the Project

The main objective of this project is to create an interactive timeline that not only highlights the significant events and contributions of Classic Greece but also offers an immersive experience of the period. This will require the integration of historical research, creative design, and technological skills.

Detailed Description of the Project

In groups of 3 to 5, students will:

  1. Conduct in-depth research on the major events, influential figures, cultural contributions, and daily life in Classic Greece. This should cover a span of 100 years, from 500 BCE to 400 BCE.
  2. Create a digital timeline using a platform of their choice (e.g., Timeline JS, Prezi, Sutori, etc.), incorporating their research findings, images, videos, and interactive elements.
  3. Write a script for a "tour guide" who will narrate the timeline, providing historical context and interesting facts about each event.
  4. Record a voice-over of the tour guide script, syncing it with the timeline to create a dynamic presentation.
  5. Present their timeline to the class, leading the class on a virtual tour of Classic Greece.

The timeline should be structured in chronological order, and each event should be accompanied by a short description, relevant images or videos, and an explanation of its significance.

Necessary Materials

  1. Access to research materials (books, online resources, etc.)
  2. A computer with internet access for each group.
  3. Digital timeline creation platform (Timeline JS, Prezi, Sutori, etc.)
  4. Audio recording and editing software (Audacity, GarageBand, etc.)
  5. A projector or large screen for the presentation.

Detailed Step-by-Step for Carrying Out the Activity

  1. Research (Approximately 2 hours): Each group should divide the research topics among themselves and conduct thorough research on Classic Greece, focusing on the key events, influential figures, cultural contributions, and daily life.

  2. Timeline Creation (Approximately 3 hours): After the research, the group should decide on the structure and design of their timeline. They should then populate it with their findings, ensuring each event is accompanied by a brief description, relevant images or videos, and an explanation of its significance.

  3. Script Writing (Approximately 1 hour): The group should now write a script for the "tour guide" who will be leading the class through the timeline. The script should provide historical context and interesting facts about each event.

  4. Audio Recording (Approximately 1 hour): The group should record a voice-over of the tour guide script. They may use audio recording and editing software to enhance the audio quality if available.

  5. Presentation (Approximately 1 hour): The group should present their timeline to the class, leading the class on a virtual tour of Classic Greece. They should explain the events, their significance, and any interesting facts they found during their research.

Project Deliverables

At the end of the project, each group will submit a written document and the digital timeline.

The written document should follow the structure of an academic paper:

  1. Introduction: Briefly explain the importance of Classic Greece and the objective of your project.
  2. Development: Detail the theory behind Classic Greece, describe the activities carried out in the project, explain the methodology used, and finally present and discuss the results obtained.
  3. Conclusions: Revisit the main points of your project, state what you've learned about Classic Greece, and discuss any insights or conclusions you have drawn from the project.
  4. Bibliography: List all the resources you used during your research.

The digital timeline should be a comprehensive and engaging representation of Classic Greece. It should be clear, easy to navigate, and visually appealing. The inclusion of interactive elements (e.g., quizzes, games, etc.) is highly encouraged.

Conclusion and Grading Criteria

This project is designed to assess your understanding of Classic Greece, your ability to work in a team, your research and presentation skills, and your creativity in designing an interactive learning experience.

Grading will be based on:

  1. The depth and accuracy of your research.
  2. The organization and clarity of your timeline.
  3. The creativity and educational value of your interactive elements.
  4. The clarity and enthusiasm of your presentation.
  5. The quality and coherence of your written document.

This project will not only deepen your knowledge of Classic Greece but also improve your collaboration, creativity, research, and presentation skills. Enjoy your journey through Classic Greece!

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History

Manifest Destiny

Contextualization

Introduction to Manifest Destiny

Manifest Destiny was a belief that emerged in the 19th century in the United States. The term "Manifest Destiny" was first coined by journalist John O'Sullivan in 1845, who stated that expansion across the continent was a divine and inevitable right of the American people. This belief drove the westward expansion of the United States and influenced American policy towards Native Americans, Mexicans, and other foreign nations.

The concept of Manifest Destiny was based on the idea of American exceptionalism, which held that the United States was a unique and morally superior nation with a special mission to spread its values and institutions. This belief played a significant role in shaping American attitudes towards territorial expansion and foreign policy during the 19th century.

Main Ideas and Historical Context

Manifest Destiny was an influential force in shaping the territorial boundaries of the United States. It was a key factor in the acquisition of vast territories such as Oregon, Texas, and California. The idea of Manifest Destiny was also used to justify the displacement and mistreatment of Native Americans, as well as the annexation of Mexican territory.

The concept of Manifest Destiny was not without its critics. Some, like the writer Henry David Thoreau, argued that it was an excuse for aggression and imperialism. Others, such as the abolitionist Frederick Douglass, saw it as a pretext for the expansion of slavery.

Resources

For a deeper understanding of Manifest Destiny, the following resources are recommended:

  1. PBS Documentary: "Manifest Destiny"
  2. Digital History: "Manifest Destiny"
  3. American Experience: "The Gold Rush"
  4. Library of Congress - Primary Documents in American History: "The Monroe Doctrine"

These resources provide a comprehensive overview of Manifest Destiny, its historical context, and its impact on U.S. history.

Practical Activity

Activity Title: "Manifest Destiny: A Journey to the West"

Objective of the Project:

The objective of this project is to provide students with a hands-on understanding of the concept of Manifest Destiny, its causes, and its effects. Students will work collaboratively to create a visual presentation and a narrative story that reflects the historical events surrounding Manifest Destiny.

Detailed Description of the Project:

In this project, students will be divided into groups of 3 to 5 and will be assigned a specific event or territory related to Manifest Destiny. Each group will then create a "journey" that reflects the historical events leading up to the acquisition of that territory. The journey should include key events, notable figures, and an analysis of the impact of Manifest Destiny on the local population.

Groups will also be tasked with creating a visual presentation to complement their narrative story. The presentation should include maps, images, and other visual aids to help illustrate their journey and the effects of Manifest Destiny.

Necessary Materials:

  1. Access to the internet for research
  2. Art supplies for creating visual aids (poster board, markers, colored pencils, etc.)
  3. Presentation software (PowerPoint, Google Slides, etc.) for creating the visual presentation

Detailed Step-by-Step for Carrying out the Activity:

  1. Research (1 hour): Each group will start by researching their assigned topic. They should look for information on the key events, figures, and impacts related to their topic.
  2. Storyboarding (30 minutes): After completing their research, the group will create a storyboard for their journey. The storyboard should outline the key events and how they will be presented in the narrative story and the visual presentation.
  3. Narrative Story (1 hour): Using their storyboard as a guide, the group will write a narrative story that reflects their journey. The story should be engaging and informative, highlighting the key points from their research.
  4. Visual Presentation (1 hour): Simultaneously, the group will create a visual presentation that complements their narrative story. The presentation should include maps, images, and other visual aids that help illustrate their journey and the effects of Manifest Destiny.
  5. Integration (30 minutes): The group will integrate their narrative story and visual presentation, making sure that each complements the other and tells a cohesive story.
  6. Revision (30 minutes): The group will review their work, making any necessary revisions or additions.
  7. Final Presentation and Report Writing (1 hour): Each group will present their project to the class, explaining their journey and the effects of Manifest Destiny on their assigned territory. After the presentation, each group will work together to write the final report.

The written document must contain:

  1. Introduction: Contextualize the theme, its relevance, and real-world application. State the objective of the project.
  2. Development: Detail the theory behind Manifest Destiny, explain the activity in detail, indicate the methodology used, and present and discuss the obtained results.
  3. Conclusion: Conclude the work by revisiting its main points and explicitly stating the learnings and conclusions drawn about Manifest Destiny.
  4. Bibliography: Indicate the sources you relied on to work on the project, such as books, web pages, videos, among others.

This project should take approximately 4-5 hours to complete and is designed to not only deepen students' understanding of Manifest Destiny but also to develop their research, collaborative, and creative skills.

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