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Northwest High School Media Center: AP US History Parks

"When we open a book, research a topic, wonder, build, tinker, ponder a quote, argue a point, adjust an attitude, define and test our character, we learn something new and have an opportunity to contribute to the world."



The culminating activity must be submitted in lieu of taking the final exam and will be in the form of a short paper and presentation (PowerPoint, Google Slides, Prezi, etc). 

Students will work in small groups of up to 3 students to create a presentation on a significant issue in US History.  Each member of the group will contribute to the group’s presentation, and also write a brief paper on their individual aspect of the topic.


Presentation Requirements:

From the list provided below, or an alternative approved by the teacher, each group will select a broad issue in US History.  Each student is then responsible for further narrowing down their research to a single topic within the broader issue.  For example, a group’s presentation might include the following:

Broad Issue:  The American Revolution

Student 1 – Enlightenment roots

Student 2 – Impact of individuals on the movement

Student 3 – Causes and effects of the war

The Presentation should meet the following guidelines:

  • No less than 10 minutes, and no more than 15 minutes in length
  • Each member of the group must speak at some point
  • Students should not simply read slides from the board
    • A good general rule is a “rule of 6”
    • No more than 6 lines of text per slide
    • No more than 6 words per line
  • Incorporate visuals along with text in your presentation

Paper Requirements:

  • Papers must be a minimum of two full pages and no more than three pages in length.
    • 12pt, Times New Roman font, double spaced
    • No larger than 1” margins
  • A heading, single spaced, in the top left corner of your first page, with:
    • Your name
    • Your period
    • The date
  • A title, centered, one line below your heading.  (12 pt, Times New Roman font)
  • An introductory paragraph in which the student states his/her thesis.
  • A minimum of 3 body paragraphs in which the student develops his/her argument.
  • A concluding paragraph that synthesizes the student’s argument, and relates their individual issue to the broader topic of the group.

Required Sources:

The following requirements must be met for each individual student (not per group):

  • 1-2 Primary Sources
  • 2-3 Secondary Sources (beyond the textbook, though you should cite it if you use it)

Your paper should be cited internally using MLA style.

Our media center has many online databases that we will use to conduct research.  All sources you use must be cited properly.

A works cited page should accompany your paper, listing all of the sources you used, again following MLA formatting.

Possible Issues of Focus:

Below is a list of potential “big picture” issues that groups might consider.  Your group may use one of the issues listed below, or propose your own (this must be approved by me!).  Remember that each member of your group needs to choose a distinct topic within the broader issue.

  • Pre-Columbian America
  • Early colonial America
  • Role of religion in US history
  • Major American conflicts and military actions
  • The American Revolution
  • American political history
  • Industrialization
  • Women’s history
  • Labor movements/labor history
  • Minorities in US history (in general or a specific group)
  • Expansion and the idea of an American “empire”
  • Sectionalism past and present
  • Technology and society
  • The Cold War
  • The Progressive movement
  • Movement and migration
  • Immigration and diversity
  • The Vietnam War at home and abroad
  • Foreign policy since 1945
  • The US’s role in Middle Eastern conflict
  • Counterculture movements
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ABC CLIO -American Government


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