Open Response Questions and Checklist



1. Life on the Reservations

During the mid-1800s thousands of Native Americans were forced to move from their homelands to distant

settlements and reservations. Explain ways in which this change created hardships for those Native Americans.

2. Widespread Drought

Kentucky has had summertime droughts. Theses droughts impact the total economy in this state. Explain how

each of the following groups could be affected by a drought. Give an example of an economic impact on each


• Farmers

• Consumers

• Bankers

• Merchants

3. Westward Movement

• Gadsden Purchase

• Louisiana Purchase

4. Lady Justice

“Lady Justice” is a symbol of the United States justice system. As shown in the illustration above, she wears a

blindfold and carries a balance scale. Explain how this symbol represents two characteristics of the U.S Justice


5. Uniforms

Many public schools are debating whether students should be required to wear uniforms.

A. Discuss two pros and two cons of requiring school uniforms.

B. Explain how requiring uniforms relates to students’ First amendment rights.

6. Term Limits

The twenty-second amendment to the U.S Constitution limits the president of the United States to two terms

in office. In the last few years, several states have passed laws limiting the number of terms of the number of

years in office that political representatives (such as senators, members of congress, state assembly representatives,

mayors, or city council members) can serve. Discuss reasons for and against term limits for political

representatives other than the President.

7. No Taxation without Representation

The American colonist often used the phrase “no taxation without representation” to express their criticism of

how the British governed the American colonies.

A. Explain what the American Colonist meant by “no taxation without representation.”

B. Using specific examples, explain the conflicts between the American colonists and the British

government on this issue.

8. Mass Media

In our society today, the mass media (television, radio, newspapers, magazines, movies) influence the thinking

of many Americans. Discuss how the media influence public opinion in America. In your discussion include one

positive and one negative way the media impact public opinion.

9. Business Competition

Joe and Bill operate gas stations located across the street from one another. Usually, Joe and Bill charge $1.11

a gallon at their gas stations. One day, Joe decided to lower the price of his gas to $1.05 a gallon. Explain

some ways that this will affect both gas stations.

10. Melting Pot or Salad Bowl?

Melting Pot – A melting pot means that the different ethnic groups in the United States have given up some of

their culture and traditions and have blended (melted) together to form one American culture.

Salad Bowl- A salad bowl means that ethnic groups have kept their culture and traditions yet contribute to the

culture of the United States, just as each individual ingredient in a salad has its unique flavor yet contributes to

the whole salad.

Which term – “salad bowl” or “melting pot” – would be a better description of description of the United States

Society? Explain your answer, using relevant examples.

11. Taking Part in Government

Sixty years after the Battle of Concord, Levi Preston was asked why he fought. “What we meant in going for

those Redcoats was this, “he answered. “We always had governed ourselves, and we always meant to.”

After people like Levi Preston and others fought for Americans’ right to govern themselves, why don’t more citizens

today participate in the process of government? Explain several reasons why you think many Americans

fail to take an active role in civic affairs.

12. American Culture

Immigrants to the United States brought with them the ideas, traditions and customs of their homelands.

13. Agriculture Revolution

Approximately 11,000 years ago, people began to settle communities and stay in one place. This changed society

from nomadic (hunting and gathering) to agrarian (farming). This was known as an agricultural revolution.

Why was this change important? Name three developments that occurred because of this change, and explain

the impacts they had on civilization.

14. Impact of Industrialization

As the United States became increasingly industrialized, many aspects of American life improved. However,

new problems also arose. Explain how the growth of industry led to social and economic problems.

15. Status of Women

Throughout the years, many women have sought to achieve political and economic equality with men. Discuss

ways in which the political and economic status of women has changed during the 20th century. Explain how

these changes occurred.

16. Differences

Social, economic and cultural differences developed between the North and South in the early 1800’s.

A. Describe two differences between the North and south in this period.

B. Explain how these differences led to the Civil War.

17. Cities

In the United States, the growth and development of any city mat depend on a variety of factors.

A. Select a city shown on the United States map.

B. Choose two factors in city growth and development of the city you chose in part A.

Factors in City Growth

Physical (such as local plant, animals, minerals, water supply, soil quality)

Human Resources (such as local population, culture, skills, education)

Location (such as access to trade routes, transportation, recreation areas)

Climate (such as growing seasons, precipitation, natural disasters)

18. Population Density

Select one region that is densely populated and one that is sparsely populated. Explain several reasons why

the population in each region is either denser or sparse.

19. Discrimination

In the United States, people are sometimes treated unfairly because of the group to which they belong.

• Identify a group that has been treated unfairly because of sex, national origin, religion or race.

• Describe several ways in which this group has been treated unfairly throughout the United States


• Also describe several ways in which people have tried to correct these problems.

20. Waste in the River

A well-known Kentucky meat industry wants to dump its waste salt into a major river. Write a letter to the editor

of your local newspaper either opposing or supporting this action. Be sure to indicate a discussion of both

environmental and economic issues.

21. The Preamble

The Preamble of the U.S. Constitution lists the goals its authors hoped to achieve.

“Form a more perfect union” – promote national unity

“Establish justice” – create a system of courts

“Domestic tranquility” – keep peace within the country

“Promote the general welfare” – improve living and working conditions

“Secure the blessings of liberty” – protect the rights of people

Select several of the goals and use examples from history to show how the United States attempted to achieve

each goal.

22. Manifest Destiny

Manifest Destiny was a belief in the mid-1800s that the United States was destined to extend its borders from

the Atlantic to the Pacific. Discuss whether the fulfillment of this belief was a success. Explain the effects that

Manifest Destiny has on Native Americans at that time.

23. Legal Driving age

The Kentucky legislature has proposed a bill that would raise the driving age from 16 to 18. Discuss advantages

and disadvantages that would be associated with this change. Chose several different groups of citizens

and discuss why they would support or oppose this change.

24. New Student

A new student has entered your school. The new student comes from another country and speaks very little


A. Identify and describe three activities you could do with the new student to help him or her adjust to

your community.

B. Explain how each of the activities you identified in part A would help the student feel more comfortable

living in your community.

25. Producing a Yearbook

Imagine that you are the head of the yearbook club at your school. This year the club plans to produce and

sell a traditional print yearbook, a CD-ROM yearbook, or a video yearbook. The club wants to make as much

money as possible. Keeping in mind that your club wants to make a profit, discuss the types of information

that you will need to help you decide each of the following:

• What kind of yearbook to make

• How to produce the kind of yearbook you decide to make

• How many yearbooks to make

• How much to charge for each yearbook

26. America’s Diversity

Before the arrival of Europeans, North America was home to many different Native American peoples and cultures.

Beginning in the 1600s, Europeans and Africans added to America’s diversity. Today we live in a society

that was shaped by each of these three groups, as well as by other groups who arrived later.

A. Identify one contribution to American Life made by each of the three groups listed below:

• Native Americans

• African Americans

• European Americans (Spanish, English, German, Irish, etc.)

B. Explain why these contributions are still important in American Life today, Use specific examples to

support your answer.

27. Separation of Powers

The framers of the U.S Constitution wanted to prevent the new federal government from becoming a dictatorship.

To keep the government from becoming too powerful, they divided its powers among three branches –

legislative branch, the executive branch, and the judicial branch.

A. For each of the three branches of government identify one power given to it by the constitution.

B. Explain why each power you identified in part A is important in our system of government. Support

your explanation with specific, real-life examples.