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A Dream and an Idea:
Searching for a Roadmap to Create a Country

Neme Alperstein
OverviewProcedure for teachersStudent Resources and Materials
Grade Level
Time Alloment
One 45-minute class period


Americans struggle to define themselves as they fight for freedom from British rule. The struggle to create a nation continues at the Constitutional Convention as the founding fathers present differing visions of governance. Conflict gives way to compromise as three branches of government with two houses of Congress emerge for a new and fragile United States. The country succeeds despite its early trials and tribulations, as its leaders pursue the dream and idea of FREEDOM: A History of US.

Each of the above ideas is introduced in this lesson utilizing Episode 2 of FREEDOM: A History of US and the companion Web site. Through viewing and discussion of the video and investigation of the Web resources, students will develop a deeper understanding of the formation and infancy of the United States.

Learning Activities

Students will be able to:
  • Interpret historical information and its link to current events.
  • Evaluate the roles of historical leaders in shaping the U.S. as an emerging nation.
  • Compare and contrast opposing visions of government held by the founding fathers.
  • Utilize reliable Internet resources that tell historical stories that provide explanations of a post-revolutionary U.S.


NCSS (National Council for the Social Studies) Standards

NCSSS Learner Expectations
  • Develop historical understanding and competence in ways of historical thinking.
  • Evaluate evidence.
  • Develop comparative and causal analyses.
  • Interpret the historical record.
  • Construct sound historical arguments and perspectives on which informed decisions in contemporary life can be based.
  • Provide learners the historical perspectives necessary to analyze contemporary issues and problems confronting citizens today.
NCSS Teacher Expectations
  • Assist learners in utilizing chronological thinking so that they can distinguish between past, present, and future time;
  • Place historical narratives in the proper chronological framework.
  • Interpret data presented in time lines; and can compare alternative models.
  • Enable learners to develop historical comprehension.
  • Identify the central question(s) addressed in historical narrative.
  • Draw upon data in historical maps, charts, and other graphic organizers.
  • Draw upon visual, literary, or musical sources.
  • Compare and contrast, differentiate between historical facts and interpretations.
  • Consider multiple perspectives, analyze cause and effect relationships.
  • Hypothesize the influence of the past.
  • Assist learners in developing historical research capabilities.
  • Construct sound historical interpretations.
  • Help learners to identify issues and problems in the past, recognize factors contributing to such problems, identify and analyze alternative courses of action.
  • Assist learners in acquiring knowledge of historical content in United States history.
New York State Learning Standards - Social Studies

Standard 1 History of the United States and New York
Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of major ideas, eras, themes, developments, and turning points in the history of the United States and New York.

Standard 5 Civics, Citizenship, and Government
Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of the necessity for establishing governments; the governmental system of the U.S. and other nations; the U.S. Constitution; the basic civic values of American constitutional democracy; and the roles, rights, and responsibilities of citizenship, including avenues of participation.

Media Components


FREEDOM: A History of US #2 "From Colonies to Country"

Web sites:

FREEDOM: A History of US
This is the companion Web site to the FREEDOM: A History of US video series. The sixteen Webisodes reflect the topics in each segment of the video series with additional historical information, sound clips, pop-up biographies, images, timelines, glossary, and many primary source documents.


Overhead projector attached to computer for projection
Television and VCR
Computer with Internet access using Explorer or Netscape
Plug-ins in order to play the web site's multimedia files (Macromedia Flash Player, Real Player) - These are free to download from the Internet.
Sound card/speakers for audio files.

Per class:

  • 2 Reporter Script sheets with lines for each "reporter"
Per student:
  • Comparing Visions for Government student worksheet
  • Make Your Vote student worksheet