WASHINGTON, D.C. and PRINCE FREDERICK, MARYLAND—National History Day® (NHD) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) are pleased to announce the selection of Mrs. Amie Dryer, a teacher at Calvert High School in Prince Frederick, Maryland, as one of only 15 teachers to contribute to Building a More Perfect Union, a new collection of lesson plans and essays in support of the NEH’s special initiative to advance civic education and the study of U.S. history and culture in preparation for the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 2026. These classroom materials will help middle school and high school social studies teachers engage students with unique primary sources and themes of democracy and citizenship throughout United States history.
Through two introductory essays and 15 primary source-rich lesson plans, this book explores events, legislative accomplishments, and civic actions across U.S. history—from foreign policy to civil rights to debates surrounding citizenship—that have collectively moved the country toward a more perfect union. Building a More Perfect Union and its supporting materials are available for free download via National History Day’s website at nhd.org/250 and the National Endowment for the Humanities’ EDSITEment website here.
“Mrs. Dryer has contributed to a collection of resources unlike anything we have ever put together at NHD,” said Dr. Cathy Gorn, National History Day Executive Director. “The bedrock benchmarks of National History Day classroom materials shine through in every lesson plan; but further, thanks to our longstanding partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities and the guiding principles offered by its ‘A More Perfect Union’ initiative, we have the unique opportunity both to further the NHD mission of improving the teaching and learning of history, and to support the NEH’s enduring commitment to telling America’s story.”
“An understanding of civics and our nation’s history is vital to a healthy democracy,” said NEH Acting Chairman Adam Wolfson. “As we prepare to mark the United States’ 250th anniversary, the National Endowment for the Humanities is pleased to partner with National History Day to make these lesson plans and resources on U.S. history, culture, and government widely available at NEH’s EDSITEment website to help engage and inform young citizens.”
Mrs. Dryer’s lesson plan is entitled “Challenging School Segregation: The Fight of Chinese Americans” and challenges students to evaluate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and its impact on Chinese Americans and assess two Chinese American school desegregation cases, between 1885 and 1927. Like every lesson plan in the book, Mrs. Dryer’s lesson offers compelling and guiding questions, inquiry-based activities, opportunities to consider multiple and competing perspectives, and supplementary materials. Each lesson also includes ideas for how to connect relevant themes and concepts to other lesson topics presented in Building a More Perfect Union to support integration across curricula.
The 15 educators chosen to contribute lesson plans represent NHD affiliates in California, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Korea, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The two introductory essays are authored separately by Dr. Serena Zabin, Professor of History, Carleton College, and Adrienne Whaley, Director of Education and Community Engagement, Museum of the American Revolution. More information about the National Endowment for the Humanities’ “A More Perfect Union” initiative is available at neh.gov/250.