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Drought In Africa - BBC

Grades
4 to 10
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This site (created by BBC) includes a wealth of information on the drought in Africa and the continent of Africa. There are videos, music clips from each country, demographic ...more
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This site (created by BBC) includes a wealth of information on the drought in Africa and the continent of Africa. There are videos, music clips from each country, demographic information, authentic pictures and diary entries, interactive maps and numerous articles on specific topics relating to Africa. Some of the interactive learning requires FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): africa (172), climate (91), climate change (64)

In the Classroom

Use an interactive whiteboard or projector to take your students on an African visit. The main topic of this website is the drought in Africa, however there is a great deal of information on many African subjects. Include this on your teacher web page as one of several links on different continents as you study world geography, cultures, or climate change.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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China - BBC

Grades
K to 8
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This website (created by BBC), provides a wealth of information on China. It was updated in 2007, so is slightly out of date. But the information still provides solid research ...more
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This website (created by BBC), provides a wealth of information on China. It was updated in 2007, so is slightly out of date. But the information still provides solid research and information about the country. Visitors to the website will find information about saving the pandas, China's one-child policy, famous Chinese landmarks and authentic accounts of visits to China (through the eyes and words of other students).

tag(s): china (63), cultures (108), olympics (49)

In the Classroom

Use an interactive whiteboard or projector to take your students on a virtual field trip to China! The students are sure to enjoy the pictures and "student guides" of China. As a comparison across cultures, have your students create a "student guide" that compares their own culture with another. Middle school students could use issues such as the "one child policy" and some social policies as writing prompts for persuasive essays or debate topics in their world cultures class.

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Antarctica - BBC

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3 to 12
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This website (created by BBC) is all about Antarctica. The focus is on research information about Antarctica, animals from Antarctica, Global Warming issues and a student's visit to...more
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This website (created by BBC) is all about Antarctica. The focus is on research information about Antarctica, animals from Antarctica, Global Warming issues and a student's visit to Antarctica. Students will enjoy the pictures and games on this website. The use of a peer (student) visitor sharing information will make this site more appealing to students.

tag(s): antarctica (29), arctic (46)

In the Classroom

With Global Warming issues being discussed frequently, use this website as a simple guide to group discussions on the topic or to introduce the lesser-known continent to your youger students. Don't forget to use a projector or whiteboard to share this authentic footage with your class.

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Story Corps - NPR

Grades
3 to 12
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NPR is amassing a collection of oral histories by traveling across the country and talking to average people. On this website, users can read or listen to the stories ...more
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NPR is amassing a collection of oral histories by traveling across the country and talking to average people. On this website, users can read or listen to the stories told by a wide variety of Americans. Click "Tell your story" to find Locations & Reservations for traveling Mobile Booths or directions to record on your own. The Do It Yourself guide includes tips on interview questions and an interview check list. Started in 2003, the site has many stories in its archives and frequently adds updates.

tag(s): digital storytelling (153), podcasts (57)

In the Classroom

Use this site to reconnect your students with those of other generations and geographic locations. Turn up your speakers and listen to some examples in your classroom. You can even use the story collection site as a model to start your own oral history project for your class or the entire school. You may not want to actually place your recording on the NPR site but instead house them locally in your school or community web site. As major events occur in your community, such as an anniversary or the opening of a new school, engage your students in documenting the event. The general interview guides offer useful interview techniques for school newspapers or news broadcasts, as well.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Anne Frank Center - Anne Frank Center USA

Grades
6 to 12
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This site would make a nice accompaniment for students reading "The Diary of Ann Frank." This site includes exerpts from Anne's diary, lesson plans and downloadable readers' guides...more
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This site would make a nice accompaniment for students reading "The Diary of Ann Frank." This site includes exerpts from Anne's diary, lesson plans and downloadable readers' guides for teachers. Go directly to "Ann Frank: Life and Times" to access the excerpts from her diary and the scrapbook. This include pictures and artifacts along with a biography of Anne Frank suitable for middle school students.

tag(s): anne frank (10), world war 2 (141)

In the Classroom

A "scrapbook" section would be very effective on a projector or interactive whiteboard. The scrapbook might function as a good anticipatory activity to set up a unit on the diary, although it does give away the ending of the story. There is also a section for teachers which includes some downloadable handouts, a bibliography and other resources.

If you are teaching about World War II, this would be a good resource to share on your teacher web pages for independent projects.

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Archaeology - National Museum of Natural History

Grades
3 to 8
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This archaeological site is interactive, educational and engaging. This site has numerous activities and facts. Some of the topics include "Inca Investigation", "The Ancient City...more
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This archaeological site is interactive, educational and engaging. This site has numerous activities and facts. Some of the topics include "Inca Investigation", "The Ancient City of Petra" and "Up Close With a Zapotec Urn". The "Big Idea" link provides an overview of archeology. The interactive activities are diverse and informative. Flash is required for some portions. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

In the Classroom

Introduce the site and the "Big Idea" on a projector or interactive whiteboard, then assign students to complete one of the many interactive activities. Share the results with the class on a projector as groups complete the activity. Include this link on your teacher web page for enrichment and at-home exploration.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Learn Spanish - Jacob Richman

Grades
1 to 12
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This site provides pronunciation of Spanish words. Options include seeing the word in Spanish or seeing it in a combination of English, Spanish, and its phonetic pronunciation form....more
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This site provides pronunciation of Spanish words. Options include seeing the word in Spanish or seeing it in a combination of English, Spanish, and its phonetic pronunciation form. Pronunciation is clear and always in Spanish. By selecting the Spanish-English option, users can also use it as an English to Spanish dictionary. This site requires FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): pronunciation (44), spanish (109)

In the Classroom

Keep this link handy on your teacher web page or classroom computer if you have Spanish-speaking students. Your English speakers will enjoy learning how to communicate with their classmate, and you may find this tool very helpful in bridging communication gaps with your ELL student!

Level I Spanish teachers will want to include this link on their teacher web page to help beginners with pronunciation.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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The Costumer's Manifesto - Tara Maginnis, Ph.D

Grades
7 to 12
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This is an amazing site for kids who ask, "But what did they WEAR?" In today's fashion-conscious society, looking at the past is often quite amusing, eye-opening, and insightful. A...more
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This is an amazing site for kids who ask, "But what did they WEAR?" In today's fashion-conscious society, looking at the past is often quite amusing, eye-opening, and insightful. A worthwhile site for teachers of theater, history, English, and even family and consumer science -- since the site even includes some patterns. Clicking on any of the options in the opening menu will take you to specific areas of that subject through history. The "Costume History sorted by Period" is truly fascinating as it offers drawings, patterns, and rationale for clothing of different time periods, including materials used and practical reasons for everything from codpieces to headdresses.

tag(s): costumes (6)

In the Classroom

This is a HUGE site worth dipping into for everything from history of clothing to wedding rituals and ceremonies of all kinds. As you introduce the setting of a new piece of literature or study of a new historical period, share this site to make another time "real" to your fashion-conscious teens. Include this site for fashion, costuming, or customs as one of the student research topics for a time period or lit study.

Note: The site is not terribly attractive as a set of links. It also has advertising and links to "outside" topics. Give precise directions for where students should go.

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Mysteries of Catalhoyuk - Science Museum of Minnesota

Grades
3 to 8
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Investigate a real-life archaeological dig of a Neolithic city that is over 9,000 years old. Students can view what life was like for the ancient people of Catalhoyuk at ...more
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Investigate a real-life archaeological dig of a Neolithic city that is over 9,000 years old. Students can view what life was like for the ancient people of Catalhoyuk at a time when most humans were moving around as hunters and gatherers. As you study indigenous peoples and life before written history, this site is a must! The site offers video tours and interviews of the dig as well as a lengthy time line starting some 6 million years ago. Uses Quicktime and Flash. Get them from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): archeology (32)

In the Classroom

The Activities section includes terrific options for an interactive whiteboard or a projected lesson. You may also want to assign students to do an activity with a partner on laptops or lab computers. The interactive time line is helpful for students having difficulty with the "time line" concept. It includes major historical events to help place Catalhoyuk in context with events students might know, such as the Declaration of Independence. Your students will definitely want you to include this link on your teacher web page for free-time and at-home exploration!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Elizabeth I - Class 8C

Grades
5 to 8
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While this is a student-posted site, it contains good, simple information about the life and times of the Elizabethan era in England. It is a good source of info for ...more
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While this is a student-posted site, it contains good, simple information about the life and times of the Elizabethan era in England. It is a good source of info for the basics before studying Shakespeare.

tag(s): renaissance (32), shakespeare (112)

In the Classroom

While the info is good, not all the spelling IS. A good exercise for middle school kids is to have them proofread for spelling as they go through. It is also a good exercise in teaching how good content would be better with NO errors via proofreading. It is, however, too good a simple site to ignore.

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National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS)

Grades
K to 12
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The mission of National Council for the Social Studies is to provide leadership, service, and support for all social studies educators. ...more
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The mission of National Council for the Social Studies is to provide leadership, service, and support for all social studies educators.

In the Classroom

Within the Classroom Resources section of this website to look for free lesson plans and classroom activities. The lessons are organized by grade level, so be sure to pass it along to peers in other grade levels. Save this one as a favorite to allow for easy access and retrieval.

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My Hero - My Hero Project

Grades
K to 12
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Looking for an online project-based interactive website that encourages literacy and cross-cultural communication? Looking for an alternative culminating project or process writing...more
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Looking for an online project-based interactive website that encourages literacy and cross-cultural communication? Looking for an alternative culminating project or process writing project for your secondary classes? Trying to help your high school juniors and seniors create an interesting college "essay" or portfolio piece? Join other adults and children from around the world by adding your essay, artwork or video about a hero on this non-profit, ad-free web site. You and your students can use this site with basic word processing knowledge -- or take it further if you are more technically capable.Site registration is required. Site is available in Spanish. Flash, Acrobat Reader and Quicktime are required. Get them from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): gifted (89), heroes (23), writing (365)

In the Classroom

Be sure to visit the Teacher's Resource section for helpful hints and links. Use any word processing program to type essays, then copy and paste into the My Hero class page. Provide a link to the class page on your teacher web page so students, parents, and relatives can read the essays. As always follow your district policies regarding posting student work on the Internet. It is HIGHLY advisable to get written parent permission for such a project!

Very young students could work together as a class to write their entry. Older students and those with more technology available will definitely want to try the videos! If you know iMovie or Windows Moviemaker, this is a terrific project. It is well-suited for gifted students, as well.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Journey North Mystery Class - Journey North

Grades
2 to 9
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Teach about the earth and seasonal change as you solve a real mystery. This unique international "hide and seek" activity is interactive, easy to use, and free! The challenge ...more
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Teach about the earth and seasonal change as you solve a real mystery. This unique international "hide and seek" activity is interactive, easy to use, and free! The challenge begins the last week of January and continues throughout May. Each week, students are given a clue to try to locate a "Mystery Class" from somewhere around the world. All clues are seasonal and some include sunrise and sunset times. The site includes standards in science, math and geography. The site provides lesson plans, interactive activities, video clips and more. Registration is free for this 11-week adventure or you can use the resources at the website with no registration necessary. Flash is required for some of the activities.

tag(s): data (150), seasons (38), sun (71), time (137), time zones (8)

In the Classroom

Make this "hide and seek" adventure a weekly highlight in your social studies or science class. It is ideal if you are studying geography or seasons. Use an interactive whiteboard or projector to make this a class activity, but be sure to include the link on your teacher web page for students to share at home. Be sure to check out the Teacher info and "Resources and Activities" page to find lesson plans, interactive games, standards and more.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Flash Earth

Grades
K to 12
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You may be familiar with Google Earth but may not have the ability to install their free software on your computer, either because you are not permitted to or because ...more
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You may be familiar with Google Earth but may not have the ability to install their free software on your computer, either because you are not permitted to or because your computer is not powerful enough to handle it. Try Flash Earth for a simpler tool to explore the earth as you teach geography to any age from kindergarten to seniors. Perhaps you just want to quickly show which way the Conestoga wagons crossed the U.S., or maybe to show where in the world a current events story is taking place. This simple tool, on a projector or interactive whiteboard, is just the trick. Note: You MUST have FLASH on your computer.

tag(s): globe (14), maps (292)

In the Classroom

Use a projector or whiteboard to share a location as art of the background knowledge for a lesson. Be sure to add this link to your teacher web page as a reference tool, as well. Be aware that some world locations have much "fuzzier" satellite images than others. Always preview before your lesson to be sure you can show the features you want students to see. Show elementary students where their "neighborhood" is, perhaps even their streets!

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Maps and Map Skills - Jim Cornish

Grades
K to 12
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This extremely useful website provides links to numerous maps. There are maps of every continent, the world, political maps, physical maps, time zone maps, map activities, suggestions...more
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This extremely useful website provides links to numerous maps. There are maps of every continent, the world, political maps, physical maps, time zone maps, map activities, suggestions for use in the classroom and more! The best feature of this website is the simple descriptions that are provided with most of the links. Some of the activities require Acrobat Reader. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): maps (292), time (137), time zones (8)

In the Classroom

At the bottom of this website, the author includes "map activities for students". All of these activities would be excellent supplemental activities in numerous grade levels.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Trading Card Maker - BigHugeLabs.com

Grades
4 to 12
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Create photo trading cards using images you upload or store on Flickr. Imagine having your students create study aides about famous people using images they draw and scan or photos...more
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Create photo trading cards using images you upload or store on Flickr. Imagine having your students create study aides about famous people using images they draw and scan or photos of themselves impersonating the famous people, such as presidents, explorers, authors, and more. If you celebrate reading by having an "author's tea," why not follow up by asking students to make trading cards for the authors they "met"? Use a similar approach for famous historical figures or even for geometric shapes you photograph with the digital camera. If students write their own "biographies" of the shapes to study from, they will learn for sure! They can even trade each other for favorites.

tag(s): book reports (39), famous people (22), images (271)

In the Classroom

Upload and tag your photo, type information, and print cards. Download finished card to your computer. Use for book reports for literature circles with each student in the group making a card for a different character in the book. This is also an excellent idea for special occasions for special people: mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, school nurse, school secretary, school custodian, favorite aunt, or anyone else! Be sure to print onto cover stock and laminate (if possible). What fabulous (and memorable) gifts. Check out the Big Huge Labs educator account. Easily pre-register students to avoid creating logins, view and download their creations, and view the site advertisement free. You will find information about the Educator Account here.

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World Flag Database - Graham Bartram

Grades
3 to 12
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Users can find any flag in the world in this well-updated database. To search for a specific country's flag, simply click on the first letter of the country and thumbprint ...more
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Users can find any flag in the world in this well-updated database. To search for a specific country's flag, simply click on the first letter of the country and thumbprint flags from all countries beginning with that letter come up. Besides coming to a full sized representation of the flag, readers also see important statistics such as religion, currency, and languages as well as important organizations the country belongs to such as the U.N. In one click, a contextual map of the country comes up.

tag(s): flags (22), maps (292), statistics (124)

In the Classroom

This is an easy-to-use fast reference tool for students. The site also sells flags, but you can ignore the sales portion. If your students do country reports, this is a one-stop site for them to find their country's flag. Perhaps they can use these ideas to design a flag for their own mythical country as part of a unit on government.

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Wikipedia: List of Faux Pas

Grades
6 to 12
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Although this site is a wiki and therefore editable by anyone who chooses to change the content, it highlights the differences between cultures and how people interpret behavior. Find...more
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Although this site is a wiki and therefore editable by anyone who chooses to change the content, it highlights the differences between cultures and how people interpret behavior. Find out about what is considered "good" and "bad" etiquette in places all over the world. Perhaps your students would even like to write their own additions? It is worth mentioning to your secondary students that the authorship of wiki content is unknown and would therefore be unacceptable as an "academic" source.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (118), cultures (108)

In the Classroom

Use this as a discussion-opener in your world language or world cultures class. If you put the Faux Pas wiki up on a projector or allow your students to explore it, assigning each group to find one thing that is perfectly acceptable in your home country but considered offensive in another, you can then discuss the differences one needs to consider in learning the language or history of that country. As a a follow-up in a world cultures class, ask students to write up their own etiquette guide for their school or home town.

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Totem Poles - Pat Kramer

Grades
4 to 8
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Learn the basics and debunk the myths about totem poles using the site created by a "transplant" to the Pacific Northwest. Although the write is also selling a book, ...more
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Learn the basics and debunk the myths about totem poles using the site created by a "transplant" to the Pacific Northwest. Although the write is also selling a book, there is significant information, and the photos are helpful in understanding the iconography of totem poles.

In the Classroom

If you use the site with elementary children, you may want to let them partner-read some of the longer text portions. Use this site as part of a unit on indigenous peoples of the Americas, then have the students create their own totems in an authentic way. Art teachers may want to use this as an inspiration for a totem-like project in clay, wood, or other materials. The connections to oral history are fascinating and can lead to lengthy discussion in a history class about how we "know" what we say happened before written history.

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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 (89), mayans (13), mesopotamia (6), nasa (37)

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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