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Iowa Public Television


Online US History Initiative Launched

September 20, 2010





The “Mission” Launches with “For Crown or Colony?” –

September 21, 2010


Johnston, Iowa, September 20, 2010 – Teens and tweens in Iowa will soon experience American history as never before with Mission US, an exciting new series of free online games that will “revolutionize” the way social studies learning takes place in classrooms and homes.  The first game mission, “For Crown or Colony?” launches on September 21, 2010 and focuses on events leading up to the American Revolution.  The game, together with a rich variety of supplemental resources for students and teachers, will be available for streaming and download at www.mission-us.orgMission US is produced by public television station THIRTEEN, a pioneer in harnessing the power of new digital media for education, in association with WNET.ORG, and with major funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and additional funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.


To help local educators explore the rich environment of Mission US and maximize the program with their students, Iowa Public Television has received a special grant from THIRTEEN for outreach into the community.  Iowa Public Television is one of 10 stations across the country spearheading innovative multi-tiered outreach initiatives in 2010 and 2011 that include training local teachers to most effectively use the resource with their classes. 


 “Using the most popular medium in kids’ lives today, Mission US gets students interested in learning about history by allowing them to experience dramatic historical events as if they were there,” said Patricia de Stacy Harrison, president and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting


“For Crown or Colony?” immerses players in the world of 1770 Boston before the American Revolution.  Players take on the role of Nathaniel Wheeler, a 14-year-old apprentice to the publisher of the pro-Patriot Boston Gazette.  They steer Nat as he interacts with a variety of people from colonial Boston society, including historical figures like Paul Revere and Phillis Wheatley.  Nat’s fate rests in players’ hands: Should he complete his apprenticeship and support the Patriots’ cause, remain loyal to the crown, or leave Boston, taking a new job at sea?  No matter which path Nat chooses, he witnesses the events of the Boston Massacre and, ultimately, must decide where his allegiance lies.


Designed for use at home or in school, the game is divided into five parts, and may be played individually or collaboratively.  Mission US helps students with different learning styles acquire information and insights critical for understanding history as outlined in state and national education standards.  In addition to the game, the Mission US website offers numerous downloadable resources and activities for classroom use, including document-based questions, a primary source collection, vocabulary activities, background on historical figures, writing prompts, and visual aids. 

Mission US is produced by THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG.  Sandra Sheppard, THIRTEEN’s director of Children’s and Educational Programming, is the executive-in-charge.  Jill Peters is the executive producer.  Michelle Chen is the coordinating producer. The Mission US development team includes historians from the American Social History Project at CUNY, researchers from Education Development Center’s Center for Children and Technology, and game developers from Electric Funstuff.  Other outreach partners are the National Council for the Social Studies and the American Library Association/American Association of School Librarians, which will promote utilization of the game in classrooms, afterschool programs, and libraries across the country. Visit www.mission-us.org for more information.

Major funding for Mission US is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  Additional funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.



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