Friday, September 17, 2010

Experience American History with Mission US (a FREE Resource for Students)

Teens and tweens across the country will soon experience American history as never before! Mission US will feature a series of free online games that will “revolutionize” the way social studies learning takes place in classrooms and homes throughout the United States. On September 21, 2010, THIRTEEN (New York Public Media) will launch the first game mission, “For Crown or Colony?,” which focuses on events leading up to the American Revolution. The game, together with a rich variety of supplemental resources for students and teachers, will be available for streaming and download at This groundbreaking initiative is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting with additional support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Mission US comes at the right time, as statistics from the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress, “The Nation’s Report Card,” show that only 17% of eighth graders perform at or above the proficient level in American history.  The situation is even more dire for underserved students.  Mission US aims to stem the tide by reaching today’s tech-savvy kids where they “live,” inviting them to be “players” during pivotal eras in the country’s past.  The content helps students understand and appreciate multiple perspectives and gain a more nuanced view of history.  “For Crown or Colony?” provides kids with insight into the mindsets of both Patriots and Loyalists.

In addition to traveling through the past with your kids via Mission US, here are some tips on how to have fun and learn about history together at the same time:

* Make a movie!  Work with your kids to create videos about history in their lives - for example, their hometown or family history - and share them online at

* Get cooking!  Visit the library and find books about colonial (or even Civil War) cooking and get a real "taste" of history by trying out an authentic recipe or two.

* Learn about history first hand!  Have kids interview senior citizens in your town to learn about how they've lived through important eras of our country's past.

* Go explore!  Check out the historical sites in your area. You can look for information at your local visitors' center or do some digging online.

* Plant a family tree!  Map your own family history with your kids, going back as far as possible. Figure out how your own story intersects with American history.

Play Mission US online - a revolutionary way to learn history. To learn more, visit

This post was written for Mission US in conjunction with Grand Communications. They provided information used for this post. No compensation was received.