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November 30, 2012
Photo of students working with historic documents.Logo of the ‘Founding of America’ Documents Program.Photo of the Ohio Constitution table.Photo of teachers in a workshop about working with archival material.
Meeting Teachers’ Needs
Founding of America
Documents Program
Launches in January

A new program will help Ohio teachers implement the new learning standards of Senate Bill 165, also known as the “Founding of America Documents Bill.”

Legislative Directive Focuses on History

On March 30, 2012, the Ohio General Assembly passed Senate Bill 165, which requires teaching founding documents of America in their original context. As part of Ohio’s new Learning Standards in Social Studies, Senate Bill 165 educators must teach the Declaration of Independence, the Northwest Ordinance, the United State Constitution (including the Bill of Rights) and the Ohio Constitution. Students will encounter these documents in social studies classes in grades 4 and 8 and in high school history and government classes.

The Ohio History Connection sees the new law as an opportunity. “This legislation has provided a great occasion to get students studying these documents as primary sources for American and Ohio history,” says Mark Butler, project coordinator for the Ohio History Connection. “We are excited to be a support for teachers implementing these changes to the social studies curriculum.”

Ohio History Connection Responds with Engaging, Hands-on Program

In response to this legislative directive and with a grant from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation, the Ohio History Connection has developed the Founding of America Documents Program, a series of activities and programs to help educators fulfill the requirements of the new legislation, including online webinars for teachers and in-school and offsite field trips and classroom activities that emphasize active, “hands-on” learning.


“We are able to provide teachers with all the tools they need to teach the founding documents,” says Megan Wood, visitor experience manager for the Ohio History Connection. “The Ohio History Connection is uniquely positioned to provide support to Ohio teachers when it comes to analyzing and implementing primary sources in the classroom.”

Program Designed to Meet Teachers’ Varied Needs

Starting in January 2013, when the program officially launches, teachers can find a variety of resources:

·         Professional Development Webinars will provide educators with ways to teach the founding documents in their original contexts.

·         New chapters in Ohio as America, an e-textbook, will offer lessons, activities, videos and more related to the founding documents. The chapters on the founding documents will be free for teachers and students through June 2014.

·         History-to-Go Van will bring the experience of the founding documents to schools.

·         Distance Learning Programs and Quiz Shows will beam a game show directly into classrooms and reinforce founding documents content in an exciting format.

·         Field Trip Programs at the Ohio History Center will immerse students in a full day devoted to the founding documents.

For more information about the Founding of America Documents Program, visit www.foundingdocs.org.

Formal Announcement December 4

The Ohio History Connection is holding an event at noon on Dec. 4, 2012, at the Ohio History Center in Columbus to formally announce the program and demonstrate different parts of it. Everyone is welcome to attend. For information about the event, contact Mark Butler at mbutler@ohiohistory.org or 614.297.2523.