Tenth Grade Curriculum

In Critical Issues in United States History, students use a thematic approach to tackle the broad sweep of United States history from the founding of the country through the present. This approach centers the experiences of historically marginalized individuals and groups; students study the way that power and agency have existed throughout American history, and what individuals and groups have done to shift power or challenge oppression. The curriculum positions history as a debate about the past, changing as different perspectives are considered and new information comes to light. In the course, students engage with rich primary and secondary source materials to grapple with key moments, movements, and events in the history of the United States of America. This course is designed to give students insights into the United States and world as it is today by using the study of history to contextualize the present. Students in the course also build on their ninth grade historical reading, writing, and thinking skills as they continue to develop their academic skill set in preparation for further independent learning. All students in Critical Issues in United States History complete a range of Massachusetts History and Social Studies Framework-aligned assessments including a rigorous research paper.

Units of Study Year-Long Essential Questions
I - Introduction
  • Why and how does our understanding of history change?

  • How do systems of power impact my life and the lives of other people in the United States?

  • How can groups and individuals change institutions in the United States?
II - Power and Resistance to Power, 1619 - present
III - “And Justice for All”: Struggles for Civil Rights and Social Justice, 1940s-1990s
IV - American Growth & Imperialism, 1675 - present
V - Research Paper


All tenth grade history students complete a range of Common Core-aligned writing assessments, including two Document Based Question (DBQ) essays and a research paper with multiple sources and MLA citations.

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