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Election 2004: Hot-button Campaign Issues - NPR

Grades
9 to 12
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Although this resource was created for the 2004 Presidential Election, the background information is valuable for teaching about elections in general and for comparing elections as...more
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Although this resource was created for the 2004 Presidential Election, the background information is valuable for teaching about elections in general and for comparing elections as part of U.S. history. Encourage your students to examine and discuss the key issues that are driving candidates in the 2004 Presidential Election. This site includes National Public Radio audio files, links to NPR stories, and overviews of many topics from health care and the economy to the occupation of Iraq. An excellent resource for a high school "mock election" activity.

tag(s): elections (75), iraq (32)

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Presidency in Action - American Presidents - University of Virginia

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6 to 12
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This is a thematic look at the conduct and evolution of the American presidency since the founding of the republic. It examines the executive structures that manage domestic, economic,...more
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This is a thematic look at the conduct and evolution of the American presidency since the founding of the republic. It examines the executive structures that manage domestic, economic, foreign, and legislative activities in more than enough detail for secondary students. Even a quick tour will demonstrate the current complexity of the executive branch.

In the Classroom

This site has a variety of uses within a US government or history classroom. To begin with, teachers can use this site as a resource for research projects; a source for speeches and writings, as well as a learning center during a unit on a particular president or time period. A very useful and flexible source that can easily be worked into your curriculum!

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Declare Yourself

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9 to 12
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Founded by television producer Norman Lear, Declare Yourself is a non-profit, nonpartisan effort to register young adults to vote in the 2004 elections. The site offers a variety of...more
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Founded by television producer Norman Lear, Declare Yourself is a non-profit, nonpartisan effort to register young adults to vote in the 2004 elections. The site offers a variety of voter registration strategies, information, and schedules for a "Declaration of Independence" voting registration tour.

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Constitution for Kids - Constitution Center

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4 to 12
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Philadelphia's new Constitution Center offers a full collection of online information and activities for students. Both format and quality vary, but the Flash activity about the Bill...more
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Philadelphia's new Constitution Center offers a full collection of online information and activities for students. Both format and quality vary, but the Flash activity about the Bill of Rights is a good start. Click elsewhere to learn lots more about the Constitution, how it was created, and what it means today. Requires FLASH.

tag(s): bill of rights (28), constitution (79)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center or station during a unit on the constitution and the creation of the bill of rights. This would be a great tool to use for a review session, and could break up the monotony of a study guide. Very useful for a US history course.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Frontline Teachers Guide - PBS Frontline

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8 to 12
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The PBS Frontline series regularly challenges viewers' assumptions about controversial issues. This teacher portal for the series offers direct access to supplementary materials for...more
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The PBS Frontline series regularly challenges viewers' assumptions about controversial issues. This teacher portal for the series offers direct access to supplementary materials for many current and past programs, all sorted by subject area. If your field is government or social studies and you enjoy letting students wrestle with ideas, you will find lots of possibilities in this one.

tag(s): politics (99)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans hosted on this site! Be sure to save this one as a favorite to allow for easy retrieval later on.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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American Choices

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9 to 12
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Here's a foreign policy site with credible lineage and an interesting twist: it asks users to think through their own opinions and beliefs about American foreign policy using a series...more
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Here's a foreign policy site with credible lineage and an interesting twist: it asks users to think through their own opinions and beliefs about American foreign policy using a series of questions. The site doesn't appear to collect individual information, and it emphasizes that there are no "right answers" to the questions and issues it covers.

tag(s): foreign policy (16), politics (99)

In the Classroom

American government teachers will find this one a great discussion starter.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Lesson Plans from the State Department - U.S. State Department

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6 to 12
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The U.S. State Department offers a surprisingly rich collection of lesson plans and related information about American history and foreign policy, past and present. The units on Vietnam...more
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The U.S. State Department offers a surprisingly rich collection of lesson plans and related information about American history and foreign policy, past and present. The units on Vietnam and the Cuban missile crisis look particularly interesting.

tag(s): cultures (105), foreign policy (16)

In the Classroom

There's a wealth of information here; teachers will need to examine it closely to see how it might fit into secondary government or history curricula.
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Rulers

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6 to 12
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Deceptively simple and not at all pretty, this site offers a wealth of information on the historical governance of scores of countries. (Where else could you find a chronological list...more
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Deceptively simple and not at all pretty, this site offers a wealth of information on the historical governance of scores of countries. (Where else could you find a chronological list of the prime ministers of Spain?) It doesn't offer complete histories, but secondary students studying the history of other countries may find its synopsis-by-ruler an interesting starting point.

tag(s): countries (77), presidents (130)

In the Classroom

Save this site as a favorite on your class wiki or webpage and refer students to it for reference. It's best use would be to help students compile the executive history of a country and search that way, rather than searching for information on a specific ruler. This would be a great starting point for a student studying monarchy in a particular country such as Britain or Saudi Arabia.

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Founders' Constitution - University of Chicago

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9 to 12
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This site from the University of Chicago offers links to the philosophical and political source documents on which the Constitution is based. There is a wealth of content in this ...more
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This site from the University of Chicago offers links to the philosophical and political source documents on which the Constitution is based. There is a wealth of content in this one. Faculty who want to explore the origins of American government will find this site useful both for its thematic organizational structure and its wealth of resources. Secondary students will likely need some guidance in working with these materials.

In the Classroom

Use this site as a resource for students preparing for a classroom debate based on one or more articles of the constitution. This site is more useful if the debate is set into the time period of the Revolution, allowing students to treat the primary sources as though they were writings from contemporary peers rather than distant founding fathers. A great resource for a US history or government class.

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Project Vote Smart

Grades
6 to 12
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One of the more complete election sites, Vote Smart offers a wide array of campaign information at federal, state, and local levels. There are also backgrounders on the election process,...more
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One of the more complete election sites, Vote Smart offers a wide array of campaign information at federal, state, and local levels. There are also backgrounders on the election process, the Electoral College, and election laws and voting.

tag(s): college (43), elections (75), electoral college (16)

In the Classroom

Use this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge as you start your study of representative democracy. Select a few choice politicians from your state through the "Issue Positions" section. This activity would work even better if politicians selected were representative of your local area or hometown. Seperate students into groups and have them research the politicians based on certain issues. We recommend using issues such as crime, guns, and immigration. Have students compare and contrast the politicians stance to voting records in their area, or teachers can have students vote on the issues just in their classroom to determine their own "public opinions." Have the groups compare the public opinion to the voting record of the politician via venn diagram. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram, reviewed here. Have students use their results in a class discussion of the pros and cons of a representative government. Where are potential problems? What are the benefits? This would be extremely useful in a AP Government or Civics course.

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First Amendment Center - Vanderbilt University

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9 to 12
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Whether as a comprehensive source for research or as a primer for studies on the first amendment's guaranteed freedoms of speech, press, religious liberty, assembly and petition, this...more
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Whether as a comprehensive source for research or as a primer for studies on the first amendment's guaranteed freedoms of speech, press, religious liberty, assembly and petition, this site has wonderful resources for civics and government courses. The site also has a variety of print and web-resources available for further study of first amendment issues, including links to a number of Supreme Court documents.

tag(s): bill of rights (28), constitution (79)

In the Classroom

A series of twelve lesson plans are available for teachers in planning a basic look at first amendment issues.

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Proceedings of the Old Bailey London

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9 to 12
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This is an interesting collection of primary resources for those interested in British History ; the site has the texts of over 100,000 proceedings of London's Central Criminal Court....more
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This is an interesting collection of primary resources for those interested in British History ; the site has the texts of over 100,000 proceedings of London's Central Criminal Court. There is also a good introduction in the "For Schools" section on how to structure a legal and civic history lessons using the site. The teacher's page is geared towards British Curriculum standards, but it is still helpful in describing the site's application to British History.

tag(s): britain (35), courts (15), england (57), great britain (16)

In the Classroom

Beyond the free lesson plans, use this site to obtain plenty of primary resources from early to modern England. During a unit on the American Revolution, use this site as a way to address the treason of Benedict Arnold. Open the site on the interactive whiteboard or projector and search for crimes related to treason or espionage. Go through the cases with students, highlighting sentencing and judicial opinions related to the offense. Once you have gone through a few cases, use the results you found to discuss what British attitudes may have been towards their own "turncoat" and how this may have impacted Benedict Arnold's future working for the British Empire. This would also be a great activity to discuss how these same attitudes in combination with Arnold's actions impacted American legislation towards treason. This could be used in either a civics or American History course.

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Debates in the Federal Convention

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9 to 12
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Cmprising the period from May through October, 1787, this site contains the daily journals of James Madison in which he discusses the progress of the Constitutional Convention. Students...more
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Cmprising the period from May through October, 1787, this site contains the daily journals of James Madison in which he discusses the progress of the Constitutional Convention. Students interested in first-hand accounts of the forming of the American Government will find these journals great reading. High ideals notwithstanding, they show that the art of compromise was alive and well at the birth of the federal government.

tag(s): constitution (79)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson on a projector. Fit to compliment a lesson on the Continental Congress, select a few debates in the site to exhibit how detailed some of the issues faced were. Use the examples as a writing prompt - if in the Continental Congress, what would be the most important issues the Students would raise? If the federal government ceased to exist today, what laws would they create? Would they change anything? This is a great way for students to connect the past lessons of the Revolution to the present!

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Supreme Court Historical Society

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6 to 12
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This site offers one-stop shopping for a history of the Supreme Court and the ways in which it operates. There are additional links from this site to more complete anthologies ...more
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This site offers one-stop shopping for a history of the Supreme Court and the ways in which it operates. There are additional links from this site to more complete anthologies of court decisions and their interpretation. Middle schoolers could use elements of this one for basic research about the separation of powers and branches of government; high school students should find many uses for the additional materials.

tag(s): constitution (79), supreme court (22)

In the Classroom

This would be a great resource in a civics or government class. Open the site on the interactive whiteboard and tour students through the make-up of the court today. Each Judge has his own separate biography that can also be explored to demonstrate the political alliances of the court. Assign cooperative learning groups different judges to research, with the intent of presenting the material to the class. Try something new, like a podcast! Use a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Landmark Supreme Court Cases

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9 to 12
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Here's a site that offers the core body of essential Supreme Court decisions in a single presentation that includes lots of supporting context. In addition to the decisions themselves,...more
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Here's a site that offers the core body of essential Supreme Court decisions in a single presentation that includes lots of supporting context. In addition to the decisions themselves, there are supplementary resources, activities, and interpretive documents. There's also a thematic organization that makes identification of specific cases easier.

tag(s): constitution (79), supreme court (22)

In the Classroom

Government teachers will love this one.

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Chinese Exclusion Act - Separate Lives; Broken Dreams

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6 to 12
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From the 1880s to the 1940s, the Chinese Exclusion act prevented immigrants of Chinese descent from gaining full citizenship. The site includes background information on how the act...more
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From the 1880s to the 1940s, the Chinese Exclusion act prevented immigrants of Chinese descent from gaining full citizenship. The site includes background information on how the act came to be, as well as a discussion of its repercussions.

tag(s): chinese (48), immigration (58), migration (59)

In the Classroom

Consider using this one as part of a study of immigration in the late 19th century.

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AMU Cartoon Reprints

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6 to 12
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This site is a searchable archive of cartoons (both comics and editorials) available ONLY FOR USE IN THE CLASSROOM. It's a wonderful source of discussion starters and topical humor,...more
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This site is a searchable archive of cartoons (both comics and editorials) available ONLY FOR USE IN THE CLASSROOM. It's a wonderful source of discussion starters and topical humor, but please read the copyright information carefully. Government and social studies teachers will find the editorial collections particularly interesting.

tag(s): air (163), comics and cartoons (74)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a means to search for political cartoons or cartoons that reflect upon current political events. Showing the image on the interactive whiteboard, use them as a springboard to have a class discussion on where we get information and biases from in the media. What is it that these artists are trying to say? Is humor more effective in getting a point across than text? A very interesting resource for a US government class.

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Justice Learning - NPR - New York Times

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9 to 12
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National Public Radio and the New York Times have jointly created this site dealing with controversial justice and legal themes. Secondary social studies, government, and debating teachers...more
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National Public Radio and the New York Times have jointly created this site dealing with controversial justice and legal themes. Secondary social studies, government, and debating teachers will find this a site that asks many questions and leaves it to the users to formulate answers. Though some of the issues are troubling, it's a great "What do you think?" site.

tag(s): courts (15), debate (41), supreme court (22)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans within the "Teacher materials" portion of this site! There are a lot here so be sure to save this one as a favorite to allow for easy retrieval later on.

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Military Fact Files from BBC - BBC

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6 to 12
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Prepared as background material to the increasing tensions in Iraq and the rest of the mideast, this page offers summaries of military capabilities of the various nations that have...more
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Prepared as background material to the increasing tensions in Iraq and the rest of the mideast, this page offers summaries of military capabilities of the various nations that have troops in the area. These pages offer reams of information on capabilities, training, missions, etc.

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Mideast Maps from BBC - BBC

Grades
6 to 12
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Prepared as background material to the increasing tensions in Iraq and the rest of the mideast, this BBC map collection offers surprisingly detailed information on force strengths in...more
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Prepared as background material to the increasing tensions in Iraq and the rest of the mideast, this BBC map collection offers surprisingly detailed information on force strengths in various mideastern nations. The page includes links to similarly detailed information on other aspects of this looming conflict.

In the Classroom

Use these maps on the interactive whiteboard or projector as a supplement to text for a discussion or lecture on the war in the Middle East. Because of the focus on the Iraq War, these maps do a great job of emphasizing the impact of the military in these regions. These would be a great addition to a World History or Cultural Geography class.
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