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Collapse: Why Do Civilizations Fail? - Annenberg Media

Grades
6 to 12
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This site looks at the collapse of several ancient civilizations and suggests why these civilizations did not last. The text is easy to read and is highlighted by learning ...more
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This site looks at the collapse of several ancient civilizations and suggests why these civilizations did not last. The text is easy to read and is highlighted by learning activities and games that illustrate the issues under discussion. Featured civilizations include the Maya, Mesopotamia, the Anasazi of North America and the West African societies of Mali and Songhai. The strength of this site is its suggestion that there are commonalities that help us understand the collapse of a society. There are web links to further resources, and a summary featuring Percy Shelley's poem "Ozymandias", a nice literary connection. There are "hands on" activities scattered throughout, many including cross-curricular links to science or literature.

tag(s): gifted (92), mayans (13), mesopotamia (6), nasa (39)

In the Classroom

This site gives good concrete information, but its real power is in the greater consideration of the rise and fall of civilizations through history. This is a VERY thought-provoking collection of resources. Teachers interested in tying this discussion to current events might discuss the future of civilization in Iraq considering the criteria for maintaining a society given in this site. Use this site as a learning center or station during a unit on ancient civilizations' collapse. This site could be specifically tailored to teach about Mesoamerican cultures as three of the 4 ancient civilizations were located in South America. To make that simpler, we recommend creating a guide for students through a website such as Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here). This would be a great resource for a World History classroom! Teachers of gifted could also use this site as the basis for a great social studies unit. If you own the old favorite computer game Civilization, you could put together some scenarios using that, as well.

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The American Experience: Remember the Alamo - PBS

Grades
6 to 12
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Another great PBS site, this one focused on the history of Texas statehood and the battle at the Alamo. There are interviews, a timeline, and a nifty interactive map ...more
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Another great PBS site, this one focused on the history of Texas statehood and the battle at the Alamo. There are interviews, a timeline, and a nifty interactive map of the early history of Texas. The Alamo has become one of those myths that have contributed to our sense of American history, and a dose of reality about the event is important. For example, there were survivors of the battle, and some of their stories are told here.

tag(s): texas (4)

In the Classroom

The included lesson plans may focus too much on the standard "watch the film, and discuss" format, but there is a nice plan that asks students to compare several different rallying cries from American history ("Remember Pearl Harbor," "I have not yet begun to fight," "Don't shoot until you see the whites of their eyes," and "Remember the Maine") that could provide a nice overview of how society comes to embrace a war as a patriotic duty.
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NOVA Wings of Madness - PBS

Grades
6 to 12
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From a recent PBS Nova episode, this site deals with the early efforts of pioneer aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont. Santos-Dumont had the revolutionary idea that enabling humans to fly...more
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From a recent PBS Nova episode, this site deals with the early efforts of pioneer aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont. Santos-Dumont had the revolutionary idea that enabling humans to fly would contribute to world peace, because people would experience a new, more pure, perspective on the world from above. A contemporary of the Wright Brothers, Santos-Dumont's designs influenced modern "ultralight" planes of today. The site includes biographical information about Santos-Dumont and a very nice slideshow of failed airplane designs. There is an interactive view of one of Santos-Dumont's planes showing its features. Under the teacher's guide, a classroom activity provides plans for various forms of paper airplanes illustrating principles of aerodynamics.

tag(s): air (151), aviation (39)

In the Classroom

Flying has always fascinated us, and flying failures are sometimes more interesting than successes. Students will know all about the Wright Brothers; they are unlikely to have heard of Alberto Santos-Dumont. The interactives are terrific and the paper airplanes would make a good hands-on activity. The readings about Santos-Dumont would also make good selections for a reading teacher trying to find motivating readings to teach comprehension strategies.
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Milestones of Flight - Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Grades
6 to 12
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From the Smithsonian, the site is simple: it is a chronological timeline of the history of flight. Each point on the timeline links to a full page description ...more
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From the Smithsonian, the site is simple: it is a chronological timeline of the history of flight. Each point on the timeline links to a full page description of the craft (plane or spaceship) with photographs.

tag(s): aviation (39), space (218)

In the Classroom

Sometimes you need complexity, but sometimes you just need a simple set of graphics. This site is the latter, but it does it so well! The timeline is marked by thumbnail pictures of each flying machine. Clicking on the machine brings you to a complete desciption of the craft and its significance. Of course this is part of the complete National Air and Space Museum site which is crammed full of interesting stuff. But this section cuts to the chase: what machines flew and when?

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American Experience The Gold Rush - PBS

Grades
6 to 12
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From a PBS American Experience episode on the Gold Rush, this site includes a good timeline for the Gold Rush, transcripts of interviews concerning the immigrant contribution to settling...more
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From a PBS American Experience episode on the Gold Rush, this site includes a good timeline for the Gold Rush, transcripts of interviews concerning the immigrant contribution to settling California and pursing gold, lesson plans focused on history, economics, geography and civics. There is a nice Flash-powered simulation game in which students can choose a character to navigate the rigors of the Gold Rush. Characters include a Chinese immigrant and a woman.

tag(s): california (27), civil war (145), gold rush (19), immigration (58), lincoln (86), migration (59)

In the Classroom

The Gold Rush era in American history usually gets folded into a discussion of immigration or western expansion. The timeline helps put the discussion into a broader context that includes the Civil War. The simulation game would be a good extension activity for students who master material more quickly, or for students to do at home.
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American Indian Heritage Month - U.S. Department of Defense

Grades
5 to 12
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This Native American website is bursting with rich history about Native American culture and the many contributions it has made to our country and the world. Users will find ...more
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This Native American website is bursting with rich history about Native American culture and the many contributions it has made to our country and the world. Users will find topics related to Native American contributors such as Sacagawea, the first Native American astronaut, Code Talkers and the Iwo Jima Flag Raiser. This site goes above and beyond utilization for Native American History Month. It is a tool that can be used all year.

tag(s): india (37), native americans (78)

In the Classroom

The site could be used for a web quest or link for research project. The photos would be great on a projector during lesson presentation/discussion. Can be used in either FLASH or HTML versions. Keep this link on your teacher web page during your unit on indigenous peoples so students can try some recipes at home, as well!
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Native American Nations - Lisa Mitten

Grades
3 to 12
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Find Native American nations' own sites and information in this alphabetical index by tribe(with notes as to most recent updates). ...more
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Find Native American nations' own sites and information in this alphabetical index by tribe(with notes as to most recent updates).

In the Classroom

Use this site as a resource for research papers and projects. Students can search for information about specific tribes or for information that the tribes themselves have put forward. This would be a great resource for a US history class.

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History of the Cherokee - Ken Martin and others

Grades
4 to 12
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This straightforward informational site provides history and images of the Cherokee nation, including important figures, Cherokee law, maps, and events from before European settlers...more
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This straightforward informational site provides history and images of the Cherokee nation, including important figures, Cherokee law, maps, and events from before European settlers until now. The site creator is himself a mixed blood Cherokee.

In the Classroom

Steer clear of the genealogy links. They are either selling something or they do not work. This is a great site for basic background information, such as you could seek with a scavenger hunt.

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Native Tech: Native American Technology and Art - Tara Prindle

Grades
3 to 12
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This site features art and cultural information of native Americans, focusing especially on the Eastern Woodlands region. There is information on , Birds & Feathers, Clay & Pottery,...more
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This site features art and cultural information of native Americans, focusing especially on the Eastern Woodlands region. There is information on , Birds & Feathers, Clay & Pottery, Leather & Clothes, Metalwork, Plants & Trees, Porcupine Quills, Stonework & Tools, and Weaving & Cordage. Some of the text passages may be a bit lengthy, but there are also interactive ways for students to get a "hands on" feel, such as with the beadwork interactive game. The sections under Special Features are certain to make the culture come alive for elementary and middle school students.

In the Classroom

Give students a scavenger hunt to learn the basics about the culture you are studying, then allow them to try some of the interactive games, ass based on the content of the site. This would be a great way to build background knowledge while studying American history or literature that deals with Native Americans.

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Indigenous Peoples Literature - Glenn Welker

Grades
4 to 12
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This site is a wealth of resources on indigenous peoples of the Americas, including both North and South America. You can find poetry, artwork, daily wisdom, information about languages...more
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This site is a wealth of resources on indigenous peoples of the Americas, including both North and South America. You can find poetry, artwork, daily wisdom, information about languages and leaders, and much more. Be sure to scroll down within the frame set or you will miss most of the content. The maps of the native languages are especially interesting if you teach about westward expansion in the U.S. This site would also provide excellent background for reading of any literature about life among the native Americans, such as A Light in the Forest.

In the Classroom

Use this site to build background knowledge and understanding as part of literature, social studies, or art units. Share portions on a projector.There are times when the frame set of the site is annoying. If it gets in your way, go back on click and RIGHT click on the link you want, choosing "open in new window" to escape the box!

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Yahooligans News - Yahoo

Grades
2 to 8
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Children see the latest news stories (Sports, Entertainment, Top Stories, Animals, Science and Nature, and Grab Bag) organized into slide slows so there is minimal reading and a new...more
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Children see the latest news stories (Sports, Entertainment, Top Stories, Animals, Science and Nature, and Grab Bag) organized into slide slows so there is minimal reading and a new photo for each focus item. In addition, there is another link to the most important story, for a recent movie, and an opportunity for children to vote on a news question.

tag(s): movies (72), news (265)

In the Classroom

Share a current events story on a projector or interactive whiteboard as a day-starter while children trickle in from the bus. Note: if you send students to this site on their own, they may be distracted by numerous "fun" offerings from Yahooligans (music videos, celebrity info, etc). You may want to give them specific guidleines about where they are permitted to go.
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The First Thanksgiving - Scholastic

Grades
2 to 8
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This informative and interactive website introduces students to the first Thanksgiving. The three main areas of this site include "Voyage of the Mayflower", "Daily Life" and "The Thanksgiving...more
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This informative and interactive website introduces students to the first Thanksgiving. The three main areas of this site include "Voyage of the Mayflower", "Daily Life" and "The Thanksgiving Feast". There are video and audio clips, compare/contrast activities and more. This site required FLASH.

tag(s): pilgrims (17), thanksgiving (37)

In the Classroom

Get an interactive whiteboard and take your students back to the 1600s! Teachers can utilize the comparing and contrasting activities to help their students have a better understanding of the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags. Check out the "For Teachers" section of this site, Scholastic will be providing a detailed teaching guide in November 2006.
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Not For Ourselves Alone - PBS

Grades
6 to 12
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Here you will find a PBS site connected to a Ken Burns film about Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony which contains some very nice resources on the women's ...more
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Here you will find a PBS site connected to a Ken Burns film about Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony which contains some very nice resources on the women's movement. Scroll to the bottom and view the menu item for Resources. Explore the Resource section which has lesson plans, primary documents, a photo gallery, and biographical information.

tag(s): biographies (90), women (92), womens suffrage (26)

In the Classroom

If you're looking for one site on the early women's movement or the women's suffrage movement, this one may do it. Take advantage of the lesson plans and resources therein. Once students know the history of the early women's movement, brainstorm more current information about women's rights and the women involved that could be included on this page. Have students or groups collect ideas and findings using Dotstorming, reviewed here. Dotstorming will allow students to include video, images, text, audio, voting & a chat box.
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Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling - Bernard R. Robin, Ph.D.

Grades
5 to 12
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A fantastic and complete site that tells you all you need to know about making digital stories with students. The wide grade level range shows the versatility of the site ...more
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A fantastic and complete site that tells you all you need to know about making digital stories with students. The wide grade level range shows the versatility of the site for use with any student based upon his readiness to tell stories. The site includes everything from goals to resources to the step-by-step process used to create the stories. An example is also shown. Adobe Acrobat is necessary to see some examples.

tag(s): authors (121), digital storytelling (153)

In the Classroom

Fabulous for use with any subject that can be turned into a story. This is especially good for author projects, history reports, and adaptations of stories. It can be used by teachers from intermediate grades through college, depending on the topic, need, and abilities of the students. Be sure to explore the many links to see how other schools and students have used digital storytelling.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Mark's Guide to Whose Line is it Anyway

Grades
7 to 12
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This site has an A-Z listing of all the games played on the popular TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway? as played in the original show in Great Britain ...more
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This site has an A-Z listing of all the games played on the popular TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway? as played in the original show in Great Britain and the American version hosted by Drew Carey. For the simplest games, there is just a description. For the ones that need further explanation, there are links to click on and a sample shows as the game was played with the actual script as it happened.

tag(s): literature (274)

In the Classroom

This can be a great lesson starter, particularly on those dreary days when kids don't want to work. For lower level kids, it is a brain exercise for such things as the alphabet game (which is more difficult than it first seems!). For higher level kids, you can substitute characters from literature with a situation from the story itself or from history with imaginative "what if" dialogue for actual events.

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Drama Teachers Exercise - online bulletin board

Grades
6 to 12
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What makes this a good site is the variety of ideas presented. The site has ideas contributed by many. All of the exercises given are tried-and-true teacher ideas. These exercises ...more
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What makes this a good site is the variety of ideas presented. The site has ideas contributed by many. All of the exercises given are tried-and-true teacher ideas. These exercises have worked effectively with students, not only to teach acting, but also to focus them on other lessons. I particularly like the one on Shakespeare.

tag(s): literature (274)

In the Classroom

While this is a plain site with lesson ideas, it is full of possibilities for lessons in any subject; it is particularly easy to adapt to literature and social studies lessons. It incorporates creative dramatics and improvisation with analysis of text or events. Insert your own unit into it and it can create enthusiasm for an otherwise dull topic or text.

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Dust Bowl Memories - Lyndon and Barbara Irwin

Grades
4 to 8
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This powerful WebQuest takes students back to the "Dust Bowl". Research, pictures and videos are provided. The final tasks include an interview, writing an original "tall tale," and...more
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This powerful WebQuest takes students back to the "Dust Bowl". Research, pictures and videos are provided. The final tasks include an interview, writing an original "tall tale," and creating a PowerPoint presentation. Quicktime is required for the video clips. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): agriculture (57), great depression (26)

In the Classroom

To provide something new and get students interested, consider having them use a tool like Google Docs, reviewed here
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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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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Comments

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.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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