The Indiana Historical Society (IHS) proudly announces two educators from Indiana contributed to a new classroom resource exploring Revolutionary Ideals, a collection of lesson plans and essays in preparation for the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 2026.
Lesson plan authors from Indiana are Alan Birkemeier, a teacher at Central Middle School in Columbus, Ind., and Kristin Rentschler, a teacher at Columbia City High School in Columbia City, Ind.
In the summer of 2022, National History Day (NHD) kicked off its programming to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence with a live teacher institute in Providence, R.I. Partnering with the Rhode Island Historical Society, NHD developed a week-long institute, Revolutionary Ideals, engaging 30 teachers across the country.
The program focused on revolutionary ideals, exploring the ideals of the time and considering how they were — or were not — practiced or applied fully. Working with scholars, repositories, museums and historical societies, teachers studied the colonial and revolutionary eras through expert lectures, museum visits and research at various archives and libraries.
Birkemeier and Rentschler helped prepare the classroom materials that will help middle school and high school social studies teachers engage students with unique primary sources and engage active learning strategies to further historical thinking skills.
“This resource is designed to start the celebration of our nation’s anniversary by exploring the foundational ideas on which this nation was built,” said National History Day Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn. “By engaging expert scholars and historical collections, the teachers produced lesson plans to help teachers across the nation engage their students with the questions and ideas that permeated the founding era while engaging diverse stories that help students see the time period in a new light.”
NHD would like to thank Tom Lauer and the Dr. Scholl Foundation for their generous support of these programs and this resource. For the full lesson plan book, please visit: https://nhd.org/en/resources/revolutionary-ideals-full-lesson-plan-book/.
National History Day in Indiana (NHDI) is a project-based, inquiry-based program which encourages students to explore their own passions by conducting research, developing research questions, and then exhibit their individual learning styles through the creation of exhibits, documentaries, performances, papers and websites.
NHDI is presented by the Rooker Family Foundation with support from the Vigran Family Foundation. For more information, visit www.indianahistory.org/historyday or call (317) 232-1882.