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Summit US History, Semester 1 (HST303A)

Summit US History, Semester 1 (HST303A)

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Quick Overview

This 11th Grade history course is a full-year survey that provides students with a comprehensive view of American history from the first migrations of nomadic people to North America to recent events. Online lessons help students organize their study, explore topics in depth, review in preparation for assessments, and practice skills of historical thinking and analysis.

Teacher-Led Course (one-time payment)   $450.00

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Course Overview

This course is a full-year survey that provides students with a comprehensive view of American history from the first migrations of nomadic people to North America to recent events. Readings are drawn from K12's The American Odyssey: A History of the United States. Online lessons help students organize their study, explore topics in depth, review in preparation for assessments, and practice skills of historical thinking and analysis. Activities include analyzing primary sources and maps, creating time lines, completing projects and written assignments, and conducting independent research.

Course Outline


Unit 1: American Beginnings

Students explore the diversity of the first Americans and the land they inhabited. They trace the rise of European nations and the Age of Exploration after centuries of strife, read an entry from Columbus's log, and learn of the decimation of the Native American population after Europeans arrived. They see the extent of the Spanish empire in the Americas and read of the hardships in Jamestown. The unit then turns to the founding and maturing of England's thirteen American colonies.

  • Semester Introduction
  • Discuss: Getting to Know You
  • Peopling the Americas
  • First Americans
  • The North American Continent
  • Worlds Meet
  • Pilgrims and Puritans in New England
  • The Middle and Southern Colonies
  • The Colonies Grow and Change
  • New Ideas and Issues
  • Looking at the Colonies

Unit 2: Formation of the United States

After 150 years of relative content, tensions grew between Britain and her North American colonies. Students follow the path of disagreement, discontent, and increasing philosophical differences that led to the American Revolution. They read about the individuals who led the Revolution and about the war itself and analyze the Declaration of Independence. They then trace the growing demand for a stronger central government than the Articles of Confederation provided, and explore the arguments for and against ratification of the new Constitution. The unit ends with a look at the document that has governed the nation for over two hundreds years, the longest-lived written constitution in the world.

  • Growing Tension
  • Moving Toward Independence
  • We Hold These Truths
  • Revolution
  • A Long War
  • Discuss: George Washington's Leadership
  • Governing a New Nation
  • Seeking a More Perfect Union
  • Ratification
  • Your Constitution

Unit 3: The New Republic

When George Washington became the first president of the United States, no one was quite certain what that position would be like. In this unit, students read about the task Washington faced in establishing precedents for the future and in setting the country on a strong course. They observe the divergent views of the Constitution that led to the rise of political parties and learn the significance of the election of 1800 as power shifted from one party to another without upheaval. Students meet Lewis and Clark and Dolly Madison, and see how the power of the judiciary and federal government grew under John Marshall. They finish the unit by developing a time line of this critical era.

  • The New Republic
  • The Washington Presidency
  • A New Leader
  • Discuss: The Alien and Sedition Acts
  • Transfer of Power
  • Exploring
  • The War of 1812
  • Nationalism: Culture and Economy
  • Nationalism: Politics and the Judiciary
  • Nationalism: Foreign Affairs
  • Eventful Times

Unit 4: Change and Growth

In 1800, transportation was much the same as it had been two thousand years earlier. Few people in the United States or elsewhere could vote. In this unit, students explore the remarkable changes that took place in industry, transportation, and politics during the first half of the nineteenth century. They take a virtual field trip to the Erie Canal, one of the engineering marvels of its time. They meet Andrew Jackson, the first "common man" to be elected president, and analyze statistics to assess the reasons for his election. They finish with a brief study of the regional differences that would eventually lead to war.

  • A Revolution in American Industry
  • A Revolution in Transportation
  • Going Places
  • New Politics
  • Discuss: Maintaining a Nation's Infrastructure
  • Jackson's Presidency
  • Legacies
  • Northern Ways
  • Southern Ways
  • Comparing, Contrasting, Predicting

Unit 5: Forging a National Identity

The nationalism that swept the country after the War of 1812 nurtured the growth of a distinctly American culture. Students analyze works of art and architecture that expressed the American ideals of the time. They read about the calls for reform that came out of Americans' optimism and explore the factors that pushed people to migrate to the west. And they see the darker side of Manifest Destiny in the plight of Native Americans and in the willingness to go to war to gain land.

  • Seeking Perfection
  • Freedom for All
  • A New American Culture
  • Reflections
  • The Push West
  • Texas: The Lone Star Republic
  • Discuss: Wagons West
  • War and Riches

Unit 6: The Union in Crisis

The Civil War was the most serious crisis and biggest tragedy in United States history. Students trace the growing tensions between North and South and the events that led inexorably toward secession and war. They follow the war itself from military, political, and personal views, and analyze the appalling statistics the war created. Then they read about the struggle to reconstruct the Union and assess its achievements and failures.

  • Growing Apart
  • Debate and Division
  • Disunion
  • The War Begins
  • Discuss: Constitutional Rights
  • Terrible Conflict
  • War's End
  • A War on All Fronts
  • Reuniting a Nation
  • Reconstructing a Nation

Unit 7: Entering the Modern Era

During the late 1800s, the nation experienced tremendous growth in many areas. Students follow the enormous migration across the Great Plains, the arrival of millions of immigrants to American shores, and the rise of new ways of manufacturing and doing business. They see the hardships factory and mine workers faced, and the demands for reform that came from diverse segments of society. They finish with a project on the era.

  • Settling the American West
  • The Changing West
  • The End of a Way of Life
  • New Industries Emerge
  • Inventors and Industrialists
  • How Big is Too Big?
  • The Price of Industrialization
  • Discuss: Immigrant Backgrounds
  • Seeking a Better Way
  • Beacon of Hope
  • The Immigrant Experience

Unit 8: Semester Review and Test

Students prepare for and take the semester test.


Unit 1: A New Century

The twentieth century has been called "America's Century." In this unit, students study the early years of the modern age and the rise of modern cities, our modern political system, and a modern approach to reform.

  • Semester Introduction
  • Cities Grow
  • City Life
  • Populists
  • Discuss: Third Parties
  • Progressives
  • Taking on Power
  • Less Than Equal
  • Demanding a Voice
  • Making a Difference
  • Discuss: And the Award Goes to __.

Unit 2: Turning Points

During the first quarter of the twentieth century the United States stepped onto the world stage. In this unit, students begin by completing a research project. Then they trace the rise of the nation's power from the emergence of American imperialism just before 1900 through the end of the Great War and beyond. They examine the complexity of the post-war period and its fears and fads.

  • Choosing a Research Topic
  • Choosing a Presentation Format
  • The Annotated Bibliography
  • The Process Paper
  • An American Empire
  • Presidents and Policies
  • The Great War
  • The War at Home
  • Discuss: Peacetime Dissent
  • Assessing the Great War
  • Embracing the Peace
  • A New Culture
  • Action and Reaction
  • Analyzing an Era
  • The Project

Unit 3: Democracy Tested

The boom times of the 1920s gave way in 1929 to the worst depression in the nation's history. Students study the reasons for this economic catastrophe as well as its human toll. They meet Franklin Roosevelt and assess the leadership qualities that changed Americans' attitudes, and evaluate the successes and failures of the New Deal. Then they trace the rise of the totalitarian regimes in the years leading up to World War II. They explore the course of the war, the role of the United States in achieving victory, and the experience of those who served abroad and on the homefront.

  • The Bubble Bursts
  • Depression
  • Seeking Solutions
  • Confronting the Crisis
  • New Strategies
  • Discuss: Legacy of the New Deal
  • Reflections
  • War Clouds
  • Going to War
  • The War at Home
  • Fighting on Two Fronts
  • War's End

Unit 4: Postwar America

The years after World War II brought prosperity, pressure to conform, and a new kind of war to the United States. Students follow the path of Cold War tensions abroad and within the United States. They explore the culture of the fifties and see the darker side of the era, poverty and discrimination. Then they follow the struggles and achievements of the civil rights movement.

  • A War of Words and Ideas
  • The Cold War at Home and Abroad
  • Eisenhower at the Helm
  • From War to Peace
  • A New American Dream
  • The New Frontier
  • Your Magazine Project
  • The Beginning of Change
  • Demanding Change
  • A New Generation
  • Discuss: Progress Toward Equality

Unit 5: A Time of Turmoil

The United States and the Soviet Union came to the brink of nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis. At the same time, events in Southeast Asia drew American presidents and the nation into its longest war. Involvement in Vietnam spanned a period of nearly twenty years and divided the nation. Students trace the major events of the war and explore the culture of the era. They assess the achievements and failures of the Nixon presidency and reflect on the impact of these tumultuous years.

  • Crisis
  • War in Vietnam
  • Reflections on War
  • Discuss: Vietnam War Opposition
  • Culture and Counterculture
  • Tragedies
  • Women on the Move
  • Voices for Change
  • Complex Times
  • The Watergate Scandal
  • Transition

Unit 6: Toward a New Millennium

Resurgent conservatism dominated the 1980s and beyond. Students study the meanings of "conservative" and "liberal" and meet the politicians and others who embodied the opposing ideologies. They review the events of September 11, 2001, and the changes those events fostered in American foreign and domestic policies. Throughout this unit, students are reminded of the tenuous nature of historical judgments, particularly judgments about the recent past.

  • A Changing Mood
  • Reaganomics
  • Cold War Warriors
  • Discuss: Collapse of Communism in the Soviet Union
  • Legacies
  • The Post-Cold War World, Part 1
  • A New Age
  • The Clinton Years
  • Divisions
  • The Post Cold War World, Part 2
  • Entering a New Millennium
  • New Realities
  • War and Disaster
  • Looking Ahead

Unit 7: Semester Review and Test

Students prepare for and take the semester test.

Additional Information

Course Length 4 Months
Prerequisites N/A
Course Materials No
Course Start Date

Courses Taught by a K12 Teacher

Courses with a teacher have designated start dates throughout Fall, Spring, and Summer. Full-year courses last 10 months and semester courses last 4 months. Courses are taught by teachers in K12 International Academy. For details on start dates, click here.

Teacher Assisted Yes, this course is taught by a K12 International Academy teacher. If you are looking for a teacher-supported option with additional flexibility and year-round start dates, click here to learn about the Keystone School, another K12 online private schooling option.
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To use this course, you'll need a computer with an Internet connection.  Some courses require additional free software programs, which you can download from the Internet.

Hardware and Browsers (Minimum Recommendations)

Windows OS

  • CPU: 1.8 GHz or faster processor (or equivalent)

  • RAM: 1GB of RAM

  • Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer 9.0 or higher, Mozilla Firefox 10.0 versions or higher, Chrome 17.0 or higher

  • At this time our users are encouraged not to upgrade to Windows 10 or Edge (the new browser)


Mac OS

  • CPU: PowerPC G4 1 GHz or faster processor; Intel Core Duo 1.83 GHz or faster processor

  • RAM: 1GB of RAM

  • Browser: Firefox 10.0 versions or higher, Chrome 17.0 or higher (Safari is not supported!)

Internet Connections

It is highly recommended that a broadband connection be used instead of dial up.


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