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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.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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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 (11), virginia (16)

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American Immigration Past and Present

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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 (58), 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?
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Intelligence in the Civil War - U.S. Central Intelligence Agency

Grades
7 to 12
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Discover the spies, treachery, and intrigue that were a vital part of how the North and the South gathered and used information during the Civil War. This illustrated report details...more
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Discover the spies, treachery, and intrigue that were a vital part of how the North and the South gathered and used information during the Civil War. This illustrated report details the missions and personalities - off the battlefield and behind the scenes - that contributed to the successes, failures, and eventual outcome of the War Between the States.

tag(s): civil war (145)

In the Classroom

This is a great find for gifted students. If assigning research projects, encourage your students to look at this site as it provides information that is pertinent but rarely touched upon in classes. The site offers intriguing information about Pinkertons, spies, and a secret service-like organization. Students interested in the topic will love the in-depth information provided.

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Deadly Virus - National Archives and Records Administration

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8 to 12
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How does the threat of the bird flu compare with the actual influenza pandemic that swept the world in 1918, killing more people than died World War I? This ...more
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How does the threat of the bird flu compare with the actual influenza pandemic that swept the world in 1918, killing more people than died World War I? This site provides riveting photographs and commentary, detailing the development and spread of the virus that indiscriminately lowered average life expectancy in the United States by more than 12 years. Find out how it affected American society and read first-hand accounts of its path of destruction.

In the Classroom

The most descriptive part of this website are the images of civil servants in contact with the public wearing surgical masks while performing their everyday duties. Use these images to supplement your lecture on the epidemic, and to spur a class discussion on the comparison between people's reaction for diseases today such as the Swine flu or the Bird flu.

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If These Walls Could Talk - Atlanta History Center

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8 to 12
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What can a house tell us about the people who once inhabited it and the society in which they lived? Find out with this interactive and engaging site that leads ...more
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What can a house tell us about the people who once inhabited it and the society in which they lived? Find out with this interactive and engaging site that leads students on virtual tours through four historic homes in and around Atlanta, GA. In the process, students can use their deductive skills to piece together aspects of American cultural history from 1860 to 1920.

tag(s): georgia (4), homes (11)

In the Classroom

Choose the virtual tour for your students that matches the era you are studying, and add some probing questions to turn the virtual tour into an investigative activity.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Age of Exploration - Mariners' Museum

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3 to 7
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Learn about the courageous voyages that changed the course of human history with this comprehensive collection of activities, narratives, and teaching materials. Visual images and text...more
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Learn about the courageous voyages that changed the course of human history with this comprehensive collection of activities, narratives, and teaching materials. Visual images and text are woven together to create a useful resource for content enrichment and student research. Visit the "Activities for Students and Teachers" for ready-to-go activities with printable handouts that can be incorporated into transparencies, presentations, or reports.

tag(s): explorers (65)

In the Classroom

Use the activities portion of this site to add enrichment to your classroom. There are plenty of quick projects and lesson plans, but there are also two interactive web games that could be used to help students review information. Save those particular portions of the site as favorites on your computer and use them for a learning center or station.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Folk Songs for the Five Points - Lower East Side Tenement Museum

Grades
9 to 12
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Explore the vibrant and diverse culture of New York City's Lower East Side with this beautifully designed multimedia site. Using an interactive map, visitors can click on distinct dots,...more
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Explore the vibrant and diverse culture of New York City's Lower East Side with this beautifully designed multimedia site. Using an interactive map, visitors can click on distinct dots, each representing a different audio sample at that particular location (steam coming through a manhole cover, the Second Avenue train, buskers, and so much more). Using the on-screen tools, visitors can toggle sounds on and off to create their own unique audio-mix. The resulting textures and colors are amazing, and students can spend quite a bit of time immersed in the rich cultural fabric of this urban neighborhood.

tag(s): new york (26), sound (105), sounds (70)

In the Classroom

This cultural gem should be experienced individually with headphones, and followed by reflection and discussion. Use as a catalyst to get students involved in listening for and recording the sounds in their own communities. What similarities and differences can be discovered?
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Child Labor in America - The History Place

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7 to 12
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This collection of haunting images chronicles the lives of working children in America from 1908 through 1912. The photos, taken by Lewis Hine, reveal the dangerous and dismal conditions...more
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This collection of haunting images chronicles the lives of working children in America from 1908 through 1912. The photos, taken by Lewis Hine, reveal the dangerous and dismal conditions in factories, fields, mills, and mines across the United States. Captions provide insight into the wages, responsibilities, and ages of these young workers. A chilling glimpse of child exploitation at the dawn of the 20th century.

tag(s): air (160)

In the Classroom

Project these images in your classroom to add some visual realism to a study of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. An excellent primary source to help students understand the significance of the Fair Labor and Standards Act that eventually ended this practice.

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American History AP Quizzes

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10 to 12
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This collection of interactive multiple-choice challenges has something for every AP history student. Topics cover U.S. history from early discovery and settlement to Kennedy's New...more
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This collection of interactive multiple-choice challenges has something for every AP history student. Topics cover U.S. history from early discovery and settlement to Kennedy's New Frontier and the Americas since 1970.

tag(s): advanced placement (23)

In the Classroom

Use this site to help students review for the AP exam - although teachers not in an AP course could also use these free quizzes for the SOL's or other end of the year assessments. Save the site to your teacher web page to allow students to access it both in and out of the classroom. While they are a little hokey looking, the information is effective and of good quality. Teachers can have students take the practice quizzes in or out of the classroom to assess what subjects need the most review before their end assessment.

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Unseen.Unforgotten - Al.com

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8 to 12
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This stunning collection of never-before-published images from the Civil Rights era puts a very human face on a painful chapter in American history. The photographs, recently discovered...more
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This stunning collection of never-before-published images from the Civil Rights era puts a very human face on a painful chapter in American history. The photographs, recently discovered in a storage closet at the Birmingham News, are organized by theme and year and include detailed captions, but you must provide the background information. Topics include school segregation, voting rights, and Freedom Riders.

tag(s): africa (179), african american (114), civil rights (123)

In the Classroom

Much more eloquent than text book descriptions, this visual documentary of the Civil Rights era makes an outstanding primary source for student research projects. Pair with existing curriculum materials and project the images in your classroom for an anticipatory set or discussion starter.

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What Are We Fighting For Over There? - Library of Congress

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10 to 12
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This beautifully designed unit examines the twentieth century's first worldwide conflict and emphasizes the rich primary source material that places a human face on the Great War. Audio...more
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This beautifully designed unit examines the twentieth century's first worldwide conflict and emphasizes the rich primary source material that places a human face on the Great War. Audio recordings, vintage newspaper articles, and transcripts of historic speeches provide students with a treasure of resources for use in building a personal understanding of the devastation and effects of World War I. Aligned to standards.

tag(s): foreign policy (16), world war 1 (53)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of this free lesson plan in your classroom during a unit on WWI - the documents are all very revealing and an excellent example for students of reliable primary sources.

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Intelligent Designs on Evolution - American RadioWorks

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9 to 12
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The debate over intelligent design in the classroom is continually in the news and sparks many strong feelings among educators and members of school communities. This documentary examines...more
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The debate over intelligent design in the classroom is continually in the news and sparks many strong feelings among educators and members of school communities. This documentary examines the concept of intelligent design and offers a series of articles focusing on religion in schools. Interviews, audio transcripts, and related links round out this balanced view of a rather thorny topic.

tag(s): darwin (11), design (83), evolution (101)

In the Classroom

Pair with a study of the 1925 Scopes Trial, use as the basis for a "current events" class debate (with a focus on the court system), or challenge students to be on the lookout for similar news items from across the country.

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James River Plantations - National Park Service

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7 to 12
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Studying Colonial America? Don't just rely on the facts in the textbook. View the past through the lens of the everyday life of the gentry, and take a virtual field ...more
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Studying Colonial America? Don't just rely on the facts in the textbook. View the past through the lens of the everyday life of the gentry, and take a virtual field trip along the James River to view the stately 18th century homes of Virginia. This site explores the architecture, lifestyle, and history of the era, and offers an interactive map, essays describing the significance of each plantation in American history, and many vintage sketches of the individual locations.

tag(s): colonial america (108), jamestown (11), virginia (16)

In the Classroom

This site clamors to be the focus of a virtual field trip for secondary students. After prowling through the site yourself, create an itinerary (with related discussion questions) to guide your students through the content.
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Black History Month - Time, Inc.

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4 to 8
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This highly interactive site provides a kid-friendly overview of Black history, the fight for Civil Rights, and those Americans who have made a major impact on the African American...more
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This highly interactive site provides a kid-friendly overview of Black history, the fight for Civil Rights, and those Americans who have made a major impact on the African American dream. Students can listen to audio clips from pivotal speeches in African American history, participate in an interactive quiz on the fight for equal rights, and explore an interactive timeline.

tag(s): africa (179), african american (114), civil rights (123), speech (94), speeches (17)

In the Classroom

This site is a great addition to a classroom unit on the civil rights movement. Save the site as a favorite on the classroom computers, and have students work on it pairs, or use it as a learning center. Some of the web quests are basically quizzes in disguise, making them appropriate for review. If using it for review, add the site to your teacher web page so students can access it both in and out of the classroom.

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Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary - Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary

Grades
7 to 12
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Much more than a biographical resource, this site is filled with interactive treasures and multimedia features. Click on "Online Exhibition" to access a wealth of visual treats and...more
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Much more than a biographical resource, this site is filled with interactive treasures and multimedia features. Click on "Online Exhibition" to access a wealth of visual treats and activities. Set type and print your name on an 18th century printing press, listen to the wisdom of Silence Dogood, or test your knowledge of classic Franklin proverbs and aphorisms. This is an outstanding tribute to the legacy of one of America's most beloved founding fathers.

tag(s): colonial america (108), franklin (12)

In the Classroom

Beyond the items mentioned in the review, this site has a variety of free lesson plans offered for grades k-12. They also list several programs and free resources that can help teachers find more information about Franklin.

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Lighting a Revolution - Smithsonian

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5 to 8
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This online exhibition from the National Museum of American History examines the process of invention, breaking it down into five distinct stages. Enter one of the virtual laboratory...more
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This online exhibition from the National Museum of American History examines the process of invention, breaking it down into five distinct stages. Enter one of the virtual laboratory doors to discover the similarities and differences between Edison's 19th century work on the electric lamp and the development of 20th century lighting devices. The site includes links to materials that explain the science and engineering behind electric lighting and the factors used to determine energy efficiency.

tag(s): electricity (90), inventors and inventions (95)

In the Classroom

Use this resource to frame a student invention unit based on the five stages detailed on the site. Focus the invention process on current or future needs brainstormed by students in class.

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Reconstruction: The Second Civil War - PBS Online

Grades
7 to 12
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This companion site to a PBS series tells the stories of the players involved in the turbulent struggle to rebuild and recover after the Civil War. Mini documentaries, program clips,...more
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This companion site to a PBS series tells the stories of the players involved in the turbulent struggle to rebuild and recover after the Civil War. Mini documentaries, program clips, and vintage photographs highlight the roles played by politicians and ordinary citizens in the North and the South, black and white, Republican and Democrat. Features include an interactive map showing the economic impact the Civil War and Reconstruction had on each state and a Teacher's Guide filled with creative suggestions for incorporating the content into your curriculum.

tag(s): civil war (145)

In the Classroom

Open this site on the interactive whiteboard or projector to watch one of the many "mini-documentaries" in your class to supplement lecture. For each video there are suggested questions and prompts that teachers could easily copy and past to make "follow-alongs" for students. Teachers should also take advantage of the free lesson plans and activity guides hosted on the site. This site has a lot of information and would be great in either a history, geography or civics class.

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In Motion - New York Public Library

Grades
6 to 12
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Learn about the twelve waves of migration that helped to shape African American culture. This site contains thousands of images, maps, and pages of text that tell the story of ...more
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Learn about the twelve waves of migration that helped to shape African American culture. This site contains thousands of images, maps, and pages of text that tell the story of the courageous and resourceful men and woman whose journeys had a profound effect on the settlement and development of the Americas. The extensive content is accompanied by a series of lesson plans organized by topic and curriculum area. Aligned to standards.

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

In the Classroom

Use the images on this site to create a picture walk in your classroom to introduce a unit on one of the many topics featured on the site. Select 10-15 of the more descriptive and diverse images, posting them at different points around the classroom. Assigning students to different images, have students rotate around the classroom every 30-45 seconds until the whole class has seen all of the images. While students are walking around, have them take notes on what they observe about each image. At the end of the walk, have a class discussion based on their notes. This is a great way to introduce a new topic in a non-lecture format, a relief for history teachers!
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