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Middle School US History Semester Class 1 of 6: Indigenous Peoples & European Exploration

Welcome to the thrilling world of US History! In this full curriculum US History class we study American history in an engaging and interactive way. This class (Unit 1 of 6) covers Indigenous Peoples of North America & European Exploration.
Taylor Wirthlin B.A. History Teaching
118 total reviews for this teacher
2 reviews for this class
Completed by 13 learners
year olds
learners per class


Charged upfront
$16 per class
Meets 2x per week
Over 6 weeks
55 minutes per class
There are no open spots for this class, but you can request another time or scroll down to find more classes like this.


Class Experience'll leave this class with so much more than just memorizing US history facts..
Students leaving this class..
✅ are able to recognize credible information and sift through bias 
✅ are able to convey their opinions through evidence backed arguments 
✅ have gratitude for the rights we enjoy in the United States 
✅ know how to be take action in their communities
. . . plus much much more.

I assure students achieve the above goals by focusing on the following 6 skills in our group lessons:
1. Source: analyzing the origin of an artifact
2. Summarize: synthesizing difficult reading passages
3. Determine Context: challenging and recognizing bias
4. Challenge Credibility: determining if a source is trustworthy
5. Argue: creating logical arguments and supporting them with evidence 
6. Sequence: understanding the relationship of events
Over the course of the year, this class will cover several sensitive topics including: the genocide of Indigenous Nations including the Aztec, Inca, Maya, and North American tribes from the Northeast Woodland, Southeast, Southwest, Plateau, California, and Northwest Coast regions by European explorers, the immoral Atlantic Slave Trade and conditions that enslaved people experienced, violent events that led to the American Revolution, and the battles of the American Revolution. This unit specifically will cover the genocide of Indigenous Nations. 

I am a certified Social Studies teacher in both Utah and North Carolina. In my training and experience teaching in the classroom I have found that the best way to approach these sensitive topics is to address them explicitly and have an open conversation with my students. We discuss the mindset of historical societies, the moral implications of their actions, how it affects us to today, and why it can be difficult to talk about these subjects at times. 

I make it clear to my students that they are always welcome to meet with me individually if they are bothered by any of these discussions. I also ask them, and the parents to contact me if they are concerned with my class content or delivery. These topics can be difficult to navigate and I am always trying to improve!
This unit includes one project and six optional enrichment activities to enhance student learning. These assignments are not required, but I will provide feedback for students that complete them. Each class I provide a note template that students can fill out as we move through the lesson. Information from the notes will be included in a unit final that students have the option to take to assess their learning. There will be 1-2 reading assignments during the unit that I ask students to complete prior to class to facilitate a class discussion. 
 1 file available upon enrollment
Students will need to purchase the book ‘A Young People’s History of the United States’ by Howard Zinn (approximately $15). 'An Outline of US History' can be found online for free at
In addition to the Outschool classroom, this class uses:
We will have informal assessments in each class (such as class discussions, drawing a picture to display understanding, etc.) and one short quiz in each unit. At the end of each unit we will have a final multiple choice assessment that students can do on their own time. 
1 hour 50 minutes per week in class, and an estimated 1 - 2 hours per week outside of class.
Some sensitive topics that will be covered include: Disease (in the Americas and in Europe), genocide of Native American Tribes, Christopher Columbus.

Some of the sources that we study contain inaccurate content (for example: A Young People's History of the United States uses the term "Indians" instead of Indigenous Peoples). I will always point out these inaccuracies in class as part of our discussions. If you have concerns about a specific source, please contact me.
Lessons are taught on Nearpod, an interactive learning platform that allows students to engage with the content through games, art, discussions, short answer questions and more. I believe students retain information best when they are active participants in the learning process, so I incorporate student participation as much as possible. Nearpod is free for students and does NOT require you to create an account. I provide more information on Nearpod once students enroll.

This class is organized on Google Classroom. Once students enroll, I provide a link to the Google Classroom where they can access the Nearpod link for each class, find notes, and turn in assignments.

My approach to US History is based on my belief that students should be taught history from multiple perspectives. Course information and reading assignments primarily come from three history textbooks: 1) ‘A Young People’s History of the United States’ by Howard Zinn which takes a more critical look at the United States leaders and decisions and 2) 'An Outline of US History' by the United States Department of State, which takes a more supportive look at the Unites States leaders and decisions. And 'Everything You Need to Ace American History In One Big Fat Notebook' by Philip Bigler, a teenage friendly US History textbook. Students will need to purchase the book ‘A Young People’s History of the United States’ by Howard Zinn (approximately $15). 'An Outline of US History' can be found online for free at

Other sources include:
‘Give Me Liberty! An American History’ Volume 1 by Eric Foner
‘Voices of Freedom: A Documentary History’ Volume 1 by Eric Foner


Taylor Wirthlin B.A. History Teaching
Lives in the United States
Experienced History and Geography Teacher
118 total reviews
115 completed classes

About Me

Hi friends. I'm happy you have found my page! I am a certified social studies secondary education teacher in Utah and North Carolina. I have experience teaching 8th, 9th, 11th, and 12th grade in multiple subjects (my favorite is world history). I... 
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