Students often don't see the connections between the past and present. This blog entry - from AARP! - actually may provide ideas for teens. The author looks at inventions and trends that began during the Civil War that are part of the fabric of our lives today - from the names of our political parties to the increased speed at which we communicate.
Here's an idea: At the conclusion of any unit, have students identify something in their lives that connects with the period of history under study. For example, the structure of their very school days (the curriculum they study and testing they take) is governed by state decisions, thanks to the federalism aspects written into the Constitution of 1787. The technology they use at the bank (ATM machines) are a result of the Space Race of the 1960s.
What occurs to you?