Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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5. Masculine Heroes   

5. Masculine

•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
•  Timeline
•  Activities
- Overview Questions
- Video
- Author
- Context
- Creative Response
- PBL Projects

Activities: Problem-Based Learning Projects

"How can I get my students to think?" is a question asked by many faculty, regardless of their disciplines. Problem-based learning (PBL) is an instructional method that challenges students to "learn to learn," working cooperatively in groups to seek solutions to real world problems. These problems are used to engage students' curiosity and initiate learning the subject matter. PBL prepares students to think critically and analytically, and to find and use appropriate learning resources." -- Barbara Duch, University of Delaware

  1. You are a lawyer hired by the Cherokee tribe to help them fight the Indian Removal Act, which they believe is unjust and should be overturned. You need to make your case convincing to the political authorities who can overturn the act. What courts or government agencies will you petition? How will you argue your position? What kind of evidence will you use? What kind of testimony will you solicit?

  2. You are a Mexican or Chinese miner forced off your claim by the Foreign Miners' Tax, which you cannot afford to pay. Prepare a petition to the California legislature in which you argue for your right to continue mining even though you are not a citizen of the United States. Be sure to address the issue of how your presence--and the presence of other "foreign" immigrants--affects the economy, culture, and environment in California.

  3. You have been asked to design an amusement park with a "frontier" theme. While your goal is to make the park fun, engaging, and accessible to children and families, you are also concerned that your representation of the "frontier" be accurate. How will you interpret the idea of the frontier? What will you call your park? How will you portray the history of American expansion and westward migration? What activities and exhibits will you provide for visitors to the park?

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