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Social Studies

US History Middle School Semester Class 5 of 6: Westward Expansion

In this interactive United States History course we'll study American history from the founding of the nation to the era of reconstruction after the Civil War all on Nearpod. This class covers unit 5: Westward Expansion
Taylor Wirthlin B.S. Social Studies Teaching
98 total reviews for this teacher
Completed by 4 learners
  There are no upcoming classes.
55 minutes
per class
Twice per week
over 5 weeks
year olds
learners per class
per learner - per class

How does a "Multi-Day" course work?

Meets multiple times at scheduled times
Live video chats, recorded and monitored for safety and quality
Discussions via classroom forum and private messages with the teacher
Great for engaging projects and interacting with diverse classmates from other states and countries

How Outschool Works

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Class Experience

Students will learn how to analyze sources using five historical thinking skills.
Students will be able to express how the past has affected our lives for good.
Students will be able to express what mistakes people of the past made, and how we can learn from them to create a better world.
This year-long 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 colonizers, the immoral Atlantic Slave Trade and conditions that enslaved people experienced. 

I am a certified Social Studies teacher in both Utah and North Carolina. In my training and experience teaching in the classroom and virtually 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!
Students will have homework approximately every other class period, which will not exceed 1 hour outside of class to complete. In-class work and homework will be provided as a Google Doc link, students can print the document or edit it by creating their own copy on Google Docs.
 1 file available upon enrollment
I am a firm believer that students should be taught history from multiple perspectives. For that reason, we will read primarily from two 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. 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 will do on their own time. 
1 hour 50 minutes per week in class, and an estimated 0 - 1 hours per week outside of class.
Some sensitive topics that will be covered in this unit include: The Trail of Tears, mistreatment of Indigenous Peoples, workers rights in the Industrial Revolution.

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.
‘Give Me Liberty! An American History’ Volume 1 by Eric Foner
‘Voices of Freedom: A Documentary History’ Volume 1 by Eric Foner
‘A Young People’s History of the United States’ by Howard Zinn
'An Outline of US History' -
'An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States' by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz


Taylor Wirthlin B.S. Social Studies Teaching
Lives in the United States
Experienced History and Geography Teacher
98 total reviews
88 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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