America: The Story of Us Discussion Questions

Instructor: Grace Pisano

Grace has taught high school history in several states with a master's degree in teaching.

'America: The Story of Us' is a series that tells the history of the United States through a series of chronological episodes. It premiered on the History Channel in 2010 and details history from the arrival of Europeans until the early 2000s.

America: The Story of Us

For visual learners, a film that shows the highlights of an era of history can be an unparalleled learning resource. For U.S. history teachers around the country, America: The Story of Us is a film used throughout the year as a preview to or reinforcement of a unit. In the 12 episodes of this series, students will be exposed to life of both ordinary and extraordinary people, see what daily life looked liked and reflect on the greatest strengths and challenges in an era.

The questions in this resource are divided into two sections. The questions in the first section are meant to be used after watching any individual episode. The questions in the second section can be used after watching the entire series (or at least several episodes).

Episode Questions

  • What was daily life like for the average American in this time? Who was the ''average'' American?
  • In your opinion, what was the greatest hurdle this generation needed to overcome? Think about both physical factors (war, famine, poverty, etc.) and social/emotional factors (racism, religious disputes, etc.).
  • What tools did cinematographers use in this episode to enhance your understanding of and feeling about this era?
  • What is the most surprising thing that you learned in this episode?
  • If you were to summarize this episode in a few sentences to a parent, what would you say?
  • What different points of view were discussed in this episode?
  • Agree or disagree with the following statement: ''Every event in American history is complex. There are many causes, effects, opinions and influences on everything that happens.'' Justify your answer with evidence from the episode.
  • How did what you learned in this episode differ from the way this part of history is usually discussed?

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