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Interactive Tour of Ellis Island - Scholastic

Grades
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 (57), migration (58)

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.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Civil War for Fifth Graders - Radford University

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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 (71), 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

Grades
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 (71), 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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Slavery and the Making of America - WNET

Grades
7 to 12
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Follow the development of slavery in America from its beginning in 1619 to Reconstruction. This companion site to a PBS special examines the climate in which the institution existed...more
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Follow the development of slavery in America from its beginning in 1619 to Reconstruction. This companion site to a PBS special examines the climate in which the institution existed and brings some very human, very compelling stories to light. Features include historical essays and personal narratives, primary source documents, sound files depicting the music in slave life, an interactive time line, and audio recordings of interviews with former slaves.

tag(s): africa (178), african american (113), slavery (71)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and activities hosted on this site within "K-12 Learning." Save this site as a favorite to allow for easy retrieval for a unit on Slavery leading up to the Civil War.

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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 (11), 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 (163)

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!
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Declaration of Independence - National Archives

Grades
7 to 12
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The National Archives has created an intriguing site that reveals some little known information about this historic document. Discover the number of signers who were born in Europe,...more
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The National Archives has created an intriguing site that reveals some little known information about this historic document. Discover the number of signers who were born in Europe, meet the signer who was a musician, and find out who was the youngest at the time of the signing. A special feature allows you to add your own signature to the document. Also includes a time line detailing the creation of the document.

tag(s): american revolution (88), declaration of independence (13), evolution (102)

In the Classroom

Use the "Meet the founding fathers" section as the basis of character roles for a in-class town hall meeting, recreating the events of the constitutional convention. Assign students different roles, i.e. founding fathers, and have them use the biographies of this site to allow them to research who their role was and what their beliefs were for a debate as to whether or not to sign the Declaration of Independence. If students stick to their assigned perspectives, the town-hall meeting can be a great way to review the important reasons for independence and the various perspectives that existed.
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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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Price of Freedom - Americans at War - National Museum of American History

Grades
7 to 12
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American military conflicts, from the War of Independence to the War in Iraq, are presented in this beautifully designed multimedia exhibit that examines their effect on American society...more
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American military conflicts, from the War of Independence to the War in Iraq, are presented in this beautifully designed multimedia exhibit that examines their effect on American society and our nation's history. Click on the interactive time line to access movies, photographs, artifacts, and text that provide succinct and riveting overviews of each conflict. This site would make an excellent independent computer lab activity. To enhance the experience, develop some essential questions and a "road map" to guide your students - then turn them loose. Downloadable teacher's manual available.

tag(s): civil war (145), vietnam (36), world war 2 (141)

In the Classroom

Share this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector as an introduction to this unit or as review. The site hosts vast amounts of information about almost every major American conflict in exhibit form. Go through the exhibits with students through out the lecture as the images are of high quality and can supplement the lecture being given. This site also has valuable information for students working on research projects or papers. If thats the case, save this site as a favorite and refer students with questions to it.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Thanksgiving Clip Art - kidsdomain

Grades
1 to 8
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Use this small but good-quality collection of free seasonal clip art to spice up your classroom worksheets and handouts. Can be used in school publications and on Web pages. ...more
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Use this small but good-quality collection of free seasonal clip art to spice up your classroom worksheets and handouts. Can be used in school publications and on Web pages.

tag(s): clip art (10), images (277), thanksgiving (37)

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American Indian FAQ's for Kids

Grades
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 (107), india (36), 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 (291), states (163)

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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The War of 1812 - History Channel

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7 to 12
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This companion site to a History Channel special provides some outstanding background information and multimedia presentations documenting the complex and tragic events of the War of...more
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This companion site to a History Channel special provides some outstanding background information and multimedia presentations documenting the complex and tragic events of the War of 1812. Even if you don't view the program, the video clips, timelines, lists of key players, and connections to the world news of the day are worth investigating.

tag(s): pennsylvania (6), war of 1812 (15)

In the Classroom

Open this site on the interactive whiteboard or projector to access some of the extremely informative videos that are offered about the War of 1812. The videos take several different perspectives, some from James Madison, the British, or from the eye of a historian. Select one of the videos and watch it with the class - although we highly recommend creating a follow along to accompany it.

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Viking Quest - BBC

Grades
6 to 8
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Take your student to the computer lab, bring out the headphones, and take a virtual field trip to the year AD 793. This interactive multimedia game places students in the ...more
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Take your student to the computer lab, bring out the headphones, and take a virtual field trip to the year AD 793. This interactive multimedia game places students in the role of planning and executing a Viking voyage. Players must build a ship, hire crew members, cross the seas, loot a monastery, and return home safely. A great site for teaching history as well as problem-solving skills. This sites requires FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): vikings (10)

In the Classroom

Use this online challenge as a learning center or station during a unit on the Vikings. The interactive game would be a great way to help students review in addition to expanding upon that knowledge base. Every world History teacher will love this one.
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Vote: The Machinery of Democracy - Smithsonian

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7 to 12
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Voting methods in the United States are examined in this beautifully designed on-line exhibit created by the Museum of American History. The varied practices within individual states...more
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Voting methods in the United States are examined in this beautifully designed on-line exhibit created by the Museum of American History. The varied practices within individual states are explored as well as the historical evolution of our ballots and voting systems. Use this site to help students understand the Florida 2000 crisis, as well as the role technology and innovation have played in shaping our experiences at the polls. Although this resource was created for the 2000 election, the background information is valuable for teaching about elections in general and for comparing elections as part of U.S. history. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): college (47), elections (76), electoral college (16)

In the Classroom

Use the interactive exhibition portion of this site as a learning center or station during a unit on the US election process. (extra bonus if your class is specifically studying the 2000 election!)Have cooperative learning groups create podcasts demonstrating their understanding of one of the concepts. Use a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).
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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 (74)

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!
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Alexander Hamilton: The Man Who Made Modern America - NY Historical Society

Grades
7 to 12
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He's more than just a pretty face on the $10 bill! Alexander Hamilton's life and influence are examined in this site that presents a timeline of events during and after ...more
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He's more than just a pretty face on the $10 bill! Alexander Hamilton's life and influence are examined in this site that presents a timeline of events during and after his life, highlights from his writings, and a biographical gallery of his peers. Visitors can even test their knowledge of his life and accomplishments with a twenty-question interactive quiz. This is probably more information than your students need to know about Mr. Hamilton, but the site provides a unique approach to understanding some significant events in American history.

tag(s): constitution (82)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a introductory activity for a lesson on the founding fathers. Introduce this site on the interactive whiteboard or projector before allowing students to explore it on their own. We recommend creating a graphic organizer or follow-along for the website to insure students are getting the most out of it. What is great about it is that it provides students with a lot of historical and biographical information about Hamilton. This would be a great resource for a US history or Civics class.

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They Made America - WGBH

Grades
7 to 12
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Although this is a companion site to a PBS mini-series airing in November 2004, the content easily stands alone. Students can investigate the stories of influential "great minds" whose...more
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Although this is a companion site to a PBS mini-series airing in November 2004, the content easily stands alone. Students can investigate the stories of influential "great minds" whose entrepreneurial spirits dramatically affected American industry and culture and then play an NCAA-style "tournament" to isolate the most influential innovator. Information can be accessed via an index, an interactive map of the United States, or a timeline which juxtaposes American innovations and major events in history.

tag(s): inventors and inventions (95), scientists (69)

In the Classroom

Use the free lesson plans and activities offered on this site! Use this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge as you start your study of the Invention Era. This would be helpful for a a US history class.
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