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Teaching American History Grant


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The Meaning of Freedom: Ohio and the Nation

. . . was a Teaching American History grant funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Over the course of four project years (2010-2014), the grant provided professional development training in traditional American history to teachers from seventeen school districts in Stark County, Ohio. A collaboration of the Stark County Educational Service Center, The University of Akron, the Ohio Historical Society, and the National Constitution Center, the project provided teachers with exceptional professional development opportunities that fostered deeper understandings of American history content and enhanced instructional skills. 

The project framed its historical content within the overarching theme of the meaning of freedom: how it was conceptualized in the founding documents of the United States and Ohio, how groups of Americans perceived that meaning over time and space, and how the meaning of freedom continues to influence our lives today. The project explored these themes through a series of historic site visits, scholar seminars, and lesson plan workshops. These activities immersed teachers in the physical space where historic events occurred, as well as provided them with access to primary source materials and training in how to use these sources effectively in their classrooms. The project also sought to improve the teachers’ abilities to craft content-rich, inquiry based lesson plans that engage students in historical thinking, thereby improving student achievement.

One of the grant’s goals was to disseminate the content of the project to teachers throughout Stark County. The project trained a core of teachers who would later share this content with their professional peers. The project staff also made resources, including this website, available for use beyond the life of the grant.  

This website includes: 
  • Participant-designed lesson plans for Fourth Grade, Fifth Grade, Eighth Grade, High School American History, and AP American History. The lesson plans align with the Ohio content standards in place during the project years (2010-2014) and may require alterations to meet current standards.
  • Resource links to over 140 content-rich websites including archives, libraries, museums, historic sites, and educational institutions. The websites are organized into 17 categories ranging from American history topics to instructional strategies and technical support. 

For more information, contact:
Gregory Wilson, Ph.D.
Department of History
The University of Akron