The Attainability of the American Dream

Leah Conway, AP US History, Hon. US History, Mallard Creek High School

Final Unit (PDF)

Implementing Common Core Standards

200 Word Synopsis

This curriculum unit is based on the idea of an American Dream and how it has evolved throughout American history. After debating how exactly to create a series of lessons on this topic I realized that it is actually a prevailing theme in my curriculum.  In fact, this theme is so versatile that it can be incorporated into every unit of study in my American History classes and so that is exactly what I decided to do.  Each unit that I teach has some element of freedom, hope, and/or progress through which the American Dream is derived.  As we study the content for each time period, students will be given primary source documents to analyze and use to aid their evaluation of the American Dream.  Each unit also includes a writing assignment, a debate, or a historical simulation that is based their background knowledge and the primary sources.  Initially, students will be asked how to define the American Dream.  As the unit progresses, students will then re-evaluate their definition based on how it fits into various contexts and time periods.  Ultimately, students will determine the degree to which the American Dream was attainability for everyone and also for himself or herself.