TeachersFirst's China and Cross-Cultural Resources

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Every culture tends to focus on its own way of thinking and doing. In order to prepare our students for life, twenty-first century classrooms must foster cross-cultural understanding as a vital aspect of learning in today's global society. This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help teachers and students build a better understanding of other cultures, especially China, through related projects and classroom activities. We welcome suggestions of additional free teaching resources for our team to review. Please mention "cross-cultural" in your message.

 

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100 People - 100 People Foundation and VIF

Grades
6 to 12
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This site takes the global population (there are 6.7 billion of us) and simplifies it to 100 People to help students understand what kind of people make up their community ...more
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This site takes the global population (there are 6.7 billion of us) and simplifies it to 100 People to help students understand what kind of people make up their community and the world beyond. On the first page of the website you will see a lesson plan video to view. There are 12 other videos for you to use.

There are two lesson plans for this site. The first one, "World Portrait" is where students survey and select 100 people to represent their community and the world's population. There are also suggestions for how a class might select one person. The plan is download-able and has ideas that include criteria for the people who are nominated, discussion topics and activities, questions for the community profile, a questionnaire for the people nominated, an image release form, just to name a few. Student results are to be captured in film, photography, music and text. The other lesson plan on this site is titled "100 People Under the Sun." In order to download this lesson you must register, it is free, but you will have to log in when viewing the plan. With this lesson "...students will develop key leadership skills to help raise their community's awareness of its energy use, as well as its motivation to advance sustainable approaches."

tag(s): population (64), statistics (126)

In the Classroom

This project is the perfect opportunity to collaborate with others in your building! Math students could complete a school and community survey (which could tie in with 2010 U.S. census). Social Studies students could interpret data collected in the survey (also could be tied into the 2010 census) and extrapolate parameters for nominations. Language Arts students would finalize the nominations and develop the essays. Technology, yearbook, and art classes can draw the portraits or produce them digitally, create a video for submission to 100 People project, and your more advanced technology students can create a website for content display. WebNode, reviewed here, or a wiki would be great tools to use for the website! Not familiar with wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.

Of course, you don't have to collaborate with others. This unit would work well in any world culture class at any level, or even in language arts when studying multicultural literature and settings. Here's another idea: Many of us have seen the video Did You Know? Predicting Future Statistics>. The beginning states "If you are one in a million in China there are 1,300 people just like you." But it also gives statistics like "During the course of this presentation 60 babies will be born in the U.S., 244 babies will be born in China, and 351 babies will be born in India..." You can use your and your student's ideas to come up with your own statistics. Something like how many people will be working and sleeping between the hours of midnight and 6:00 A.M. in the U.S., China, and India (or any other country you wish to include). Use this to lead to discussions of time zones and all sorts of other peripheral ideas and decisions students will have to think about.

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Marco Polo's Route to China and Back - EDSITEment

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2 to 8
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Marco Polo's Route to China and Back shows students the travels of two historical journeys of Marco Polo. As students correctly answer questions about each route, they travel further...more
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Marco Polo's Route to China and Back shows students the travels of two historical journeys of Marco Polo. As students correctly answer questions about each route, they travel further along on the map. If students answer the questions incorrectly, they are given the opportunity to click on a resource link that takes them to the correct answer. This site is not only challenging but fun for young explorers. The site also includes some wonderful authentic photos and drawings.

tag(s): explorers (64), marco polo (5)

In the Classroom

Incorporate this site into a web quest to build student knowledge of Marco Polo, interesting geography facts, and the history of Asia. Create a class wiki about Marco Polo and have students add different facts they learned or questions they might have. Not sure how to create a class wiki? Check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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New York Times Science Lesson Plans - New York Times

Grades
6 to 12
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Looking for ways to link current science events and skills such as reading and writing across the curriculum in your science classroom? Visit this ideal internet location! Created by...more
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Looking for ways to link current science events and skills such as reading and writing across the curriculum in your science classroom? Visit this ideal internet location! Created by the people of the New York Times, this lesson plan idea page has all the tools to put together quick, technology, reading and science based lessons in a fraction of the time it would take to pool the resources on your own.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (122), main idea (9), news (261)

In the Classroom

Scan the lessons. Choose topics appropriate to your content, and then incorporate into your classroom at will. Break lessons apart into both classroom and online discussions for students. A little disclaimer: some of these cutting edge science topics can be controversial so make sure to adequately prepare your students before embarking on these learning adventures.
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Go For The Gold - Scholastic

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K to 10
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This website (originally created for the 2004 Olympics, and updated in 2008and 2010) offers a great deal of information on the Olympics. Specific highlights include "In my Backyard,"...more
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This website (originally created for the 2004 Olympics, and updated in 2008and 2010) offers a great deal of information on the Olympics. Specific highlights include "In my Backyard," "History of the Games," "More to Explore," and "Get in the Game." There are also links to a Teachers Guide (with lesson plans for grades K-10 and standards), related booklists, interactive activities, and more. Although this site is slightly dated, it does contain some excellent information on the origin and history of the Olympics. Also, the "In The News" section is no longer updated.

tag(s): china (63), olympics (49)

In the Classroom

If you are bringing the Olympics into your classroom, incorporate the many ideas at this website into your lessons. There are lesson plans ready to go (and divided by grade level). Try the interactive "It's All Greek To Me" together on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Use this site for research about the history of the Olympics, politics and the Olympics, and other pertinent topics.
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Going for the Gold - 2009 United States Olympic Committee

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2 to 12
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Follow the United States Olympic athletes at this interactive website. Find out current news about the athletes, read biographical information, read the athlete's blogs, watch video...more
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Follow the United States Olympic athletes at this interactive website. Find out current news about the athletes, read biographical information, read the athlete's blogs, watch video clips, explore the articles, and more. Click on "Resources" and then "U.S. Olympic Education" to find some lesson ideas to use in your classroom. There are some minor advertisements at this website.

tag(s): china (63), olympics (49)

In the Classroom

Use this site to research American athletes. Share the video clips, read the blogs, and view the pictures on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Don't miss the lesson ideas (in the "Resources" section). Share this site on your class website, so families can follow the U.S. Olympians.
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Ancient Civilizations - The British Museum

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4 to 12
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Browse the themes of the interactive history map by the British Museum to learn about ancient civilizations. Choose "Cities," "Religions," "Technology," "Trade," "Writing," or "Buildings."...more
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Browse the themes of the interactive history map by the British Museum to learn about ancient civilizations. Choose "Cities," "Religions," "Technology," "Trade," "Writing," or "Buildings." Click on the map to see places for more information. Click on the clock along the bottom to open a timeline. Open a list of ancient civilizations by clicking on the globe. Access the main menu of themes by clicking on the museum picture. Additional links are found by clicking on "Other related sites." Teachers can find other resources and information by clicking on "Staff Room."

tag(s): china (63), egypt (70), mesopotamia (6)

In the Classroom

Divide students into groups to peruse a given theme or an ancient civilization. Student groups can ask additional questions to begin a search for even more information and present their findings to the class. Discuss parallels among ancient civilizations through the discussion of these themes as well as comparisons and contrasts with present society. Create a visual display of life in these societies or share food and traditions that might have existed. Try some multimedia projects like a Venn Diagram comparing a certain theme of ancient civilization to present society using an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here). Have cooperative learning groups create podcasts demonstrating their understanding of one of the themes. Use a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).
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Teach Children ESL: Games - Teach Children ESL

Grades
K to 3
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This site has many games available for downloading including card games, board games, and Valentine's Day bingo. Children learn vocabulary and have fun while manipulating the various...more
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This site has many games available for downloading including card games, board games, and Valentine's Day bingo. Children learn vocabulary and have fun while manipulating the various versions of memory cards, Go Fish, and other traditional children's past times. Downloads include colorfully illustrated cards and game parts as well as instructions. Links include more goodies: worksheets, songs, and flashcards. At certain times of the day this site can be slow in loading. This site requires Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (122)

In the Classroom

Download the games and laminate the materials or send them home for parents and children to do together. Speech and language teachers as well as ESL/ELL teachers will love the free games-to-go!
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Ethnologue - SIL International

Grades
6 to 12
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This site is an index to languages of the world, including lesser known ones. There is also some reference information provided for most locations. Teachers and students can click on...more
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This site is an index to languages of the world, including lesser known ones. There is also some reference information provided for most locations. Teachers and students can click on a map of the world to come up with a list of continents and then a list of countries. Each country, no matter how obscure, displays a list of its languages and dialects and a short description of the location where the language is spoken. For example, the tiny West African country of Liberia lists over 30 languages and dialects, many of which are spoken in no locations outside this country.

In the Classroom

Use this site when social studies students are doing reports on world cultures. Check out your own state (or country) and see what you can learn. ESL and ELL students may enjoy sharing the information displayed here about their individual countries and languages with American students who might have no idea of the cultural differences among members of the same country. Use this map as a discussion starter I your world cultures class about migration patterns and the power of a common language to encourage cross-cultural pollination.

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Olympics Resources - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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Winter or summer, the Olympics provide teaching opportunities across the curriculum for students of all ages. Browse these options for curriculum connections to light the Olympic flame...more
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Winter or summer, the Olympics provide teaching opportunities across the curriculum for students of all ages. Browse these options for curriculum connections to light the Olympic flame in your classroom.

tag(s): china (63), olympics (49)

In the Classroom

Use these Olympics resources to plan an entire unit during the Olympics or make them available as links from your teacher web page for enrichment if the Olympics fall during school breaks. Not enough time for an Olympics unit? Perhaps students can use these links to generate ideas and projects to share on an Olympics extra credit wiki. Teachers of gifted will find many ways to spark new projects usig these links.

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Time For Kids - Around the World - TIME for Kids

Grades
3 to 7
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This informative website offers students "faraway places at their fingertips." There are countries included from Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe, North America, South America,...more
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This informative website offers students "faraway places at their fingertips." There are countries included from Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe, North America, South America, and Oceania. Some of the specific countries include Nigeria, Tanzania, Pakistan, Thailand, Costa Rica, Norway, Turkey, Alaska, Chile, Peru, Australia, New Zealand, and more. Each country's information varies a bit. Most include some "native lingo," a sightseeing guide, a history timeline, current news, and other educational bits of information. The website also features lesson plans, worksheets, maps, and graphic organizers. Certain activities at this website require Adobe Acrobat and/or QuickTime Player. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): china (63), egypt (70), france (39), greece (27), india (34), jordan (5), maps (295), vietnam (36)

In the Classroom

What a fabulous resource for independent research projects or country comparisons. Put the names of all of the countries into a hat or jar. Have individual students or small groups pick a country. Challenge the students to learn the native lingo, the geography and climate of the area, the history of the country, and more. Have the students create multimedia presentations to share with the class or have a World Cultures day.

If you don't have time to complete a large research project, use your interactive whiteboard (or projector) and take your students "virtually" to a different country every week. Spend 10-15 minutes navigating the website. Challenge your class to learn some of the native "lingo" and practice native phrases throughout the week. Use this site for background when reading folktales and stories set in far-off lands. If you have a chance to do a collaborative project with students across the world, start with basic background knowledge from this site.
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China Blue - PBS--Independent Lens

Grades
9 to 12
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A companion to an independent film focusing on the conditions facing workers who make blue jeans for the Western market, this site provides information about "sweatshops" in China and...more
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A companion to an independent film focusing on the conditions facing workers who make blue jeans for the Western market, this site provides information about "sweatshops" in China and other developing countries. There is specific information about the sources for several well-known jeans manufacturers, and stories of the young workers in these factories and their brutal working conditions.

The site would be useful in an economics class during a discussion of the emerging global economy. In addition, it would be a good supplement to a discussion of China in general, or as part of a comparison with 19th century sweatshop labor in the United States and the development of the labor union movement. There are also links to other web-based sources on human rights, China, and the global economy.

tag(s): china (63)

In the Classroom

Share the film clips on a projector or whiteboard (in either RealPlayer or Quicktime formats). Discussion could work well in either a whole-class format or in a follow-up small group activity where each group creates a Venn diagram comparing the sweat shops of today with those in Weestern countries in the 19th century.

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China - BBC

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K to 8
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This website (created by BBC), provides a wealth of information on China. It was updated in 2007, so is slightly out of date. But the information still provides solid research ...more
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This website (created by BBC), provides a wealth of information on China. It was updated in 2007, so is slightly out of date. But the information still provides solid research and information about the country. Visitors to the website will find information about saving the pandas, China's one-child policy, famous Chinese landmarks and authentic accounts of visits to China (through the eyes and words of other students).

tag(s): china (63), cultures (108), olympics (49)

In the Classroom

Use an interactive whiteboard or projector to take your students on a virtual field trip to China! The students are sure to enjoy the pictures and "student guides" of China. As a comparison across cultures, have your students create a "student guide" that compares their own culture with another. Middle school students could use issues such as the "one child policy" and some social policies as writing prompts for persuasive essays or debate topics in their world cultures class.

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My Hero - My Hero Project

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K to 12
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Looking for an online project-based interactive website that encourages literacy and cross-cultural communication? Looking for an alternative culminating project or process writing...more
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Looking for an online project-based interactive website that encourages literacy and cross-cultural communication? Looking for an alternative culminating project or process writing project for your secondary classes? Trying to help your high school juniors and seniors create an interesting college "essay" or portfolio piece? Join other adults and children from around the world by adding your essay, artwork or video about a hero on this non-profit, ad-free web site. You and your students can use this site with basic word processing knowledge -- or take it further if you are more technically capable.Site registration is required. Site is available in Spanish. Flash, Acrobat Reader and Quicktime are required. Get them from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): gifted (90), heroes (23), writing (369)

In the Classroom

Be sure to visit the Teacher's Resource section for helpful hints and links. Use any word processing program to type essays, then copy and paste into the My Hero class page. Provide a link to the class page on your teacher web page so students, parents, and relatives can read the essays. As always follow your district policies regarding posting student work on the Internet. It is HIGHLY advisable to get written parent permission for such a project!

Very young students could work together as a class to write their entry. Older students and those with more technology available will definitely want to try the videos! If you know iMovie or Windows Moviemaker, this is a terrific project. It is well-suited for gifted students, as well.
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Wikipedia: List of Faux Pas

Grades
6 to 12
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Although this site is a wiki and therefore editable by anyone who chooses to change the content, it highlights the differences between cultures and how people interpret behavior. Find...more
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Although this site is a wiki and therefore editable by anyone who chooses to change the content, it highlights the differences between cultures and how people interpret behavior. Find out about what is considered "good" and "bad" etiquette in places all over the world. Perhaps your students would even like to write their own additions? It is worth mentioning to your secondary students that the authorship of wiki content is unknown and would therefore be unacceptable as an "academic" source.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (122), cultures (108)

In the Classroom

Use this as a discussion-opener in your world language or world cultures class. If you put the Faux Pas wiki up on a projector or allow your students to explore it, assigning each group to find one thing that is perfectly acceptable in your home country but considered offensive in another, you can then discuss the differences one needs to consider in learning the language or history of that country. As a a follow-up in a world cultures class, ask students to write up their own etiquette guide for their school or home town.

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WorldWise Schools Lesson Plans - Peace Corps

Grades
2 to 12
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This site is a much-expanded remake of the Peace Corps collection of lesson plans and activities for cross-cultural understanding around the world. Teachers can search for lesson plans...more
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This site is a much-expanded remake of the Peace Corps collection of lesson plans and activities for cross-cultural understanding around the world. Teachers can search for lesson plans by topic, region of the world, grade level, or academic subject. All readings and materials are included (many as pdf - Acrobat Reader files). Many lessons include readings that would also work well for teaching reading comprehension, espceially for your less-than-proficient readers. Simply choose the area of the world, subject, and/or grade level for which you want a lesson plan, and you will see quite a list.

tag(s): cultures (108)

In the Classroom

Search for lessons on a specific region as you teach about it or use these selections as general readings for comprehension. They may also be helpful in getting to know students who enter your classroom from other cultures. The lessons would be very helpful in developing background knowledge to understand cross-cultural literature selections in a language arts class.
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Asia for Educators - Columbia University

Grades
10 to 12
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This impressive and extensive multimedia site explores the history and culture of China and Japan, and provides a wealth of teaching materials and resources. Each featured topic is...more
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This impressive and extensive multimedia site explores the history and culture of China and Japan, and provides a wealth of teaching materials and resources. Each featured topic is accompanied by a related lesson plan and an annotated list of supporting online sources. Browse by subject or by time period.

tag(s): asia (71), china (63), japan (60)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans hosted on this site! There are also timelines about both China and Japan available that can help guide your classroom unit about the history of either. Share a timeline on the interactive whiteboard or projector to introduce the unit and show the direction of progress. This would be a great resource for a world history classroom.
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Ancient China - British Musem

Grades
7 to 12
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Discover the culture of ancient China with this outstanding, interactive site that explores its artisans, geography, tombs, writings, and more. Each section of the site provides historical...more
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Discover the culture of ancient China with this outstanding, interactive site that explores its artisans, geography, tombs, writings, and more. Each section of the site provides historical information, a story, an in-depth exploration, and a challenge. The challenge activities promote higher level thinking and are ideal for independent practice and review.

tag(s): china (63), chinese (50)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center or station during a unit on Ancient China. There is a lot of content on the site, so it would be beneficial to create a graphic organizer for students to help organize their notes. (If looking for an easy find, we recommend using Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here).) Teachers can also use the challenges to assess student participation, not to mention that kids will enjoy the brief respite from note-taking! A very useful resource for the world history classroom.

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Mysterious Mummmies of China - PBS Nova

Grades
6 to 12
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In the late 1980s, perfectly preserved 3,000 year old mummies began appearing in a remote desert in China. Surprisingly, they possessed the physical characteristics of Europeans and...more
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In the late 1980s, perfectly preserved 3,000 year old mummies began appearing in a remote desert in China. Surprisingly, they possessed the physical characteristics of Europeans and did not appear to be ancestors of the modern-day Chinese. Where did they come from? How were they preserved? What can linguistics reveal about such ancient people? The site explores these unsolved mysteries and makes connections to similar finds throughout the world.

tag(s): china (63), europe (73)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center or station during a unit on Ancient China in a World History classroom. Because there's a lot of content on this site, try creating a guide to help students understand what's the most significant. For help creating graphic organizers easily, try Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here).

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Immigration - The Changing Face of America - Library of Congress

Grades
6 to 12
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The American Memory Collection at the Library of Congress does it again with this survey of the waves of immigration that have swept the American shores. While this site has ...more
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The American Memory Collection at the Library of Congress does it again with this survey of the waves of immigration that have swept the American shores. While this site has a number of incomplete "exhibit" areas, the associated lesson plans are there, and well worth a look for those whose curricula include immigration. It may take some trial and error to find those resources that fit best.

tag(s): africa (172), african american (112), china (63), chinese (50), immigration (59), japan (60), japanese (45), migration (59)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and classroom activities hosted on this site! Be sure to save this one as a favorite to allow for easy retrieval later on.
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Panda Central - San Diego Zoo

Grades
2 to 12
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The San Diego Zoo's panda pages offer a plethora of photos and other information about China's most reclusive citizens. Besides being undeniably cute, pandas make a great preservation...more
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The San Diego Zoo's panda pages offer a plethora of photos and other information about China's most reclusive citizens. Besides being undeniably cute, pandas make a great preservation study with some interesting international overtones. It now includes a live webcam stream of the pandas 24 hours a day

tag(s): animals (309), china (63), endangered species (40), species (30)

In the Classroom

Both elementary and secondary teachers will find this one useful.

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