The History Channel is broadcasting a 12-part series titled “America: The History of US” that started several weeks ago and continues every Sunday night until the end of May.
The History Channel PR people are pretty proud of it:
With highly realistic CGI animation, dramatic recreations and thoughtful insights from some of America’s most respected artists, business leaders, academics and intellectuals, it is the first television event in nearly 40 years to present a comprehensive telling of America’s history. Elaborate, ambitious and cinematic, the series will take you into the moments when Americans harnessed technology to advance human progress, from the rigors of linking the continent by transcontinental railroad–the internet of its day–to triumphing over vertical space through the construction of steel structured buildings to putting a man on the moon. It is an intensive look at the people, places and things that have shaped our nation, and the tough and thrilling adventure that is America’s 400-year history.
And they’re probably right. While not an in-depth look at American history, it does do a nice job of providing an overview of major historical events. You can (and probably should) chunk out smaller slices of the episodes as a handy way to hook kids into deeper topics.
I really like the graphics and CGI effects that provide a good overview of geography and space. Students will also appreciate that not all of the interviews are “stuffy” historians, the show seems much more “conversational” than a typical documentary.
On the show’s web site you’ll find a variety of resources you can use. There are several short video clips as well as a few complete episodes to view online, iTunes episodes for only $2.99, an interactive online quiz, a teacher’s guide and a separate activity guide. Teachers can also receive a free DVD of the entire series through an online request form. The site also has some nice cross-links to similar topics.
The History Channel is airing re-runs throughout the week. Check the Episode Guide for specifics.