Teaching When We Were British: Mapping British Influence on Early America for the K–12 Classroom

AHA Session 140
Saturday, January 9, 2016: 9:00 AM-11:00 AM
Crystal Ballroom A (Hilton Atlanta, First Floor)
Andy Mink, National Council for History Education

Session Abstract

A historian asks certain questions of documentary evidence.

A geographer asks different questions of the same documentary evidence evidence.

A teacher considers how to inspire these questions – and to provide evidentiary narrative.

 Combined, these approaches help form geo-literacy, a term that describes the ways in which a person views, understands, and interacts with the world.  The geo-literate individual has an understanding of the dynamic physical and cultural forces that interact across the world.  He or she has a spatial awareness of the world and is able to see and understand patterns, distributions, and interactions of the physical and human realms. 

 “When We Were British” is a digital project that explores the influence and impact of British history and culture on the roots of early America through judiciously selected primary source documents of the National Archives in London.  This serialized collection focuses on a variety of research questions that illustrate these connections and make them relevant for K-12 teaching and learning.  Once curated, each set of primary sources is visualized through mapping technology and geo-historical thinking strategies in order to focus on the power of place and the role of location.  With this lens, this project seeks to understand where things are found, why they are found where they are, and how these things develop and change over the course of time. 

This transatlantic collaboration features the work of eighteen classroom teachers from the United States and United Kingdom who created hands-on classroom activities based on  their research.  This session will feature three topics that support US History (including AP), World History, and World Geography curricula.  Attendees will receive an enhanced digital textbook that contains the collection.

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