APUSH students learn through giving and hearing speeches


Caroline Attmore

APUSH students have been learning unit 4 and 5 curriculum through the politics and power project. Taking up almost a full quarter, students are asked to create speeches that resemble Ted Talks on a specific topic and learn from their peers’ presentations as well.

Grant Milleson, Staff Reporter

AP U.S. History teachers and students are switching roles for the day after Thanksgiving break in their new project about the effects of the U.S. government on the world.

“Students are choosing between two different thinking skills, cause and effect, or continuities and changes over time,” teacher Allen Harris said. “They are picking a topic within period four or five of the AP US history curriculum so that’s 1800-1877.” 

Students will be presenting a version of a TED Talk to teach their class about their chosen topic.

“I like that the project shows how the decisions of our founding fathers affect us today,” junior Ben Hennel said. “My topic is the Supreme Court cases, or specifically John Marshall’s Supreme Court cases, and how they affected the United States’s government. My goal is to convey how the Supreme Court cases of John Marshall’s court affect the government to this day.”

The process for the project takes place over a month and allows teachers to check students’ progress through several checkpoints.

“One thing I really like about this project is how I get to look into the history and effects of things on our nation,” junior Alex Hennel said. “My project is about how the Supreme Court changed the social and political aspects of America. I will be doing a slide show presentation for my project.”

The project aims to help students become experts on their chosen topic, by making them teach it to the class as well as learning through other students’ presentations.

“They are also going to research their topic and write a research question,” Harris said. “They will write a thesis to respond to it and then present their findings and address their thesis in a presentation. They’re giving a speech with a presentation on top of it so we’ve modeled it after a TED Talk.”