Advanced Placement U.S. History

Ms. Kearns


Course objectives:

In this course, students will develop their critical thinking and analytical skills through an examination of issues and events within U.S. history while learning the material needed to perform well on the AP test. The course aims to prepare students for the May AP test and will allow them opportunities to develop skills needed for the test as well as practice assessments that are similar to that of the test. A large emphasis will be placed on acquiring analytical skills that will allow students to interpret primary source materials and other historical resources such as maps, tables, and graphs. Students will also develop their writing skills and ability to construct a well-reasoned argument based on historical knowledge. Additionally students will learn and utilize skills that are necessary for life beyond high school helping them to become effective communicators, collaborative team members, information literate researchers, innovative and practical problem solvers, self-directed learners, and globally aware citizens. In order to help achieve these goals students will be assessed in various ways including multiple choice assessments, short-answer responses, formal essay assessments, document-based essay questions, research-based projects, visual and oral presentations, creative expressions, and group-work activities.

            Students will be asked to examine major themes throughout U.S. history in order to prepare for the AP exam including Identity; Work, Exchange, and Technology; Peopling; Politics and Power; America in the world; Environment and Geography — physical and human; and Ideas, Beliefs, and Culture. They will be able to relate such themes and issues from the past to current issues and develop a better understanding about current issues and events as a result.

The course asks students to think critically and use a problem-solving approach when considering the issues and events in U.S. history. Each lesson will be based around an essential question in which the students will use information learned to make an educated evaluation about the topic/question. Students will be asked to view issues from multiple perspectives and evaluate how historical issues may relate to current issues and their community. This course will help students to be able to answer the following essential questions:


  • To what extent has America become the nation it was meant to be?
  • How has the inclusion and exclusion of various groups of people affected the course of U.S. history and how does it continue to affect our society?
  • How does the nature of democracy in the U.S. continually evolve as society grows and changes?



Units of study:

Unit 1 – Colonial History to Independence

Unit 2 – Federalist Era and Two-Party System

Unit 3 – Age of Jefferson and the Growth of Nationalism

Unit 4 – Economic Transformation and Sectionalism

Unit 5 – Jacksonian Era and Antebellum Reforms

Unit 6 – The West and Growing Tensions over Slavery

Unit 7 – Civil War and Reconstruction

Unit 8 – Last Frontier, New South and Industrial North

Unit 9 – Gilded Age Politics and Progressive Reform

Unit 10 – Becoming a World Power and the Great War

Unit 11 – Roaring Twenties, Great Depression and WWII 

Unit 12 – The Postwar Period and the Cold War

Unit 13 – Turbulence in the 1960s and 1970s

Unit 14 –  The Conservative Revival

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