"Imagination, Invention, and Innovation: The Making of American History” is a professional development program for elementary and secondary school teachers of U.S. history, social studies, and geography. It seeks to enhance teachers’ knowledge of U.S. history, deepen historical thinking skills, and offer new approaches for classroom instruction of traditional American history. Eight school districts in the Greater Boston area are participating in this three-year project, serving K-12 teachers. With Billerica Public Schools as the lead district, the partnership includes Amesbury, Chelmsford, Hamilton-Wenham, Littleton, Tewksbury, Triton Regional, and Westford. These eight school districts enroll over 31,000 students and have over 400 history and social studies teachers in grades K-12. Commenced in September, 2009, the program is funded by a Teaching American History grant from the United States Department of Education.
Themes and Content
“Imagination, Invention, and Innovation” explores several key themes in American History and spans from the period of 16th century Native American and European encounters to the present day. Imagination signifies the unique, shared, or often competing visions Americans have had for their country. Invention represents the manifestation of these visions as seen in our nation’s varied and changing customs, cultures, habits, and technologies, as well as in its legal, political, and social institutions. And, as Americans have experienced over the generations, some of these imaginings and inventions have foundered or proved to be destructive, while others have evolved and flourished as major innovations in human civilization.
Year 1: Native Americans, European Colonies, Revolution, and Creating a New Nation
Year 2: Reconstructing America: Upheaval, Immigration, and Reform
Year 3: An Innovative Nation: Technology, Culture, and Society
“Imagination, Invention, and Innovation” is designed to include intensive interactions between scholars in American history and teachers. Each year the program features lectures, discussions, local and regional field trips, hands-on workshops, and scholarly based teacher research projects. A day-long content session occurs in the spring and fall semesters, as does an after-school book discussion group. Week-long, content-intensive Summer Institutes are held each year. A culminating annual event highlights major program accomplishments and teachers’ research projects.
This grant is made possible by the United States Department of Education
Award #: 4215X090465