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Benjamin Franklin: An Extaordinary Life, An Electric Mind - PBS

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7 to 12
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Learn about the colorful life and world of Ben Franklin through this series of eight downloadable lesson plans that explore the statesman's many talents and contributions. Topics include...more
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Learn about the colorful life and world of Ben Franklin through this series of eight downloadable lesson plans that explore the statesman's many talents and contributions. Topics include Poor Richard's Almanack, superstition vs. science, volunteerism and citizenship, colonial "broadsides" and almanacs, the art of invention, and more. Aligned to National Standards.

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and activities hosted on this site! This would be a great resource for an early American history class, be sure to save it as a favorite on your computer!
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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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 (196), directions (20), maps (288)

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.

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American history: 8000 Years of Forest Management - Forest History Society and Duke University

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7 to 12
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How do historians piece together details of ancient cultures when no written records exist? This detailed lesson plan introduces students to the process of analyzing artifacts and architecture...more
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How do historians piece together details of ancient cultures when no written records exist? This detailed lesson plan introduces students to the process of analyzing artifacts and architecture to reveal important cultural outlooks and practices. With a specific emphasis on the environmental attitudes of Native Americans, the activities challenge students to assume the roles of historians, anthropologists, archaeologists, and geographers; analyze clues from the past, make inferences based on factual research, and apply their knowledge to the creation of a modern day environmental legend. All materials are provided as downloadable documents. Aligned to National Standards.

tag(s): anthropology (11), architecture (83), native americans (78)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and activities offered on the site! The lessons are all traced back to Standards of Learning, so teachers can rest assured that these are valid activities. Save this site as a favorite, and refer to it when looking for new ways to cover Indigenous Societies or the procurement of historical Evidence. This site could potentially be used in a History, Social Studies or Science classroom.

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Fueling the Fires of Industrialization - Duke University

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6 to 8
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What effect did industrialization have on the American landscape? With an emphasis on the role America's forests played in the growth of business and industry, this lesson plan introduces...more
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What effect did industrialization have on the American landscape? With an emphasis on the role America's forests played in the growth of business and industry, this lesson plan introduces students to the concepts of supply and demand, competition, prices and incentives, and conservation. The scope of the lesson plan expands to encompass today's market and the many household products that are derived from trees. Multiple options for assessment, extension activities, and ideas for interdisciplinary connections are provided. Aligned to National Standards.

tag(s): industrialization (15)

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The Decisive Day is Come - Massachusetts Historical Society

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7 to 12
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Bring the Battle of Bunker Hill to life with the personal accounts and eyewitness descriptions provided on this impressive site. A wonderful collection of maps, drawing, broadsides,...more
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Bring the Battle of Bunker Hill to life with the personal accounts and eyewitness descriptions provided on this impressive site. A wonderful collection of maps, drawing, broadsides, and artifacts from the battlefield are also included. A great research tool that introduces students to the value of primary source information.

tag(s): colonial america (107), massachusetts (10)

In the Classroom

Use the maps and timeline on the interactive projector as supplement to text during an introduction to the American Revolution. The images can be incorporated into a slide show and can help guide students along the events of Bunker Hill. This is a great resource for a US history class.

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Watergate Revisited - Washington Post

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7 to 12
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The unmasking of "deep throat," the shadowy informant in the Watergate saga, has prompted a new wave of interest in the sandal that changed American government forever. This retrospective...more
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The unmasking of "deep throat," the shadowy informant in the Watergate saga, has prompted a new wave of interest in the sandal that changed American government forever. This retrospective from the Washington Post provides not only a current summary, but a review of the original coverage, from the newspaper that broke the story.

tag(s): 1970s (12), water (130)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Have students explore the site with the intentions of creating a summary of the most important events. Have cooperative learning groups create online books using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here. Students can write the book from the perspective of Nixon or Deep throat...a great way to introduce the topic in a non-lecture format.

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Monticello Explorer - Thomas Jefferson Foundation

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7 to 12
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This outstanding site takes visitors on an expansive tour of Jefferson's Monticello. Explore the 5,000 acre plantation with an interactive map, or navigate a three-dimensional recreation...more
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This outstanding site takes visitors on an expansive tour of Jefferson's Monticello. Explore the 5,000 acre plantation with an interactive map, or navigate a three-dimensional recreation of the house and learn about the people and objects that populated its rooms. Captioned videos lead visitors through a house tour and description of domestic life in the historic home. Headphones and a high speed connection are a must.

tag(s): american revolution (86), evolution (100), jefferson (19), virginia (16)

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Discovering Lewis and Clark - VIAs Inc.

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7 to 12
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Capture the excitement and adventure of the Lewis and Clark Expedition with this beautifully crafted and continually evolving multimedia site. Choose one of ten discovery paths and...more
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Capture the excitement and adventure of the Lewis and Clark Expedition with this beautifully crafted and continually evolving multimedia site. Choose one of ten discovery paths and enter the unchartered lands of early 19th century America. Visitors can see and experience the western United States through the eyes of the explorers, learn about the geography, flora and fauna, native peoples, and values and visions that defined their journey. This site has many possibilities for classroom use, but it stands out as an excellent tool for independent student research.

tag(s): jefferson (19), lewis and clark (15), louisiana (11), louisiana purchase (7)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center or station during a unit on the two explorers and western expansion. Based on what they read, have students create a multi-media presentation summarizing the main points. Have students create a presentation using UtellStory, reviewed here. This site allows users to narrate a picture. Challenge students to find a photo (legally permitted to be reproduced), and then narrate the photo as if it is a news report. To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try PhotoPin, reviewed here. Have students report the exploration as though it were a current event, using images from the site or other approved sources.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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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 (147), 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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A Personal Holocaust Remembrance - MSNBC

Grades
7 to 12
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A Michigan teen has produced his own documentary based on first-person interviews with his grandparents about their experiences as holocaust victims. The interviews were the first time...more
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A Michigan teen has produced his own documentary based on first-person interviews with his grandparents about their experiences as holocaust victims. The interviews were the first time they had spoken with a family member about those events. Includes video clips.

tag(s): holocaust (39), nazis (10), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Open this site on the interactive whiteboard or projector to introduce a unit on the Holocaust during a World or US history class. Have students read aloud the information, or summarize the main points yourself before previewing the video in class. This is a great way to make the events of the Holocaust more real and personal.

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History Explorer - Smithsonian

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6 to 12
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This multimedia site explores various facets of American history through Lessons, interactives, Themes and more. Visitors can view objects that are part of the Smithsonian collection,...more
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This multimedia site explores various facets of American history through Lessons, interactives, Themes and more. Visitors can view objects that are part of the Smithsonian collection, navigate between historical eras, or filter the information by selected themes (Arts and Culture, Politics and Reform, etc.) Items in the exhibit are linked to National Museum of American History websites that provide more in-depth information.

tag(s): agriculture (54), american revolution (86), famous people (19), japan (61), japanese (42), jazz (15), lincoln (86), politics (99)

In the Classroom

Use this site as the starting point for individual or group projects. There is enough information in "exhibit" details to provide a starting point for students trying to decide what to base a research project on. Recommend the site to students who are having difficulty picking a project subject.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Child Labor in America - Library of Congress

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7 to 12
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This lesson plan explores child labor in America as an historical and social issue. After assuming the roles of historian, photojournalist, and news reporter, students are asked to...more
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This lesson plan explores child labor in America as an historical and social issue. After assuming the roles of historian, photojournalist, and news reporter, students are asked to critically respond to vintage 19th and 20th century photographs. Links to extensive online resources are provided. Good introduction to historical research using primary sources. Add to a unit on the Industrial Revolution.

tag(s): evolution (100), industrial revolution (25)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plan hosted on this site! Save this one as a favorite on your classroom computer, to allow for easy retrieval later on.

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MoOm: The Museum of Online Museums - Coudal Partners

Grades
6 to 12
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You'll be enlightened, amazed, and even mystified by this eclectic collection of online museums that tout the bizarre, the practical, and the mundane. Interspersed among the "traditional'...more
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You'll be enlightened, amazed, and even mystified by this eclectic collection of online museums that tout the bizarre, the practical, and the mundane. Interspersed among the "traditional' exhibits featuring the likes of Van Gogh and Ansel Adams are those covering a dizzying array of interests and obsessions. Check out the Gallery of Stove Burners, Ephemera Now, or the Museum of Norwegian Manhole Covers (we're not kidding). In addition to making some interesting cultural statements, the exhibits provide great ideas and insights for art and photography students.

tag(s): artists (75), inventors and inventions (101), museums (49), trivia (17)

In the Classroom

Select a display that fits your classroom needs and share it on the interactive whiteboard or projector. A lot of the art displays based on the site focus on creativity and the ingenuous of design, easily motivating students to create their own original art pieces.

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Historical Treasure Chests - Stevens Institute of Technology

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5 to 8
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Personal history, U.S. history, and research combine in this "not-quite-a-WebQuest-but-close" activity. Part I asks students to compare and contrast primary and secondary sources of...more
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Personal history, U.S. history, and research combine in this "not-quite-a-WebQuest-but-close" activity. Part I asks students to compare and contrast primary and secondary sources of information. In Part II, students work in groups to analyze a variety of virtual primary source documents. The extension activities involve students in investigating their family's own "treasure chest" of primary source documents.

tag(s): primary sources (86)

In the Classroom

Save this site as a favorite on classroom computers and use it as a web quest-like activity. The site has an interdisciplinary focus that combines writing with history. Take advantage of this web quest in your classroom!

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Salem - National Geographic

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7 to 9
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What was it like to live in Salem, MA during the infamous Witch Trials? This interactive site places a visitor in the role of a Salem resident who unwittingly finds ...more
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What was it like to live in Salem, MA during the infamous Witch Trials? This interactive site places a visitor in the role of a Salem resident who unwittingly finds herself at the center of the witchcraft hysteria. Will she survive? Enter this chilling online drama and find out. The navigation is a bit awkward throughout the site - look for the scroll bars on each page indicating additional text to the right or below. Much information appears in explanatory "windows" so make sure that pop-ups are not blocked on this site.

tag(s): massachusetts (10), salem (6)

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Interactive Tour of Ellis Island - Scholastic

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6 to 8
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This site gives students a very personal glimpse of the Ellis Island experience through the eyes of the more than 40 million immigrants who passed through its doors. Vintage photographs,...more
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This site gives students a very personal glimpse of the Ellis Island experience through the eyes of the more than 40 million immigrants who passed through its doors. Vintage photographs, videos, and audio interviews document each step of the process, and provide a riveting account of this period in American history. The video takes time to download and uses the Quicktime plug-in. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

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

In the Classroom

On its surface, this site appears to be simply a "virtual tour" of Ellis Island. However, the Teacher's section contains a good deal of information on how to create an on-site, interdisciplinary immigration experience for students. There are tips on content, involving parents, and other aspects of the project. Well worth a look if you're studying this time period or immigration in general.

Use this site as a learning center or station. Open the site on the interactive whiteboard or projector to introduce it to students, before allowing them to explore the site in groups. Note: portions of this site have audio, so be sure to include headphones.

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Salem Witch Trials - Discovery.com

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5 to 8
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Explore the streets of 17th century Salem and uncover the religious, economic, and social issues that contributed to the infamous witch-hunt of 1692. Why did that community accept such...more
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Explore the streets of 17th century Salem and uncover the religious, economic, and social issues that contributed to the infamous witch-hunt of 1692. Why did that community accept such a practice? Watch the six-minute video for some eye-opening answers. Visit the "Teachers' Tip" for ideas on using this resource in your classroom. Links to National Standards are provided.

tag(s): massachusetts (10), salem (6)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an introductory activity during a lesson on the Salem Witch Trials. Have cooperative learning groups read through the information with the intentions of presenting a summary in a multimedia presentation. Have students create a timeline of the events of the trials, as well as those leading up to in the form of a timeline. Do it the old fashioned way, i.e. paper, or an online program such as Xtimeline, (reviewed here). Not only does it focus students on the events, but it helps them get into the practice of creating short, chronological summaries.
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Civil War for Fifth Graders - Radford University

Grades
5 to 7
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It's not the flashiest Civil War site, but if you're looking for a kid-friendly resource, this one won't disappoint you. You'll find a concise, well-written overview of the pivotal...more
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It's not the flashiest Civil War site, but if you're looking for a kid-friendly resource, this one won't disappoint you. You'll find a concise, well-written overview of the pivotal events, people, and places that shaped the War Between the States - perfect for the upper elementary classroom. Older students can use it as a helpful research and review tool.

tag(s): civil war (145), lincoln (86), slavery (72), states (163)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plan ideas and activities in this site. There are printable treasure maps and new "fort Sumter Art." Refer to this site if ever looking for activity ideas in a Civil War unit.

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Painless Guide to the Branches of Government: Judicial Branch - United Learning

Grades
5 to 8
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This nineteen minute streaming video focuses on the judicial branch, but also gives a brief historical overview of legislative and executive responsibilities. Includes a nice summarizing...more
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This nineteen minute streaming video focuses on the judicial branch, but also gives a brief historical overview of legislative and executive responsibilities. Includes a nice summarizing review and video quiz. Display full screen for projection in the classroom or use with headphones in the computer lab.

tag(s): courts (15), supreme court (22)

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The Underground Railroad - National Geographic

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7 to 12
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Follow in the footsteps of a slave on the Underground Railroad, with this riveting site that explores the system that helped many African slaves reach freedom and safety. Begin ...more
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Follow in the footsteps of a slave on the Underground Railroad, with this riveting site that explores the system that helped many African slaves reach freedom and safety. Begin with an interactive, virtual journey from Maryland to Canada, then examine a map of the escape routes and meet many abolitionists and civil rights leaders who played pivotal roles in the journey to freedom.

tag(s): abolition (7), slavery (72), underground railroad (11)

In the Classroom

Use the activity as a learning center or station during a unit on Slavery in the colonies. Introduce the site on the interactive whiteboard before allowing students to complete it in pairs or individually, dependent on the number of classroom computers available. Even if you do not have time to do the entire webquest, the links provide good background information for shorter investigations.
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