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California's Gold Rush - Oakland Museum

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4 to 8
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The Oakland Museum offers this collection of "untold stories" about the gold rush in California. The site includes lesson plans linked to California standards, sections on art; natives...more
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The Oakland Museum offers this collection of "untold stories" about the gold rush in California. The site includes lesson plans linked to California standards, sections on art; natives and immigrants; and more. Lots of possibilities if you're in California, and a great addition to a unit on westward exploration for others.

tag(s): california (27), gold rush (19), native americans (78)

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Google Maps - Google

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1 to 12
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Google Maps gives you live visuals of any location, ideal for planning a trip, picturing the relationship between places, and viewing physical characteristics of almost anywhere in...more
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Google Maps gives you live visuals of any location, ideal for planning a trip, picturing the relationship between places, and viewing physical characteristics of almost anywhere in the world. Type or paste in an address and click "search maps." If you click Satellite or hybrid versions of the map, you will see actual satellite images of the terrain. Zoom in and out, use the street view "orange man" to walk among the buildings and trees, or plan and share a route easily with Google Maps. Using your (free) Google membership allows you to save favorite places and more. Find businesses and other features near a specific map location: hotels, restaurants, schools, parks, and more. Google Maps has become more and more sophisticated, now offering many features previously only available in Google Earth, such as opening and/or saving placemarker files. Unlike Google Earth, Google Maps does not require software installation and does not use as much bandwidth for constant reloading. You can even play a tour of places you mark in Google Maps. They just keep adding more features! Google Maps is available as a free app for Android and iOS, too. The handy embed codes let you put any Google Map in a web page, blog, or wiki. Of course you do not need a membership or any special skills to simply SEE, share, or navigate a map. Membership gives you more ways to save.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (173), directions (18), maps (292)

In the Classroom

If you teach geography, this one's a must. It is also helpful for showing students WHERE a story or news event takes place. In lower grades, use it to show students basics of their community. Teach map skills by showing students their own community. Zoom in on their street or on the school. This site and its more sophisticated cousin, Google Earth, are great on an interactive whiteboard. Set up a class Google account (or use student accounts if permitted). Have students create their own custom route plans to tour historic sites. Challenge math students to plan the most economical route to visit several vacation destinations, including gas mileage and gas prices. Have students create placemarker files of the important places in the life of a famous person or the route traveled by a particular unit during the Civil War. Have student groups create placemarker files to show environmental sites, habitats, landforms, or anything you can place on a map. Embed projects in a class wiki using the handy embed code offered as a sharing option. Not comfortable with wikis? Check out TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through.

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Distant Cousins - EDSITEment

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3 to 5
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Learn about life in colonial America and compare everyday life in two different 18th century colonies - one in Delaware and one in Massachusetts. This lesson brings students in contact...more
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Learn about life in colonial America and compare everyday life in two different 18th century colonies - one in Delaware and one in Massachusetts. This lesson brings students in contact with artifacts from the thirteen original colonies, takes them to some outstanding interactive Web sites for background information, and asks them to write letters from the point of view of the colonists in each location. Downloadable worksheets provided. Aligned to National Standards.

tag(s): colonial america (106), massachusetts (10)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plan offered by EDSITEment! This would be a great lesson for an American HIstory course - there are even options to extend the lesson.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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The First Amendment: What's Fair in a Free Country? - National Endowment for the Humanities

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3 to 6
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The cherished right of Freedom of Speech is carefully analyzed in this thoughtful unit plan that illustrates the delicate balance between rights and responsibilities in a free society....more
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The cherished right of Freedom of Speech is carefully analyzed in this thoughtful unit plan that illustrates the delicate balance between rights and responsibilities in a free society. A series of six lessons guides upper elementary students through an authentic scenario in which the expressive rights of individuals are in question, provides connections to constitutional interpretations, and analyzes related Supreme Court cases. Aligned to Standards.

tag(s): bill of rights (29), freedom of speech (11), speech (92)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of this free lesson plan about the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights! To help ELL students, share the vocabulary with them beforehand OR make and print out easy to understand definitions of words that these students may have trouble with. Be sure to save this site as a favorite to allow for easy retrieval later on.

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Where I Come From - National Endowment for the Humanities

Grades
3 to 5
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Using the traditional family tree activity as a springboard, this lesson plan takes students on a virtual journey across the planet to visit their ancestral homelands. In the process...more
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Using the traditional family tree activity as a springboard, this lesson plan takes students on a virtual journey across the planet to visit their ancestral homelands. In the process of connecting with their heritage, students practice map-reading skills, learn about geographic regions and cultures, and investigate the current events in that part of the world.

tag(s): cultures (108), immigration (59), migration (59)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plan hosted on this site! This would be a great lesson to use before a unit focused on immigration to the United States. Be sure to save this site as a favorite to allow for easy retrieval later on!

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Memorial Day Activities - David Merchant

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3 to 8
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This nice collection of activities and puzzles - some printable and some interactive - teaches and reinforces the history and meaning behind Memorial Day celebrations. Choose from a...more
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This nice collection of activities and puzzles - some printable and some interactive - teaches and reinforces the history and meaning behind Memorial Day celebrations. Choose from a variety of formats and difficulty levels.

tag(s): holidays (151), memorial day (13)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and activities on this site! There are also some practice quizzes and puzzles that would be fun ways to assess students, or have them use the tools to help review the content.

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Harriet Tubman - Pocantico Hills School

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2 to 3
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A group of second grade students in Sleepy Hollow, New York assembled this impressive collection of information about Harriet Tubman and her work on the Underground Railroad. You'll...more
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A group of second grade students in Sleepy Hollow, New York assembled this impressive collection of information about Harriet Tubman and her work on the Underground Railroad. You'll find an illustrated "slide-show" timeline, original poetry, crossword puzzles, quizzes, and an interactive "Vocabulary Quilt" that's worth the visit. Use these student-designed activities with your own students or challenge them to create their own Underground Railroad resource.

tag(s): africa (172), african american (112), slavery (71), underground railroad (12)

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You are the Archaeologist - Association for Preservation of Virginia Antiquities

Grades
4 to 7
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Become a virtual archaeologist and help excavate a site in Jamestown Virginia to reconstruct the life and culture of colonial America. After spending some time in the "field" unearthing...more
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Become a virtual archaeologist and help excavate a site in Jamestown Virginia to reconstruct the life and culture of colonial America. After spending some time in the "field" unearthing artifacts, visitors can enter the virtual lab and begin to catalog and analyze the objects. Students are challenged to identify and determine the approximate ages of the artifacts, while strengthening creative problem-solving skills. Another virtual activity on the site guides budding archaeologists through the historical recreation of a 17th century structure from a single posthole.

tag(s): jamestown (10), virginia (16)

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Place the State - Sheppard Software

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4 to 8
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Drag each state to its correct position on the map. This interactive game keeps track of "average miles of error" and challenges students to learn more about names and locations ...more
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Drag each state to its correct position on the map. This interactive game keeps track of "average miles of error" and challenges students to learn more about names and locations of states. No hints are provided.This site requires FLASH.

tag(s): states (165)

In the Classroom

What a great way to have students know American geography better than physically moving the states in their places? Introduce this site on the interactive whiteboard before allowing cooperative learning groups to complete the activity on classroom computers. Have a class challenge as students try and compete to see which group can get the lowest average error mileage. This would be a great refresher before a US history class (particularly before a unit on the Civil War where state geography is important) or during a Geography class first learning the basics!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Tradesmen in Colonial America - Pocantico Hills School

Grades
3 to 5
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This well-organized, easy-to-read site - created for kids, by kids - presents simple and informative summaries of the trades and tradesmen who lived and worked in early America. Includes...more
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This well-organized, easy-to-read site - created for kids, by kids - presents simple and informative summaries of the trades and tradesmen who lived and worked in early America. Includes a selection of printable, "pencil and paper" activities to try, and links to related books and online sources.

tag(s): colonial america (106)

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How Everyday Things are Made - Stanford University

Grades
4 to 8
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Take the art of problem-solving to a new level with this intriguing site that gives students a front-row seat in the manufacturing process. Ever wonder how jelly bean are made ...more
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Take the art of problem-solving to a new level with this intriguing site that gives students a front-row seat in the manufacturing process. Ever wonder how jelly bean are made or how they get those "M's" on the "M&M's?" What about jumbo jets or denim jeans? Click directly on a product of interest, view and respond to the "Think About it" questions, read the responses of others, then watch a narrated video. "Apply it" questions, which follow each video, require students to use reasoning skills as they formulate responses based on what they've just learned. A great tool for teaching sequencing!

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American Indian FAQ's for Kids

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4 to 7
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Although this informational site is heavy on text, it is filled with answers to many questions that kids typically ask about Native Americans. Design a simple scavenger hunt around...more
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Although this informational site is heavy on text, it is filled with answers to many questions that kids typically ask about Native Americans. Design a simple scavenger hunt around the site, or use as a reference for student research. Easy-to-navigate Q & A format.

tag(s): cultures (108), india (35), native americans (78)

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Outline Maps

Grades
4 to 7
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This great collection of black and white, printer-friendly outline maps represent every continent, many countries, various regions of the United States. American historical maps - showing...more
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This great collection of black and white, printer-friendly outline maps represent every continent, many countries, various regions of the United States. American historical maps - showing the Lewis and Clarke routes, the original thirteen colonies, etc. - are also included. Each map is available with or without labels and royalty free for classroom and personal use. Requires Acrobat Reader.

tag(s): maps (292), states (165)

In the Classroom

Use the maps on this site as an introductory activity for any and all history units that correspond with geography. Use the blank maps as formative assessments to determine what students already know about the spacial context of the events being studied. After the unit is over have students fill out the blank maps again to assess how much they learned over the course of the unit. Save this one as a favorite on your classroom computer!
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Apollo 11 - 35 Years Later - NASA

Grades
4 to 12
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It's July 20, 1969 and millions of Americans are glued to their television watching Neil Armstrong take that first historic step on the surface of the moon. This multimedia NASA ...more
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It's July 20, 1969 and millions of Americans are glued to their television watching Neil Armstrong take that first historic step on the surface of the moon. This multimedia NASA site recreates that Apollo 11 mission, from its launch to its splashdown. Students can view vintage photographs, listen to the mission's audio recording, browse news articles, and tour the video gallery.

tag(s): moon (72)

In the Classroom

Use the video clips over the interactive whiteboard to supplement the text in discussing the Apollo missions. The clip of the first landing would be a great way to introduce the topic, putting all students at the same level of understanding before beginning a lecture or class discussion. Great resource for a US history classroom!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Gold Rush - PBS

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4 to 8
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This kid-friendly site takes students on an unforgettable journey with the "forty-niners" as they leave their homes and families to seek their fortunes in California. The resource explains...more
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This kid-friendly site takes students on an unforgettable journey with the "forty-niners" as they leave their homes and families to seek their fortunes in California. The resource explains the sweeping gold fever of 19th century America and introduces some famous people - like Levi Strauss and Phillip Armour - whose lives were forever changed by the event. A helpful guide for teachers provides useful tips on using this site in class.

tag(s): california (27), gold rush (19)

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Separate is Not Equal - National Museum of American History

Grades
4 to 12
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The 50th anniversary of the historic Brown vs. the Board of Education decision is commemorated in this site that traces the history of segregation, the battle for education, and the...more
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The 50th anniversary of the historic Brown vs. the Board of Education decision is commemorated in this site that traces the history of segregation, the battle for education, and the events leading to the Supreme Court decision. Visit the teacher's guide (click on Resources) to find downloadable unit and lesson plans (aligned to national standards) which address the time period from Reconstruction to the Civil Rights movement. Teacher briefing sheets and student handouts are included - in fact, nearly everything required for an engaging and purposeful learning experience is there! This site is an online companion to a Smithsonian National Museum of American History exhibit. If you can't take your students to Washington, take them to the computer lab or project this site in class, and spend some time with this outstanding resource.

tag(s): africa (172), african american (112), segregation (16)

In the Classroom

Access the section on the homesite entitled "resources." On that page there is a section entitled "Teacher Guide," which has an abundance of free lesson plans that range topics of segregation, racism, and the civil rights movement. Take advantage of the guides and use them to address the more difficult subjects of race in recent American History.

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Civil War Through a Child's Eye - Library of Congress

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4 to 8
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This lesson plan from the Library of Congress helps students develop an understanding of the Civil War as they study primary sources and works of historical fiction. Students begin...more
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This lesson plan from the Library of Congress helps students develop an understanding of the Civil War as they study primary sources and works of historical fiction. Students begin by viewing a multimedia slide show, then examine and interpret photographs of Civil War-era children. Finally, students are asked to read several literary selections, and discuss the various war-time perspectives that are represented. A well-organized teacher's guide, links to on-line resources, and complete lesson plans aligned to national standards are provided.

tag(s): civil war (142)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of this free lesson plan offered by the Library of Congress. The lesson plan has a nice interdisciplinary twist, so it could be utilized in either an English or History class.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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h.i.p. Pocket Change - US Mint

Grades
1 to 6
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This outstanding, incredibly creative site is truly a "treasure" for elementary classroom teachers! Information about coins, the U.S. Mint, and American history are presented in a...more
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This outstanding, incredibly creative site is truly a "treasure" for elementary classroom teachers! Information about coins, the U.S. Mint, and American history are presented in a fun and interactive format with many choices for visitors! For teachers, there are extensive resources including lesson and unit plans, an on-line community for idea-sharing, and a large selection of project ideas for the classroom. Students can follow links to games and interactive cartoons, step into a time machine (coin operated, of course) to learn about significant coin-related events in our nation's history, and join Camp Coin - an online camp where kids can learn about coin collecting. The site also includes information on National Coin Week (did you know there was one?), the new nickel, and the coin of the month.

tag(s): coins (6), money (181)

In the Classroom

Save this site as a favorite on classroom computers and use it as a learning center or station! There are word games, time machines, and art projects that can all be done on this site. Some of the games can also be printed out if that technique works better in your classroom. This is an excellent site to accompany any unit on currency or the Treasury Department in the United States.
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Building a Sod House - National Museum of American History

Grades
2 to 5
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Visitors to this on-line activity are immediately engaged by the scenario. "Imagine that you're a settler on the open prairie." Using logic, background knowledge, and a few helpful...more
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Visitors to this on-line activity are immediately engaged by the scenario. "Imagine that you're a settler on the open prairie." Using logic, background knowledge, and a few helpful hints, students are challenged to construct a virtual sod house. After the successful construction, students become "darkroom detectives" as they analyze historic photographs and reconstruct the sights, smells, and feel of life in a house on the prairie more than a century ago.

tag(s): air (146), homes (11), prairie (10)

In the Classroom

Save this site as a favorite and use it as a class activity on the interactive whiteboard OR as a learning center or station. It doesn't take too long, but it is a great review tool of how settlers picked their homesteads and why location was so important. This would be a great resource in an American history class.

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Our Story in History - National Museum of American History

Grades
2 to 6
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This small but creative collection of activities spans a diverse range of topics from American history and taps into the imaginative minds of elementary students. Visit the "Try It...more
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This small but creative collection of activities spans a diverse range of topics from American history and taps into the imaginative minds of elementary students. Visit the "Try It At Home" section to learn about great women of the past, WWII Japanese interment camps, or slave life and the Underground Railroad. Each topic includes background information, links to related children's literature, and ideas for hands-on activities. The "Try it On-Line" section provides interactive activities that immerse students in creating Native American buffalo hide paintings, building a sod home, and looking at life through the eyes of an historian.

tag(s): underground railroad (12), women (94), world war 2 (141)

In the Classroom

Save this site as a favorite and use it as a learning center or station during a US history class!

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