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Units February 17, 2023

A Children's History


Lesson Summary: Students conduct research to create children’s picture books about underreported, or historically “erased,” topics in the teaching of U.S. history. Downloads: Unit resources

This unit was created by U.S. history teachers from Purdue Polytechnic High School, as part of the 2022 cohort of The 1619 Project Education Network. It is designed for facilitation across approximately eight weeks, and includes 40 55-minute lessons.

Objectives and Outcomes

Students will be able to:

  1. Examine topics of historical erasure and understand why it is important to study these topics. 
  2. Identify a topic of historical erasure and become content area experts in their topics. 
  3. Conduct research about a topic and develop the skills to synthesize what they have learned. 
  4. Develop their own pedagogical understanding of how to teach younger students.

Unit Overview

In this project, students will be asked to create children’s picture books about underreported, or historically “erased,” topics in the teaching and sharing U.S. history.  Students will examine why these topics and stories have been historically ‘erased’ from narratives of U.S. history. They will also develop an understanding of how a historical narrative changes when these topics are put back into the teaching of history. 

In this project, students will practice their research skills to develop a thorough understanding of a chosen topic that they believe has been underrepresented in the teaching of U.S. history. They will then practice presenting this information in a format acceptable to younger students. This project will require that students become experts on their chosen topic so that they can synthesize the material into easily understandable lessons for younger students. The culminating project will ask students to then share their products with local elementary students.

Performance Task

Students will produce a children’s book for younger students that aims to engage students in an analysis of topics that they have identified as being ‘erased’ from the teaching of U.S. history. They will determine their topics as part of their analysis during the unit of several resources. By creating a children’s book that effectively synthesizes difficult topics into media acceptable for younger children, students will show that they have mastered understanding of the key themes and details related to a historical topic.


This project will be an eight-week PBL (Project Based Learning) Unit made up of regular ‘Checkpoints’ to monitor students’ progress toward specific goals. Each checkpoint will help students build toward their final product. Before moving from one checkpoint onto the next, students will need to show mastery of the previous topics (Checkpoints listed below in daily lesson plans).  
Final Project will be graded with this rubric: [.pdf] [.docx]


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