Online College Courses for Credit

Finding the Relevance in History

Finding the Relevance in History

Author: Beth Barsness
  1. Students will be able to analyze past historical events, people or trends and link them in some way to current events, people or trends.
  2. Students will be able to work within a small group to create a coherent presentation illustrating the links between past and present.
  3. Students will be able to facilitate an in-class discussion on the relevance of history.

Students find it very difficult to find the significance of how historical events affect their lives.  This project can be flexible; it is based on students’ strengths and interests; and it tackles the question: Why is history relevant?  The goal is to encourage students to bring relevance to historical events in some way: by drawing upon events, people, and social trends today, they’re then asked to tie that information back to our earlier historical eras.  Ultimately, the goal is to get students to connect to history by giving them some responsibility in making those connections.  Once they make those connections, memorization of people, places and terms seems to come more naturally, as they’re able to connect it to things they already know.  


In this lesson, the teacher will provide a brief lecture and facilitate a large group discussion to illustrate an example of how Puritan/colonial history is still relevant today.  The class will discuss the idea of the U.S. as a modern-day “city upon a hill”.  Students will then be charged with developing their own relevance projects and presenting them throughout the semester.

Length of time needed: 1 class period (50 minutes) + 15-20 minutes per week for ongoing student presentations.

This lesson was written by Kristina Aars.

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Lesson Plan

This lesson can be downloaded to your computer as a PDF document. If you would like to edit this document for your classroom needs, go to the "Handouts and Materials" section and click on the corresponding link.


Source: Kristina Aars

City Upon a Hill

This PowerPoint presentation cannot be downloaded to your computer. If you would like to download and edit this document for your classroom needs, go to the "Handouts and Materials" section and click on the corresponding link.

Source: Kristina Aars

Handouts and Materials

The following files can be downloaded to your computer:

Lesson Plan (Word document)

City Upon a Hill (PowerPoint presentation)

Historical Relevance Assignment Sheet (Word document)

Historical Relevance Rubric (Word document)

Guerrilla Warfare (PowerPoint presentation)

Source: Kristina Aars