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An A-Maize-ing Plant- Corn - Cheryl McGinness

Grades
2 to 6
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This simple WebQuest introduces students to the various uses of corn. The task involves "teaching" Christopher Columbus (who has arrived via time capsule) about the many uses of corn....more
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This simple WebQuest introduces students to the various uses of corn. The task involves "teaching" Christopher Columbus (who has arrived via time capsule) about the many uses of corn. Students are asked to create an oral presentation to share with the class. A detailed rubric is provided.

tag(s): pilgrims (17)

In the Classroom

It might be good to review this WebQuest as a class and then send students to a few specific sites to gather their research. There are numerous links provided. Great information, but younger students will need assistance navigating this site.

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Dates That Matter - TeachersFirst

Grades
5 to 12
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Dates That Matter provides a new perspective on history by placing each day-in-history event in broader context and explaining its long-term impact. History is a fabric woven of many...more
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Dates That Matter provides a new perspective on history by placing each day-in-history event in broader context and explaining its long-term impact. History is a fabric woven of many events, and Dates That Matter helps students see the full tapestry. The dates display on a projector-ready screen: A single sentence reveals something about the date. You then click to see a sequence of thought-provoking questions to guide students to a greater understanding of interrelationships as they try to guess the actual event. When the historical event finally shows on screen, a further explanation, Why does it matter?, fills in the remaining context and offers reviewed links to learn more. Teachers who work with low readers might try using these daily clues to teach the reading strategy of connecting what you read with prior knowledge to place new learning in context. A full, annotated version of each date is available from the Teacher page at the end so you can plan for student responses and have hints for guiding the discussion. You can also preview upcoming dates to choose those you may want to put in your weekly plans.

tag(s): calendars (46), substitutes (21)

In the Classroom

Begin your social studies class once or twice a week by sharing a Date That Matters on a projector or interactive whiteboard to foster broader understanding of the connections that form world history. Or use the links at the end as an extra credit or enrichment opportunity or for gifted students to investigate more. Focus class attention as everyone enters by projecting the date and starting sentence. Make this one a link on your teacher web page for students (and parents) to access outside of school. Substitutes will also appreciate this meaningful and engaging way to connect today with students' prior history knowledge for more than isolated factoid. It's a lesson ready to go!
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This is a terrific site for daily writing and "Do Nows" for my ELA classes. In addition, the site can be used for Morning Meeting/Advisory. Patricia, NJ, Grades: 6 - 12

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Colonial Williamsburg Multimedia Pages - Colonial Williamsburg

Grades
3 to 12
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This site provides over 30 photographs of scenes at Colonial Williamsburg that can be downloaded at no cost. They can be used as computer wallpaper, or could be compiled ...more
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This site provides over 30 photographs of scenes at Colonial Williamsburg that can be downloaded at no cost. They can be used as computer wallpaper, or could be compiled into a slide show. There are also links to podcasts and downloadable ring tones.

tag(s): colonial america (108), williamsburg (12)

In the Classroom

History teachers with a computer cluster in the classroom could use these various wallpapers to "set the mood" for an early American unit. Really hard core American history fans can download colonial ringtones (is that an oxymoron?) for their cell phones including fife and drums, Patrick Henry's "Give Me Liberty" speech or colonial African American songs. If you are using an interactive whiteboard or projector for your American History lesson, why not use a multimedia activator/anticipatory set at the start of your lesson?

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U-505 Submarine - Museum of Science and Industry

Grades
6 to 12
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Associated with the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago and their exhibit of a German U-Boat, this site includes three online Flash animated games that illustrate principles used...more
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Associated with the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago and their exhibit of a German U-Boat, this site includes three online Flash animated games that illustrate principles used in navigating and commanding a German U-boat. Users can target a ship for a torpedo attack, locate a ship using sonar and radar, and listed to radio signals that might signal the presence of an enemy ship. The games illustrate triangulation and the use of latitude and longitude and refer to the use of Morse Code. The games run a little slowly for students used to rapid fire video games, but are extremely well crafted and educational. Remember to get the most recent FLASH plug-in from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page if you do not have it.

tag(s): german (65), germany (28), world war 2 (141)

In the Classroom

Teachers could use these activities as an extension for a study of World War II, or as a reward for completing tasks early or particularly well after the unit. Alternatively, teachers could provide the link for students to explore from home.
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Early Cultures: The Pre European Peoples of Wisconsin - Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center

Grades
6 to 12
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Although this site is designed to illustrate the early peoples of Wisconsin, the information may be useful to anyone studying the broader areas around the upper Mississippi Valley....more
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Although this site is designed to illustrate the early peoples of Wisconsin, the information may be useful to anyone studying the broader areas around the upper Mississippi Valley. The site looks at the people, artifacts, and cultures of a series of inhabitants beginning around 10,000 BC and continuing up until European contact around 1650. Good narratives about each culture, along with photos of artifacts and drawings of settlements and activities.

tag(s): native americans (78)

In the Classroom

There are some nice PDF files for teacher use that compare and contrast the pre-contact cultures. This would be especially helpful in illustrating that the "native people" of North America vary widely depending upon time frame and geography. There are lesson plans and a very nice illustrated glossary of terms and artifacts.

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Harvest of History - Farmers Museum

Grades
2 to 10
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An extremely sophisticated site examining the recent history of farming through the examination of a small New York village in the early 19th century. Each site in the village ...more
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An extremely sophisticated site examining the recent history of farming through the examination of a small New York village in the early 19th century. Each site in the village has a number of short video clips explaining that work that takes place at that site, and explanations of various artifacts associated with the site. Sites include a barnyard, field, church, cooperage, county fair, general store and schoolhouse. The really nifty tool on the site is the ability for users to save various video clips, assemble them in a sequence and to create their own video presentation. In short, this is one VERY impressive site! Requires FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): agriculture (56), new york (26)

In the Classroom

A comprehensive late elementary curriculum unit is outlined for teachers. There is a huge amount of information built into this site, and it could easily provide a lot of audio visual support to a unit on farming or on nineteenth century American farm life. The video clips and the interface are all extremely well done. There is reference to Native American farming (the Seneca). There is also a nice searchable index of primary sources, and it's not a list of moldy books, but rather a photo gallery of artifacts with documentation on usage, age, and provenance. Even a lower elementary teacher could use the videos on a projector to introduce the history of U.S. agrarian culture, and high school classes could study the economics of farming and create their own multi-media projects using the materials on this site.
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Understanding Slavery - Discovery Schools

Grades
5 to 9
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A fascinating site that gives students a good look at how and why slavery existed and the economic ramifications as well as personal toll on the slaves themselves. Divided into ...more
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A fascinating site that gives students a good look at how and why slavery existed and the economic ramifications as well as personal toll on the slaves themselves. Divided into three basic sections, A World of Slavery, A Slave on Three Continents, and Witness a Slave Auction, this site allows for both interaction and information. It includes Teacher Tips and Resources, as well as links to other related sites.

tag(s): africa (178), african american (114), civil war (145), slavery (71)

In the Classroom

You may need to turn off pop-up blocking on this site to see everything. Looking at the different parts of the site will give you ways to approach a sensitive topic as well as questions to use in directing the conversation.

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NewsHour Extra Lesson Plan: Immigration Reform - PBS

Grades
6 to 12
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A site affiliated with the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, this lesson plan provides a framework for discussing immigration from multiple points of view. There are links to a ...more
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A site affiliated with the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, this lesson plan provides a framework for discussing immigration from multiple points of view. There are links to a partial transcript of a NewsHour segment that features the voices of immigrants from different countries. There is a good set of essential questions for discussion related to the issue of immigration. The focus of the lesson is that life experiences shape attitudes toward immigration, and that there are many points of view. Students are encouraged to role play a point of view different from their own. Finally, there is a quick quiz (and Key) that could be used to establish prior knowledge about immigration. On a topic that can be highly emotional, this lesson simply lays out the viewpoints, rather than taking sides.

tag(s): immigration (58), migration (59)

In the Classroom

The essential questions (labeled "My Point of View, parts 2-3") are a nice guide for helping students see this issue from multiple backgrounds.
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Awesome Stories - Awesome Stories Internet Productions

Grades
3 to 8
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A great source of primary documents covering many topics of interest to grade school children including the real stories some of the people killed on Sept. 11. Although this ...more
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A great source of primary documents covering many topics of interest to grade school children including the real stories some of the people killed on Sept. 11. Although this is usually a pay site ($9.95/yr), free membership is available for educators, schools, and libraries. Each feature article is divided into "Story Chapter Links" and highlighted vocabulary clicks to photographs, maps, artifacts, documents, audio-visual clips, and articles with more information about the word. Topics offered include history, culture, literature, disasters, and media. You can find passages on topics related to almost any student's interests and use the resources to teacher reading skills. In December, 2006, Awesome Stories announced free accounts for individuals, as well, but for a "limited time." If you would like your students to be abe to use it at home, consider setting up accounts for students, as well, while they are free.

tag(s): dinosaurs (57), disasters (39), literature (276), movies (70), space (216)

In the Classroom

This is a great jumping off point for beginning researchers. You will find a wonderful compilation of photographs and other realia about the topics. Teach comprehension skills by using the first four chapters and asking students to predict or write aht they think would come next. Bring up the stories on an interactive whiteboard to highlight important terms and access the links that help students build connections to content. Maybe let students select the next topic to help engage reluctant readers.

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Helping Your Child Series - US Department of Education

Grades
K to 8
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Encourage parents to become involved with their children's education using these helpful, downloadable booklets on helping your child with science, history, math, reading, homework,...more
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Encourage parents to become involved with their children's education using these helpful, downloadable booklets on helping your child with science, history, math, reading, homework, early adolescence, preschool, general success in school, and being a responsible citizen. Some are geared for elementary only and others extend through middle school. Most are also available in Spanish version. Download as a pdf (Acrobat file) or Word document. You can order copies, but it may be easier and faster to simply print your own. Remember that you need Acrobat Reader to open pdf files. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): adolescence (11), homework (45)

In the Classroom

Hand these booklets out at back to school night, open house, or conferences. Encourage parents to become involved supportively.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections - Dave Leip

Grades
6 to 12
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This site has many interactive ways to learn about the history of U.S. elections: interactive maps, discussion boards, predictions, polling data, and much more. Some of the tools may...more
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This site has many interactive ways to learn about the history of U.S. elections: interactive maps, discussion boards, predictions, polling data, and much more. Some of the tools may invite less mature students to enter into discussion boards inappropriately. Even so, it is an interesting and useful resource for students studying the history of U.S. elections or political parties.

tag(s): elections (77), politics (100)

In the Classroom

Use some of the interactive maps on a projector or interactive whiteboard or enter into the discussion boards as a class with ONE shared posting and watch the responses as a group.
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Election Map 2006 - NPR

Grades
6 to 12
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Although this resource was created for the 2006 midterm election, it is valuable for teaching about elections in general and for comparing elections as part of U.S. history. Compare...more
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Although this resource was created for the 2006 midterm election, it is valuable for teaching about elections in general and for comparing elections as part of U.S. history. Compare predictions between different new media or simply choose one to see the latest data on the 2006 midterm elections, including house and senate races and gubernatorial elections. Read related articles and download podcasts of analysis. In higher level classes, compare the spin on NPR with that on other new sources.

tag(s): elections (77), politics (100)

In the Classroom

Share the interactive maps on a projector or interactive whiteboard, and check back often to watch changing predictions. Collect these and other news articles with differing slants on your bulletin boards as the elections approach.

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NewsHour Extra Lesson Plan: Checks and Balances in Supreme Court Nominations - PBS

Grades
7 to 12
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This site is affiliated with the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and presents a lesson plan focused on Supreme Court nominations and the ongoing balance of power in the US ...more
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This site is affiliated with the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and presents a lesson plan focused on Supreme Court nominations and the ongoing balance of power in the US government. There are excellent discussion guides, a link to streaming video from the NewsHour, with an accompanying transcript that can be distributed, and a PDF version of a Chicago Tribune article on the issue. There is a nice vocabulary list. There is a good handout on the process of nominating a Supreme Court judge and a worksheet that accompanies it.

tag(s): supreme court (22)

In the Classroom

There is a really nice "balance of powers" exercise that goes way beyond a simple discussion of the Supreme Court. Students look at all three branches of government and determine which branch has power in a variety of contemporary situations. This lesson plan is good as a stand-alone, but also provides a lot of jumping off places for further discussion and adaptation. Use a projector, as the plan suggests, to share the short video clips, available in several formats.
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Foreign War and Domestic Freedom: A Delicate Balance - PBS

Grades
9 to 12
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This site, connected with the PBS show NOW, provides a lesson plan on civil liberties. The lesson plan is largely centered around the viewing of a segment on NOW, ...more
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This site, connected with the PBS show NOW, provides a lesson plan on civil liberties. The lesson plan is largely centered around the viewing of a segment on NOW, and provides worksheets for summarizing the panel discussion contained in the segment. However, there are links to some other nice resources: a brief PowerPoint presentation on civil liberties, a nice animated clip (produced by Libertarians) illustrating how civil liberties denied during difficult times can threaten society, an overview of historical periods in the US when civil liberties were restricted, and a timeline of restrictions since September 11.

In the Classroom

The links to resources on this site are probably of more value than the lesson plan itself. Each of them would serve as a good introduction or illustration in a more general discussion of civil liberties in a high school civics, history or government course. There are also two very nifty on-line quizzes that evaluate your general political ideology after answering a few questions about your views on government.
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NewsHour Extra Lesson Plan: The United Nations and Reform - PBS

Grades
9 to 12
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This site, connected to the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, looks at efforts and rationale for reform at the United Nations. There is an overview of the history of ...more
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This site, connected to the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, looks at efforts and rationale for reform at the United Nations. There is an overview of the history of the United Nations, including a nice PDF handout for students. The second part focuses on some of the organizational challenges faced by the UN and asks whether the UN is addressing the issues it was designed for.

tag(s): united nations (8)

In the Classroom

The information provided is fairly dense, and the issues and discussion of reform are probably beyond the scope of a general history class. However, the historical information would be useful for a more general audience, and the questions related to reform would be suitable for an upper level class on civics, government or modern US history.
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Be A Historian - Industrialization - Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area

Grades
5 to 10
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This teacher friendly site has it all - thinking questions, facts, research activities and more! This site is designed for grades 6-8, but could be useful in grades 5-10. ...more
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This teacher friendly site has it all - thinking questions, facts, research activities and more! This site is designed for grades 6-8, but could be useful in grades 5-10. The students are taken back to the late 1800s by authentic pictures and creative learning activities. Topics include working women, railroads and other forms of transportation and mass production.

tag(s): industrialization (14)

In the Classroom

Use the interactive graphic organizers for students to complete individual or guided learning experiences. These would also work well on an interactive whiteboard.
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Be A Historian - Immigration - Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area

Grades
4 to 10
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This website is a virtual time-travel experience for students in grades 4-10. The students travel back to the late 1800s in Waterloo, Iowa and see immigration to America. ...more
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This website is a virtual time-travel experience for students in grades 4-10. The students travel back to the late 1800s in Waterloo, Iowa and see immigration to America. Although the site talks about Iowa, the information is applicable to American immigration in general. This website provides 10 different activities (many interactive and open-ended). The activities could also easily be used for differentiating instruction for various levels of ability. The website provides summaries, answer keys, standards and extension activities for the teachers.

tag(s): ellis island (9), immigration (58), iowa (4), migration (59)

In the Classroom

This activity would be great for cooperative learning groups, whole class projects, or independent assignments. The ten activities provided are all very diverse and cover language arts, research, mathematics, history and more!

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American Writers - C-Span

Grades
6 to 12
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This beautifully crafted site provides students with in-depth information on American writers and their works. Students can use the site's search feature to zero in on an era in American...more
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This beautifully crafted site provides students with in-depth information on American writers and their works. Students can use the site's search feature to zero in on an era in American history, a specific author, or a book title. The site features many video clips from the companion C-SPAN series. A high-speed connection is a must.

tag(s): authors (121), poetry (225)

In the Classroom

You can pick and choose not only which author you want, but what information you want to use. You can choose short video clips shown on a projector either as a lesson in themselves (using the suggested questions or ones of your own); you can create a webquest using a combination of both this site and other sites linked from it; or you can use this as a straightforward internet lesson, using the material presented on the site itself. It is easily expandable to history and you can watch the video, a video clip, or read the transcript. Video requires Real Player.

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Klondike Gold Rush - Seattle Unit National Historic Park - National Park Service

Grades
3 to 12
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The National Park Service's overview of Seattle's Klondike Gold Rush Visitor Center contains links to some extremely comprehensive educational materials. Included is a integrated curriculum...more
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The National Park Service's overview of Seattle's Klondike Gold Rush Visitor Center contains links to some extremely comprehensive educational materials. Included is a integrated curriculum design for grades 3-6 consisting of 19 lessons blending history, language arts (writing and journaling), and geography. One of the lessons requires the use of the PBS film "Gold!" and one of the lessons involves a field trip to the Visitor Center. There are links to PDF versions of lesson documents, many hands-on project overviews, and comprehensive materials lists. The lessons would be easily adapted to students in higher grade levels.

tag(s): gold rush (19), westward expansion (29)

In the Classroom

Teachers in upper grades could easily pick and choose from these lessons to flesh out a unit on the Gold Rush. The link to "History and Culture" takes you to a Washington State data base of photographs and newspaper clippings that could provide good primary source material for classroom use or for History Day projects on the Gold Rush.
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Camp Silos - From Native Prairie to Present, Our Agricultural Heritage - Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area

Grades
K to 12
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This site provides teachers with ready-to-use agricultural lessons that are both interactive and interesting to students of all ages. The site is geared towards grades 4-8, however...more
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This site provides teachers with ready-to-use agricultural lessons that are both interactive and interesting to students of all ages. The site is geared towards grades 4-8, however there are activities for students in grades K-12. Students will enjoy the interactive "corn" scavenger hunt, witnessing the birth of pigs, seeing the Iowa of 150 years ago, virtual field trips and more. The web site is interdisciplinary and teacher-friendly.It includes numerous lesson plans (most interactive) and lots of new approaches to teaching subject matter. Requires QUICKTIME for video.

tag(s): agriculture (56), air (163), iowa (4), prairie (10)

In the Classroom

This web site is perfect for combining students' love of technology with standards in science, history, technology, information literacy and language arts. Especially unique are the interactive scavenger hunts and virtual field trips that allow students to step "out of the classroom." Partner students on computers for the scavenger hunt or take a virtual field trip together on a projector.

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