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American Heritage Unit Study

Studying history is much more useful than many folks think. Studying your own heritage only makes sense. As one genealogist said, "How can you know where you are going if you don't know where you've been?"

1. Make a map of your area. Mark the points of historical interest. Show your map in your classroom or troop meeting place. Tell about the points of historical interest.

2. Research an event of historical importance that took place in or near your area. If possible, visit the place where the event took place. Tell your class or troop about the event and its impact on local history. Describe what it looked like then and now.

3. Find out when, why, and how your town or neighborhood started. What ethnic, national, or racial groups played a part? Find out how it has changed over the past 50 years. Try to explain why.

4. Explain what is meant by the National Register of Historic Places. Tell about any National Register properties in your area. Describe how a property becomes eligible for listing.

5. Find something in your area that seems to qualify for National Register listing. Bring it to the attention of the Historic Preservation Officer for your state. Assist him or her, in any way possible, to nominate it for inclusion in the National Register.

6. For each of the following, describe its adoption; tell about any changes since its adoption: the flag, the Pledge of Allegiance, the seal, the motto, and the national anthem

7. Choose an event, a period, or a person from United States history that you would like to know more about. Use it to complete the remaining activities.

8. Read a biography of the person chosen you chose in activity seven. Tell some things you admire about the person. Tell some things you do not admire. Explain why you think this person has made a good or bad contribution to America's heritage.

9. Read about the subject you chose in activity seven in three sources. List the major points upon which all agree. List areas of disagreement. Decide what source is mostly true. Tell how you decided.

10. Read a historical novel or see a television show, a play, or a movie about your subject. Tell how true you think it was. Tell how it added to your understanding of the subject.

11. Select an important speech related to your subject and tell when and why it was made. Read the speech to your class or troop. Then lead a discussion about the effect it had at the time.

12. Gather records of four songs that are related to your subject or be able to sing or play them yourself. Play the records, or play or sing the songs yourself, for your class or troop. Tell about each song.

13. Collect copies of four cartoons about your subject or draw two in the style of the period. Tell about the meaning of the cartoons.

14. Collect copies of paintings about your subject. Tell about them. Discuss their accuracy or symbolism.

15. Collect copies of photographs about your subject. Tell how they reflect the photographer's point of view.

16. Build a model to show something about your subject. Tell about what it shows.

17. Visit a historic site related to your subject. Tell how it has enlarged your view of the subject.

18. Make a time-line for your subject. Tell how the main events on your chart have affected life in America today.

19. Take an active part in a program about a historic event or person. Report about the program, the part you took, and the subject.

20. Pick an organization that is directly concerned with the preservation or perpetuation of local, state, or national history. Talk with an officer of the organization about its goals. Find out how you can help meet these goals. Carry out a project that will help meet the goals.

21. Set up a historic trail or walk in your area. Prepare a guidebook. Include maps and related local history. Develop and carry out a plan to bring your trail to the attention of your community.

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