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Universal Themes

Take a few minutes to examine and think about the graphic, below.  Based on the history curriculum guide for your grade level, please write a paragraph describing your first thoughts on how you might integrate one or more of these themes in your yearly plan...


Universal Themes.V4.jpg

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  • I will use the graphic to the right-looks like an intersection-the theme is clearly shown to connect with the current world-a question our students always ask. This will also remind me to be certain to present learning activities that shows the current local and global connections of past history.
  • In my US History class we do a brief review of the American Revolution. The American Revolution (past history) can be compared to the revolutions in Egypt and Libya (current events and global issues), as well as any local issue that people are working to change. Students can also come up with any issue that they see as unfair at school and would like to see changed. Another thing I also do to relate the American Revolution to students is I read a "break up note" that I "found" in the hall. The students get very excited (and some are embarrassed that maybe the note might be theirs?) and I reveal at the end that this break up note is fake and compare it to the Declaration of Independence. I found this idea on the internet and it turned out to be a hit in the classroom since it really pulls the students in. 


    With these topics we can discuss the following themes: individual and group security, impact of science and technology, governance and group decision-making, and a few more! We can compare and contrast the American Revolution to the revolutions in Africa by examining the demands of those in rebellion as well as how technology impacts revolution.

  • testing, testing. . .one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind
  • Initial thoughts on 8th grade American History
    Human-environment interactions-native Americans pre-Europeans; English colonists
    Impact of science and technology- European Exploration (caravel, astrolabes, etc), westward expansion period (cotton gin, telegraph, steam engine, etc.)
    Governance and Group decision making-creating US Constitution; puritan society
  • I work frequently with my language arts teacher and one of her themes for 8th grade is "finding my place in the world."  I think it would be interesting to examine the theme of the individual and group security throughout history.  We could look at this theme as it relates to the French & Indian War, the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.  We could also examine the theme as it relates to Civics and the Constitution.  During the 2010-2011 school year, our team did a debate unit and one of the topics was "Are the TSA searches and body scanners an acceptable invasion of privacy?"  It would be interesting to address that debate topic with more historical knowledge.

  • This is a great framework for our 3/4 planning team when creating or reflecting on our theme studies. It is visually too much for intermediate kiddos to process themselves.


  • The themes are good for helping us as elementary educators focus a unit and develop questions.  But the structure of the model needs to be adapted for younger students.   It will serve us as teachers for planning purposes.  




  • The theme of Human - Enviro interaction is what we call a "big idea" theme that we look at all year. It ties in so well with the overall curr. of 8th grade.
  • Hopefully, you find the ideas in here to be useful tools for thinking about how to organize all of the "stuff" you have to "cover" into strands that help students to understand and apply enduring issues in U.S history and to respond to issues that they will face in their lives. TY for being such a wonderful,thoughtful group!
  • The theme of "Impact of Science and Technology" would be an interesting theme to discuss while studying World War I.  We could focus on how the new technology coming out helped or changed the way the war was fought and what part it played in the Allies victory.
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