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Explore Pennsylvania History

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4 to 12
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Learn about Pennsylvania history, see and learn about historical sites within Pennsylvania, and find lesson plans for elementary through high school on this site. There are three different...more
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Learn about Pennsylvania history, see and learn about historical sites within Pennsylvania, and find lesson plans for elementary through high school on this site. There are three different avenues into the site, including the link to lesson plans (Teach PA History). Standards correlation is to Pennsylvania standards, but the content is appropriate for any history class studying the many events that occurred in Pennsylvania as part of U.S. history. Reading levels may be challenging for younger students.

tag(s): colonial america (106), pennsylvania (6)

In the Classroom

Follow a lesson ready-made plan or design your own web treasure hunt for students to read, see, and learn about history by navigating this site. You could also feature a "historical marker a day" as an anticipatory set on a projector during your units on PA history in Pennsylvania classrooms.
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Black Wings: African American Pioneer Aviators - Smithsonian- National Air and Space Museum

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5 to 12
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Inspire future aviators or encourage students to pursue their dreams with this site that traces African American aviators through the years. There are many images and short passages...more
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Inspire future aviators or encourage students to pursue their dreams with this site that traces African American aviators through the years. There are many images and short passages of text. The reading levels are not for younger students. The site includes three classroom activities. One activity actually guides students through a series of questions they answer on a web page as they learn about a single aviator. Black Wings permits students to download and use images in their reports, as long as they are classroom projects, either printed or electronic, such as in PowerPoint. Images may not be published on web pages or burned to CD. Be sure to visit the What's New section for featured interviews with aviators. What a terrific and interesting primary source!

tag(s): africa (172), african american (112)

In the Classroom

Use this one as part of reading comprehension practice and find that your students are actually interested in what they read. Have students create projects about their favorite aviator or aircraft on a poster, in a PowerPoint presentation, or using Inspiration software.

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Kazan, Miller, and the McCarthy Era - PBS- Anna Chan Rekate

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10 to 12
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PBS provides this comprehensive set of lesson plans, including links and video clips to help your social studies or English students understand about the McCarthy Era and its impact...more
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PBS provides this comprehensive set of lesson plans, including links and video clips to help your social studies or English students understand about the McCarthy Era and its impact on the arts. Whether you are teaching The Crucible or the U.S. in the 1950s, this will help students understand the era in greater depth. Activities include Readers Theatre readings of the Crucible in your English class. The lesson series was written to accompany an episode in the PBS series American Masters, and some lesons include use of the video from this series.

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In the Classroom

If you do not have time for all the lessons or do not have access to the fullvideo, there is a wealth of information for you to use as background and valuable links for planning shorter activities.

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Election 2006 - New York Times

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6 to 12
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Use a clickable national map to analyze the 2006 races for governor, senate, and house in all 50 states. See recent polling data, historical trends, and even predict outcomes to ...more
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Use a clickable national map to analyze the 2006 races for governor, senate, and house in all 50 states. See recent polling data, historical trends, and even predict outcomes to see their impact on Congress as a whole. You can save your "scenarios" for future reference. Note: you must join the New York Times online (FREE), a valuable resource for any classroom. You can make one account, and multiple computers can log in at once. Just don't forget your user name and password!

Although this resource was created for the 2006 election, the background information is valuable for teaching about elections in general and for comparing elections as part of U.S. history.

tag(s): elections (78), politics (98)

In the Classroom

This would be a great site to visit repeatedly throughout the ramp-up to the election. It would be terrific on an interactive whiteboard. You could also assign students to create their own log-ins and generate their own scenarios. based on their own research (encourage ownership!). Then compare their predictions with the actual results. Or role-play groups as they present their scenarios in Republican (or Democratic) National Committee budget meetings and decide strategies.

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Calisphere - University of California

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4 to 12
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Find an extensive collections of primary sources, including images and texts, from California history and culture. Many of these topics are part of a US history course, as well: Gold...more
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Find an extensive collections of primary sources, including images and texts, from California history and culture. Many of these topics are part of a US history course, as well: Gold Rush, World War II, etc. Materials are searchable and also organized into thematic collections for teachers.These collections include information on historical context and CA. standards.

tag(s): california (27), cultures (108), gold rush (19), japan (60), japanese (45), primary sources (92)

In the Classroom

Teachers and students have permission to print, or download these collections for classroom use. Make bulletin boards or let students include the images in their PowerPoint or movie presentations. You do not have permission to place these images on a web page or use them for other purposes without specific permission to do so.

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The History of the Supreme Court - PBS and New York Life

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8 to 12
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This site has been designed as a companion to an upcoming public television series on the Supreme Court, but it stands on its own for classroom use. Information on ...more
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This site has been designed as a companion to an upcoming public television series on the Supreme Court, but it stands on its own for classroom use. Information on the site indicates that further content will be added. The site is divided into several main themes: The history of the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court and basic rights, the Supreme Court and gender, the Supreme Court and young people, and the Supreme Court today. Promised further content will cover the Supreme Court and race and the Supreme Court and economics and commerce. Each theme is highlighted with an introductory essay and questions for discussion. Themes also have a set of teacher resources, links to other web sites and lesson plans. Don't miss the interactive time line and comprehensive encyclopedia of terms. The theme on the Supreme Court and gender includes rich resources for Women's History month.

tag(s): bill of rights (29), courts (15), supreme court (24), women (94)

In the Classroom

Use this site or specific themes as the basis for an entire unit on the Supreme Court or for focused lessons: Japanese internment camps, the conflict between the Federalists and the anti-Federalists, child labor laws, and many more. You can assign different students to different sides of issues for research on the site or use it as an overview with a projector in a teacher-centered discussion.

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Inventor of the Week - MIT Lemelson Center

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6 to 12
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The Lemelson Center at MIT offers a weekly profile of an inventor - some famous, many less so. If you're doing a unit on scientists, creativity, or economic/industrial growth, this...more
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The Lemelson Center at MIT offers a weekly profile of an inventor - some famous, many less so. If you're doing a unit on scientists, creativity, or economic/industrial growth, this site can help students understand how many advances are the result of small, incremental improvements rather than revolutionary breakthroughs.

tag(s): inventors and inventions (94), scientists (70)

In the Classroom

Use the inventor of the week section as an activator at the beginning of every week in a science or Physics classroom. This could be used as an activator over the interactive whiteboard or as a learning center or station. This could be used every week or before inventive projects, serving as a motivator!

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Heritage Travel - Historical Travel Itineraries - National Register of Historic Places

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4 to 9
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Designed for trip-planning, this site also works well for students researching a city or region, for planning an "imaginary adventure" or as part of a larger webquest or other online...more
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Designed for trip-planning, this site also works well for students researching a city or region, for planning an "imaginary adventure" or as part of a larger webquest or other online geography activity. The sites include scores of little-known places that have historic importance for one reason or another.

tag(s): architecture (84)

In the Classroom

Try this one as the basis for a "did you know" contest, asking students to unearth little-known facts about a topic of interest to them.

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American History - Primary Documents - Library of Congress

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6 to 12
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This collection of the key documents of American history puts "all the important stuff" in one place. At the moment, the collections only run through the reconstruction period (1877),...more
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This collection of the key documents of American history puts "all the important stuff" in one place. At the moment, the collections only run through the reconstruction period (1877), and it can be difficult to find copies of some documents that are actually readable by students. (Several are photos of original manuscripts.)

tag(s): primary sources (92)

In the Classroom

Try using this site as a way to actually connect students to the time periods they are studying.

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Blues Classroom - PBS

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6 to 12
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A true American art form, "the Blues" makes a great interdisciplinary study, and this site's lesson plans provide a well-researched foundation for that study. Our only regret is that...more
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A true American art form, "the Blues" makes a great interdisciplinary study, and this site's lesson plans provide a well-researched foundation for that study. Our only regret is that sites on this subject so rarely include sound files for the music they're describing.

tag(s): africa (172), african american (112), blues (18), jazz (15), songs (53)

In the Classroom

If you elect to use this site, talk with your school's music teacher about resources that will let students hear samples of the music.

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Choices - Brown University

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10 to 12
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Secondary world cultures and government teachers will find a rich resource in Brown University's Choices program - lessons based on current international political situations. Each...more
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Secondary world cultures and government teachers will find a rich resource in Brown University's Choices program - lessons based on current international political situations. Each offers background and alternatives, then asks students to formulate effective responses and support their conclusions.

tag(s): air (146), politics (98)

In the Classroom

While ideal for an AP class, students at many levels can benefit from working with problems that have no obvious "right" answers. This site offers much to think about.

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American Revolution - National Park Service

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4 to 8
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This new (2006) site from NPS groups the parks associated with the American Revolution and suggests parks appropriate for study of particular revolutionary themes. While short on lessons...more
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This new (2006) site from NPS groups the parks associated with the American Revolution and suggests parks appropriate for study of particular revolutionary themes. While short on lessons and simulations, there is abundant information on many of the locations where important events during the revolution took place.

tag(s): american revolution (89), evolution (101)

In the Classroom

If in a state that was one of the original 13 colonies, use this site to discover a site that would be prime for a field trip. In addition, teachers can share this site on the interactive whiteboard or projector as a way to preview for students what they are about to see. In addition to the sites, the park service also offers a "Guide to the Revolution," that teachers can use as supplementary material in their classroom. Note - the guide is text heavy, so only use it if in an advanced class or or one where you feel comfortable with students reading abilities and interests.
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First American Art - Smithsonian

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9 to 12
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This newly released site includes scores of examples of Native American art from a wide variety of tribes and periods. Organized into general themes, there's not a lot of description...more
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This newly released site includes scores of examples of Native American art from a wide variety of tribes and periods. Organized into general themes, there's not a lot of description of each item beyond the time and place of its creation. As a whole, however, the site shows a marvelous overview of the ways in which Native Americans integrated their art with their lives

tag(s): clothing (9), crafts (43)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center or station during a unit on on Native American culture. Separate students into cooperative learning groups, allowing them to explore the site on classroom computers. Based on what they have observed in the site, have students summarize their findings in a presentation format. Have students create a multimedia 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 of some aspect of Native American art as if it is a news report. To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try Compfight, reviewed here.
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Lonely Island: Hidden Alcatraz - KQED, Inc.

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9 to 12
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This companion to a public television program chronicles the rich history of this island in San Francisco Bay that served as a maximum security prison for notorious criminals from 1934...more
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This companion to a public television program chronicles the rich history of this island in San Francisco Bay that served as a maximum security prison for notorious criminals from 1934 - 1963. The site examines some of the prison's most famous occupants - including Al Capone and the "Bird Man of Alcatraz" - the Native American occupation of the island, the role it played in protecting California's gold from Confederate plots, and much more. Includes downloadable, standards-based lesson plans.

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans on this site! Save it as a favorite on your computer to allow for easy retrieval.
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Smithsonian Global Sound - Smithsonian Institution

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1 to 12
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Listen to and learn about traditional music from cultures around the world and through the ages. Browse this amazing collection of downloadable tunes to find musical enrichment to enhance...more
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Listen to and learn about traditional music from cultures around the world and through the ages. Browse this amazing collection of downloadable tunes to find musical enrichment to enhance a unit of study. Full downloads in MP3 or FLAC format are available for purchase but each offering is accompanied by a free audio sample. Note: this site opens rather slowly.Be patient, especially if you are on a dial-up connection.

tag(s): songs (53)

In the Classroom

Search this site for songs to supplement your unit in a US or World history class. This teacher was able to find a song about the suffrage movement, and was able to teach the beliefs of suffrage through student analysis of the lyrics and tone. Be sure to search - there are literally tons of songs that can be used for a variety of curriculum.

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Malcolm X Project - Columbia University

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9 to 12
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Explore the life and legacy of Malcolm X with this thought-provoking site that presents archival video footage from 1961 through 1965, dozens of video interviews with his contemporaries,...more
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Explore the life and legacy of Malcolm X with this thought-provoking site that presents archival video footage from 1961 through 1965, dozens of video interviews with his contemporaries, an illustrated time line, and transcripts of FBI files. The result is a very personal, very authentic portrait of the civil rights leader - created for the purpose of illuminating new research that will be used in a forthcoming biography of Malcolm X.

tag(s): 1960s (28), africa (172), african american (112)

In the Classroom

Use the footage of Malcolm X to emphasize his message and intent during a unit on his life or the civil rights movement. Open the footage over the interactive whiteboard, playing small clips during a lecture or class discussion of his life. This would be useful in an American History class.

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Battle Lines: Letters from America's Wars - Gilder Lehrman Institute and Legacy Project

Grades
8 to 12
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Bring authenticity and emotional impact to a study of one of America's military conflicts with this riveting collection of primary source documents. This compelling site presents personal...more
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Bring authenticity and emotional impact to a study of one of America's military conflicts with this riveting collection of primary source documents. This compelling site presents personal correspondence from more than 200 years of American history. Visitors can listen to and read letters that describe the loss of loved ones, the yearning for the comforts of home, and the traumatic experience of warfare. Full transcripts as well as scanned images of original letters are provided.

In the Classroom

Introduce this site over the interactive whiteboard or projector during a unit on one of the many wars in American History. Play a few of the audio recordings over the interactive whiteboard to introduce the conflict, having students listen quietly. To insure student attention, have students either write/draw a reflection OR have students create a digital reflection piece. Challenge students to create an online graphic to share using Tabblo reviewed here.
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Jamestown Online Adventure

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4 to 7
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Imagine that you are the governor of the Jamestown colony, relying on your problem-solving skills, information from fellow colonists, and advice from Native Americans to ensure the...more
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Imagine that you are the governor of the Jamestown colony, relying on your problem-solving skills, information from fellow colonists, and advice from Native Americans to ensure the success and growth of the settlement. This interactive game places visitors in that role as it keeps score of choices made regarding food, health, money, and morale. At the end, a detailed report on the state of the colony (based on the user's decisions) is generated.

tag(s): jamestown (10), virginia (16)

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American Immigration Past and Present

Grades
10 to 12
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As the national debate on immigration reform and border security continues, use this lesson to get your students thinking about this highly-charged issue. As they examine primary documents,...more
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As the national debate on immigration reform and border security continues, use this lesson to get your students thinking about this highly-charged issue. As they examine primary documents, participate in organized debates, analyze a variety of media, and practice editorial writing, students will gain an understanding of the historical, economic, and political facets of this controversial topic. Aligned to Standards.

tag(s): immigration (59), migration (59)

In the Classroom

This is a fairly demanding lesson requiring high student reading levels and strong analytical thinking skills. Consider incorporating this into your AP social studies curriculum.

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Virtual Vaudeville - University of Georgia

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8 to 12
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Travel back to the nineteenth century for a simulated, 3-D tour of Victorian theater. Legendary vaudeville comedian Frank Bush is featured, along with an audience full of virtual spectators....more
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Travel back to the nineteenth century for a simulated, 3-D tour of Victorian theater. Legendary vaudeville comedian Frank Bush is featured, along with an audience full of virtual spectators. Take a tour of New York's Union Square Theater, and learn about the role this form of entertainment played in American society from its emergence in the 1880s through its demise in the 1930s. As students watch an actual "reenactment" of a typical vaudeville show, they can switch "viewer" perspectives, and experience the show through the eyes of the performer, the patrons sitting in the most expensive boxes, and those occupying the very cheapest balcony seats. Complete scripts and detailed notes on historical context are provided.

tag(s): victorian (21)

In the Classroom

Project this site in your classroom and follow with an analysis and discussion of how this form of entertainment mirrored the dynamics in American society during the Victorian era. How does this genre compare or contrast with contemporary American entertainment?
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