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The Gold Rush - PBS

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4 to 12
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This site provides background information, timeline, and illustrated explanations of what happened during the gold rush. Originally intended to accompany the PBS documentary, the site...more
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This site provides background information, timeline, and illustrated explanations of what happened during the gold rush. Originally intended to accompany the PBS documentary, the site can also be useful for those who do not have access to the video. If you choose to use the video, there are lesson plans and handouts to use before and after viewing. The A "Fun Facts" section of information is interesting for all.

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

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans here that show you how to incorporate all the features of the site into a unit on the Gold Rush and Westward Expansion. Excellent resource for American history teachers, just be sure to save it as a favorite to allow for easy retrieval later on.

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Fur Traders & Mountain Men

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5 to 12
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A look at fur trading in the Rocky Mountain west. ...more
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A look at fur trading in the Rocky Mountain west.

tag(s): westward expansion (29)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a resource to find primary source material about the fur traders, as well as what life was like for the first American settlers on the west. This site would be useful during a unit on Westward Expansion, and primary sources can be used a variety of ways. Try finding a shorter letter or piece and projecting it on the board as students are first walking into your classroom. Have immediate directions posted on the board, instructing students to sit down and respond to a specific aspect of the piece in some sort of journal entry. This process not only sets the tone for the material to be covered in class, but it also gives you and students the time needed to settle down and get focused and ready to learn. Great resource for an American history teacher.

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The Journals of Lewis & Clark - University of Virginia

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9 to 12
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This site from the University of Virginia provides an edited version of Lewis & Clark's journals recounting their two-year journey to the Pacific and back. Good site for students interested...more
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This site from the University of Virginia provides an edited version of Lewis & Clark's journals recounting their two-year journey to the Pacific and back. Good site for students interested in primary sources.

tag(s): explorers (61), lewis and clark (15), westward expansion (29)

In the Classroom

Use these journal pages to supplement a unit on Westward expansion and these two men's travels. Select specific journal articles that would interest your students, sharing them on the interactive whiteboard while students have their own copies at their desks too. Read aloud the specific quotes you think are important, or have a volunteer do the same, asking students what this means, the impact, perspective, etc. This is a great way to segway into a lesson about analyzing, as well as summarization. At the end of the activity, have students summarize the articles in a journal, afterwards responding to a specific aspect they did or did not agree with. Interesting resource for a US history teacher.

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Lewis & Clark Go West - National Geographic

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2 to 6
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National Geographic takes an elementary-level look at the Lewis & Clark expedition. This site is suitable for hands-on use by elementary-level students. The design, content, and artwork...more
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National Geographic takes an elementary-level look at the Lewis & Clark expedition. This site is suitable for hands-on use by elementary-level students. The design, content, and artwork are all of the quality you would expect from National Geographic.

tag(s): explorers (61), lewis and clark (15)

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Lewis & Clark - PBS

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6 to 12
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This is the web site for Ken Burns' PBS series on the travels of Lewis and Clark. It provides a significant resource for studying the explorers' travels, along with study ...more
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This is the web site for Ken Burns' PBS series on the travels of Lewis and Clark. It provides a significant resource for studying the explorers' travels, along with study suggestions.

tag(s): explorers (61), lewis and clark (15)

In the Classroom

Such a great site! Use this site as a resource for anything and everything concerning Lewis and Clark. Use the interactive map over the projector to show students how far their travels extended, as well as to show the growing size of the United States at that time. There is also an interactive story that could be used as a learning center, primary sources that could be used in discussion, and various other activity ideas on this site. US history teachers will appreciate this one!

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Klondike Gold Rush Stories - Smithsonian Institution

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4 to 8
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Drawn from the Smithsonian's history of the U.S. Postal Service, this page of Gold Rush stories includes narrative and pictures explaining how people arrived in Alaska and traveled...more
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Drawn from the Smithsonian's history of the U.S. Postal Service, this page of Gold Rush stories includes narrative and pictures explaining how people arrived in Alaska and traveled inland to stake their claims in the gold fields. The site is remarkable more for its variety of original sources than for its visual effects, but there's a lot to learn here.

tag(s): alaska (25), gold rush (19)

In the Classroom

What a creative way to meld Literature and the history of the Gold Rush in this site! Use some of the resources and stories in this site in your classroom to teach about the Gold Rush in Alaska in a non-lecture format.

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Daniel Boone - University of Virginia

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9 to 12
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The University of Virginia's Daniel Boone site provides a discussion of the roles of Boone as both an "empire builder" and a primitivist. Interesting site for a student interested in...more
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The University of Virginia's Daniel Boone site provides a discussion of the roles of Boone as both an "empire builder" and a primitivist. Interesting site for a student interested in how historical characters acquire mythic proportions.

tag(s): heroes (24), westward expansion (29)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center or station during a lesson on the famous character. Because there is a lot of information on this site, we recommend creating a follow-along to highlight for students what's most important, as well as provide you with some assessment of their participation. For help creating graphic organizers, try Mindomo, (reviewed here).

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Along the Chisholm Trail

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4 to 12
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Here's a well-designed "labor of love" site that introduces a trail used by cattlemen. Along the trail, you'll learn why the Missouri ranchers didn't like the Texas ranchers, why a...more
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Here's a well-designed "labor of love" site that introduces a trail used by cattlemen. Along the trail, you'll learn why the Missouri ranchers didn't like the Texas ranchers, why a longhorn is a great steer, and other vital facts. There's serious history in all this, and the narrative makes it fun to read.

tag(s): westward expansion (29)

In the Classroom

Use this site to teach about the "wild west," and how it was affected by the pioneers who settled it. Use this site as a learning center or station during a unit on the West and Westward Expansion. This site would probably work best with a graphic organizer to accompany it. We recommend Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here).

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The Alamo

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4 to 8
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The web site from the historical monument offers a description of the events that happened there and the larger story of the Texas independence movement. ...more
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The web site from the historical monument offers a description of the events that happened there and the larger story of the Texas independence movement.

tag(s): native americans (78), westward expansion (29)

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Voices from the Trading Post - Northern Arizona University

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6 to 12
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This site from the University of Northern Arizona offers archival photos and transcripts of interviews with Native Americans whose ancestors were involved in trading. The trading post,...more
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This site from the University of Northern Arizona offers archival photos and transcripts of interviews with Native Americans whose ancestors were involved in trading. The trading post, though, is mostly a convenient meeting point for native and western cultures. There are some striking images and powerful text here. The site would be a great starting point for a look at "authentic" native experiences.

tag(s): native americans (78)

In the Classroom

Not only are there oral interviews and other primary sources on this site - but there are also free lesson plans provided that help teachers use them creatively in the classroom! This is a great find for a US history or government class - just make sure to save it as a favorite for easy retrieval later on.

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Turtle Tracks

Grades
4 to 8
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This newsletter with a Native American slant includes articles, stories, and information about Native American culture, customs, holidays, and heroes. The texts include pictures and...more
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This newsletter with a Native American slant includes articles, stories, and information about Native American culture, customs, holidays, and heroes. The texts include pictures and maps. Subject matter varies, and publication appears to be sporadic. Still, it's a nice collection of different materials.

tag(s): native americans (78)

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Pre-Contact Native American Housing

Grades
4 to 8
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Though this site spends much time discussing the inaccuracies of Euro-centric portrayals of Native Americans and their housing, its detailed descriptions of the form and function of...more
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Though this site spends much time discussing the inaccuracies of Euro-centric portrayals of Native Americans and their housing, its detailed descriptions of the form and function of several different housing types are well worth a visit. The visual material includes drawings, archival photos, and artwork by Native Americans showing the way they lived in a variety of climates. Privately published.

tag(s): native americans (78)

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Photographs of Edward S. Curtis - Library of Congress

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4 to 12
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This Library of Congress exhibit contains dozens of photographs made of Native Americans in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The collection concentrates in the Pacific northwest,...more
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This Library of Congress exhibit contains dozens of photographs made of Native Americans in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The collection concentrates in the Pacific northwest, and was an attempt to record the cultural life of the tribes there. Though some of the images were "staged" by modern standards, these images offer a "real world" glimpse of cultures many students can only read about.

tag(s): native americans (78)

In the Classroom

Use the images on this site to create a "picture walk" in your classroom, introducing the topic of Native American cultures. Select 10-15 of the more powerful and diverse images, hanging them up in different locations around your classroom. Have students rotate around the classroom every 30-45 seconds, jotting down what they observe and infer about each image until the entire class has completed the circuit. After the class is back in their seats, have a class discussion based on what they observed and what this says about the specific tribes studied. A great way to get students thinking about the content in a way that's more personal and lecture-less!

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Native Web

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4 to 6
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This site includes a Resource Center which contains a searchable database with hundreds of links concerning Native, Aboriginal, and Indigenous people on all seven continents. Clicking...more
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This site includes a Resource Center which contains a searchable database with hundreds of links concerning Native, Aboriginal, and Indigenous people on all seven continents. Clicking on Education and K-12 leads to a collection of Native American schools where students could send e-mail to ask questions. The section entitled Historical Material on the main menu will be of importance to students.

tag(s): native americans (78)

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Indian Peoples of the Northern Great Plains - Montana State University

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4 to 12
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Created at Montana State University, this site offers archival photos, descriptions, and related information organized around the tribes of the northern great plains. These photos show...more
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Created at Montana State University, this site offers archival photos, descriptions, and related information organized around the tribes of the northern great plains. These photos show tribal customs and activities, and may sometimes be a more accurate portrayal of native American cultures than that commonly available.

tag(s): native americans (78)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a point of reference in searching for primary sources and images of the Native American tribes from the Northwest. These images could easily be used to supplement a unit on the tribes themselves, Westward Expansion, and the tensions between the US government and the various tribes in that region. Useful resource for a US history or government classroom.

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Histories of the First Nations

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4 to 12
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Here's a site that offers concise summaries of several dozen Native American tribes. Each of these in turn links to a far more detailed history of that tribe. This makes ...more
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Here's a site that offers concise summaries of several dozen Native American tribes. Each of these in turn links to a far more detailed history of that tribe. This makes the site suitable for students at many levels, and for many purposes. We wish there were more historical or thematic indexing, but this is still a great resource.

tag(s): native americans (78)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson on a projector. The site has brief blips about many of the Native American tribes that existed pre-colonial America, although it varies in content. There are a lot of interesting details that students will find interesting.

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Camping with the Sioux - Smithsonian Institution

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6 to 12
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This simple, elegant site from the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History offers the diary of Alice Cunningham Fletcher, a 41-year-old American woman who spent an Autumn living and learning...more
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This simple, elegant site from the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History offers the diary of Alice Cunningham Fletcher, a 41-year-old American woman who spent an Autumn living and learning from the Sioux. The site includes her diary, with comments from her contemporaries, as well as numerous photos of the people and territory she was exploring. The site has interesting possibilities for the study of Native Americans, the roles of women in the 19th century, and the use of primary sources in history and research. There is also an extensive bibliography.

tag(s): native americans (78)

In the Classroom

If you have time to do the adapting, there are lots of possibilities in this one.

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American Indians of the Pacific Northwest - University of Washington

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6 to 12
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The University of Washington has created this site to document cultural and historic materials dealing with northwest Native peoples. Segmented by tribal groups, the collection includes...more
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The University of Washington has created this site to document cultural and historic materials dealing with northwest Native peoples. Segmented by tribal groups, the collection includes images and text, as well as search capabilities.

tag(s): native americans (78)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a reference point to search for primary source material concerning Native American tribes of the Northwest. These materials could easily supplement a unit on Native Americans, Westward Expansion, tensions between the US government and the various tribes, etc.

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Untold Stories - Descriptions of the treatment of slaves - New York Times

Grades
6 to 12
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This lesson from the New York Times explores the wide variety of descriptions of the treatment of African American slaves during the nineteenth century. The lesson lets students explore...more
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This lesson from the New York Times explores the wide variety of descriptions of the treatment of African American slaves during the nineteenth century. The lesson lets students explore possible reasons for the variation in the descriptions of slave conditions.

tag(s): africa (180), african american (113), slavery (72)

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Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad

Grades
2 to 4
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Site created by an elementary class to document their study of the underground railroad. ...more
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Site created by an elementary class to document their study of the underground railroad.

tag(s): africa (180), african american (113), underground railroad (11)

In the Classroom

Other elementary teachers may find this useful in their classes.

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