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Interactives: United States History Map - Annenberg Media

Grades
4 to 9
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Annenberg Media has created this fantastic interactive tool that allows you to trace the growth and settlement of the United States by using a map. Throughout this interactive challenge,...more
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Annenberg Media has created this fantastic interactive tool that allows you to trace the growth and settlement of the United States by using a map. Throughout this interactive challenge, students learn about map legends, the compass rose and cardinal directions, and different types of maps. Students also learn about the various regions of the United States and the rivers, lakes, mountains, oceans, and more that are located in the United States. This website even delves into U.S. History by displaying major Indian tribes (and regions), explaining colonists, and the expansion of the great nation. This website requires FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): colonial america (107), directions (20), india (36), map skills (80), maps (288), westward expansion (29)

In the Classroom

What a comprehensive website - offering geography, U.S. history, map skills, and more. Use your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to share the interactive activities (there are five, including a "test").

If time permits, divide your class into five groups and assign each group one of the main topics to explore. Give each group 30 minutes or so to read through the information. Then have each group share their findings with the class. Take the final "test" together on an interactive whiteboard (or projector).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Loud Lit - Loudlit.org

Grades
1 to 12
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Loud Lit offers "literature for your ears and eyes" (although the site's visual appearance is quite plain!). This collaborative project with public domain offers recorded literature....more
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Loud Lit offers "literature for your ears and eyes" (although the site's visual appearance is quite plain!). This collaborative project with public domain offers recorded literature. You are given the options of listening to the literature, listening and reading the literature, or downloading the literature to an MP3 player. The number of items available for public use is constantly increasing. The current contents include novels, poetry, classic children's literature, a few historical items, and classic short stories. Some examples of the available literature includes A Tale of Two Cities, The Little Match Girl, The Gift of the Magi, The Declaration of Independence, The Gettysburg Address, and countless others. A separate column lets you know about newly recorded items. This site requires Flash and Quicktime. Get them from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): declaration of independence (13), gettysburg (26), gettysburg address (18), literature (275), poetry (227)

In the Classroom

This site is helpful for many subjects and grade levels. Have students use this website when they have to memorize poetry, the Gettysburg Address, or the Declaration of Independence. ESL and ELL students and many learning support students will benefit from the option of "reading" in multi-media format. Use the audio stories with younger students for listening skills. During a poetry unit, why not have students choose one of the poems to read and listen to? Have the students analyze and write in their journal about what they think the poem means. Then have the students share the original poem and their own opinions with the class, making this activity a listening, reading, writing, and speaking lesson. If you are into podcasting, encourage students to create some of their own poetry readings with commentary.
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The Case Files - The Franklin Institute

Grades
4 to 12
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This wonderfully informative website provides numerous "case files" about many famous people from the world of science and technology.. There are five major areas including computing,...more
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This wonderfully informative website provides numerous "case files" about many famous people from the world of science and technology.. There are five major areas including computing, transportation, cosmic inquiry, energy, and communications. Once you click on one of the major areas, a list of names appears. Then click on the names of the famous people to learn more about their specific inventions and/or contributions to science and technology. The text also includes images of artifacts from each scientist's life: diaries, writings, and more, all clickable to bring up a larger image of the "real thing." Numerous famous scientists and inventors are included (Alexander Graham Bell, William Jennings, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, Catherine Gibbon, and many others).

tag(s): aviation (39), energy (197), inventors and inventions (101), scientists (68), transportation (40)

In the Classroom

There is a "teachers link" available to learn more about this website. Why not use this website as a resource for "case file" research projects. Assign each student (or groups of students) a different person to investigate. Weaker readers may need a partner with strong reading skills. Then have the students present a multimedia presentation about their "case file." Or have a day when students actually portray their scientist and interact with others "in character."

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The Statue of Liberty: The Meaning and Use of a National Symbol - EDSITEment

Grades
3 to 7
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This online unit plan includes seven lesson plans plus extension activities. The topics all relate to the Statue of Liberty and national symbols. Specific lesson plan topics include...more
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This online unit plan includes seven lesson plans plus extension activities. The topics all relate to the Statue of Liberty and national symbols. Specific lesson plan topics include "Isn't it Symbolic," "A Mighty Women with a Torch," "Built-in Symbols," "Using the Symbol," "Choose a Symbol, any Symbol," "Create a Symbol," "The United States Symbol," and various lesson extensions. There are objectives provided, but formal standards are not listed. Many of the lesson plans include interactive components. Some of the activities require FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): symbols (19)

In the Classroom

If you are learning about the Statue of Liberty or national symbols in general, visit this useful online unit. Even if you don't have time to complete the entire unit, you can "cherry pick" the good stuff. The activities are ready to go and very simple to use. Why not use your interactive whiteboard to share some of the unique pictures and activities available at this website.
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Exploring Online: The Sweet Lure of Chocolate - Exploratorium Magazine

Grades
3 to 8
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If your class is studying chocolate or investigating nutrition or agriculture, look no further than this website dedicated to this delicious delicacy. Some of the unique topics include...more
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If your class is studying chocolate or investigating nutrition or agriculture, look no further than this website dedicated to this delicious delicacy. Some of the unique topics include "Chocolate in the Forest" (which takes students to the Amazon rainforest), the health risks and benefits of chocolate, the history of chocolate, and many other "yummy" bits (or bites) of information. Some of the articles feature interactive elements that require Real Video. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): aztecs (8), chocolate (7), mayans (12), nutrition (154)

In the Classroom

There are numerous ways that this website could be incorporated into the classroom. Why not have a class debates about whether chocolate is healthy or hurtful to the human body? This website also presents concise and diverse research that could be used for independent projects.
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Xpedition Hall - National Geographic

Grades
K to 12
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National Geographic provides this interactive "Xpedition Hall" as a way of guiding students through the complex interplay among physical geography, culture, migration, and environment....more
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National Geographic provides this interactive "Xpedition Hall" as a way of guiding students through the complex interplay among physical geography, culture, migration, and environment. Using QuickTime, students can explore a virtual museum and select a variety of activities, each of which is tied to national geography standards, and has associated lesson plans. There are lesson plans available for grades K-12. The site does a nice job of integrating art, animation and photography to illustrate these connections. There is also an extensive teacher's guide. Although the virtual museum is designed for secondary grades, there are activities and lesson plans available for all grades. The site is particularly useful for integrating geography into lessons from related curriculum areas like history, economics or science. In particular, the "Human Systems" section of the site does a nice job of tying geography into issues of migration and immigration in recent history.

tag(s): immigration (58), maps (288), migration (59)

In the Classroom

You might consider using some of the activities for the entire class on an interactive whiteboard (or projector). Students could also use the site for self-exploration, either in a computer lab, or from home.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Biographical Dictionary - s9.com

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3 to 12
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This Wikipedia-type dictionary includes more than 33,000 biographies on men and women from ancient times to today. Search by birth or death dates, professions, achievements, name or...more
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This Wikipedia-type dictionary includes more than 33,000 biographies on men and women from ancient times to today. Search by birth or death dates, professions, achievements, name or other keywords. Anyone can register to edit or add to a biography. If you do recommend this site as a source for research, be sure to have the discussion about its unknown authorship and usefulness as a general information tool but not as a "scholarly" resource.

tag(s): critical thinking (108)

In the Classroom

This site could be a terrific way to publish student research projects to the real world. When you assign research projects on a famous scientist, author, famous American, musician, etc., have students create their written projects in a format that will fit into this online dictionary, including providing links and references for their information. Younger students could write an entry together as a class (perhaps on an author whose book you have just read). Challenge middle and high school students to find articles in your research area that contain possible inaccuracies or bias (and the research to prove it) and present both the original and their proposed changes to the class before putting them online. What a critical thinking challenge!

Be sure to follow your district's acceptable use policy if you are allowing students to contribute to this site. Make sure you have written parent permission to post student work online.

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Way Back: Flight - WGBH for PBS

Grades
3 to 8
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This interactive website (created by PBS) presents the history of flight. What a fabulous way to integrate history, science, inventions, research, and writing. Click your way through...more
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This interactive website (created by PBS) presents the history of flight. What a fabulous way to integrate history, science, inventions, research, and writing. Click your way through the notable and not-so-notable flight pioneers. Other highlights of this website include a wealth of information about the Wright Brothers, a modern day female barnstormer, "joke" links, and more.

tag(s): flight (36), inventors and inventions (101), wright brothers (25)

In the Classroom

Use the "People to Know" section as a model for a class activity on any science or history topic. Share this section of the Flight site on a projector or whiteboard during your inventions or Famous Americans unit. Then, in your next unit, have students write about an important figure without his/her name and ask others to guess who it might be. Put the writings on your class blog or wiki and have other students respond with their guesses.
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Way Back: Summer Vacation - WGBH for PBS

Grades
4 to 8
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"Travel" is perhaps a better name for this site. No matter what time of year, students love to dream of vacation and plan a fantasy trip. Explore destinations in the ...more
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"Travel" is perhaps a better name for this site. No matter what time of year, students love to dream of vacation and plan a fantasy trip. Explore destinations in the USA through reading the information at these links--and don't forget to send postcards along the way. Three links feature information on car camping, Miami Beach, and summer camp. Definitely check out Tim Hollis' interview in the 'Buzz' section. He discusses some out-of-the-way places to vacation in the south. Can your class make their own list of lesser-known places to explore in your local area?

This site is a good companion to TeachersFirst's own 50 States, where the "Sites to see" for each state include some lesser-known and intriguing options, as well.

tag(s): summer (12)

In the Classroom

As your class learns about places in America, they can make their own 'road trip map' just like the featured one at this site or use a wiki as a class trip-planner. If you use Google Earth, you could create placemarkers with student's own writings, then play the "tour." Or, perhaps your students can simply choose one of the 13 destinations on this site to research further.
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Comments

sounds like a great add on to my see the USA project. Susan, NJ, Grades: 0 - 3

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Time Line Maker - Teachnology

Grades
1 to 5
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This site provides a quick and easy way to create a time line. Clear, step-by-step directions explain the process in language that even younger students can follow. Time lines cannot...more
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This site provides a quick and easy way to create a time line. Clear, step-by-step directions explain the process in language that even younger students can follow. Time lines cannot be saved, but can be printed horizontally (6 events) or vertically (9 events).

In the Classroom

Sign up to use the computer lab or laptops for students to complete a time line of their life or other topic, such as an animal life cycle or a biorgaphy of a famous person.

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Ultimate rollercoasters.com - ultimaterollercoaster.com

Grades
4 to 12
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Although this website doesn't have a lot of "bells and whistles." It is very useful to learn more about the physics behind thrill rides, the history of the roller coaster, ...more
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Although this website doesn't have a lot of "bells and whistles." It is very useful to learn more about the physics behind thrill rides, the history of the roller coaster, and more. The site provides statistical information, historical information, construction information, and more about various thrill rides (mainly roller coasters). Did you ever wonder what the tallest steel roller coaster was in the world? This website provides a "record book" with a wide variety of statistical information about what roller coasters can claim to be the tallest, longest, fastest, and more.

tag(s): roller coasters (3)

In the Classroom

This website could also be used for various research projects (either researching actual roller coasters - their history, structure, speed, etc..), or even researching different time periods and the types of rides that were available during that time. If you study laws of motion, assign students to find "real world" examples of the laws in action using research on this site. Ignore the annoying pop-ups!

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The Search for Monsters of Mystery - National Geographic Kids

Grades
3 to 8
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Terrifically "scary," this website thrills students with information about various monsters. Students learn the geographic location and numerous facts about several famous "monsters"....more
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Terrifically "scary," this website thrills students with information about various monsters. Students learn the geographic location and numerous facts about several famous "monsters". The fascinating study includes Bigfoot, Nessie, Storsie, Yeti, Champ, and Mokele-Mbembe. Note: Some of the information on the monsters comes up in pop-ups. Turn off any pop-up blockers (this would include those that work as part of the Google or Yahoo toolbar).

tag(s): halloween (40), holidays (147)

In the Classroom

Use this website as a starting point for researching the history of famous monsters. This is a great way to teach about fact vs fiction and the information literacy skill of evaluating web site reliability, using a topic that students will love. After they collect facts, have a monster "trial" in your classroom "courthouse" where two teams try to prove that each monster is FACT or FICTION, using "evidence" from this site and further research. Differentiate the tasks by assigning some of your brighter students to conduct the questioning (and perhaps challenge the web sources). Then have a the class-member "jury" reach a verdict: Fact or Fiction?

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Way Back: Stand Up For Your Rights - WGBH for PBS

Grades
4 to 8
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Boost understanding of civil rights issues by reading the interviews and playing the games at this site. Choose answers from interactive games, then read biographies of civil rights...more
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Boost understanding of civil rights issues by reading the interviews and playing the games at this site. Choose answers from interactive games, then read biographies of civil rights leaders in various issues --from farm workers to black rights. An extensive interview by Melba Beals (one of the Little Rock Nine), articles on women's rights, and religious freedom round out this site on civil rights in America.

tag(s): civil rights (117), women (101)

In the Classroom

Students will enjoy competition from the interactive games when presented on the whiteboard. This site is a great starting place for reports or in-class investigations on the featured civil rights leaders. Start a "What's Right is Rights" wiki for students to share their new knowledge and connect it to their study of the Constitution.
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Way Back: Family Ties - WGBH for PBS

Grades
4 to 8
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Doing a unit on Family Ties or family history? Download the Family Tree Maker (or use the online vesion) so you can record your family's roots. Or, read ...more
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Doing a unit on Family Ties or family history? Download the Family Tree Maker (or use the online vesion) so you can record your family's roots. Or, read about the Still family who has one of the longest running family reunions in America. Take the interactive quiz about "Keeping in Touch," communication avenues through our history.

tag(s): family (59)

In the Classroom

Make sure your students use the downloadable family tree maker, since the online version erases data when you click off the site. Check out the Teachers and Parents section for more family ties activities. This site could also be an effective adjunct to literature study of books about family. You might even want to create family trees of characters from books students are reading or famous families from history in a biography unit.
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Alphabet Organizer - Read Write Think (Iron Monkey Interactive)

Grades
K to 12
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This Alphabet Organizer makes learning words and terminology exciting-- and organized. All levels may use this--from primary students learning the alphabet to secondary students learning...more
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This Alphabet Organizer makes learning words and terminology exciting-- and organized. All levels may use this--from primary students learning the alphabet to secondary students learning advanced vocabulary. On the interactive keypad, key in the beginning letter of a word. Key in the rest of the word on the blanks provided. You also have the option of typing in the word's meaning. When your list is entered, you may choose a booklet or a chart format for the presentation of your information. Studying content-area words or vocabulary meanings have never been so easy.

tag(s): alphabet (92), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Think outside the 'box' when considering this application. Teachers may opt to teach the elements of the story through entering character traits, setting, plot events, etc., then printing a chart to teach those concepts. Special Ed or ESL/ELL teachers and teachers will love using this organizer to help students organize new words they must learn. If students use a three-ring notebook, new words can be added over time. Mark this tool as a favorite on your classroom computer for students to access as needed.
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firstfind.info - Westchester Library System

Grades
3 to 8
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This site offers a quick way to find basic information on many topics written in very simple English. There are 9 major topic areas which users can choose from ...more
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This site offers a quick way to find basic information on many topics written in very simple English. There are 9 major topic areas which users can choose from and each area has a variety of inside divisions. Of particular interest to K-12 students would be Government, History, Travel (includes maps), and Health. Especially useful for ESL students are the online magazines written in simplified language and the dictionary link.

In the Classroom

Suggest this site to your students from other countries when they are assigned a research project. Keep this one in Favorites on your teacher web page or classroom computers for ESL students to use the Dictionary or find simplified information on your government, history and health lessons. Special Ed teachers with students of low reading ability can also find adapted resources here.

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Social Studies for Kids

Grades
1 to 8
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This is a general "go-to" website all about social studies. There is information about current events, culture, holidays, languages, religion, economics, geography, maps, government,...more
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This is a general "go-to" website all about social studies. There is information about current events, culture, holidays, languages, religion, economics, geography, maps, government, U.S. presidents, timelines, and many other social studies topics. The highlight of this website is the Current Events segment. This is an easy way to incorporate age-appropriate current events in your classroom.
Note: an annoying audio ad plays when you first enter the site. Turn OFF your sound!

tag(s): holidays (147), maps (288), presidents (130), renaissance (34), timelines (62)

In the Classroom

Use the current events segment as weekly discussion starter or assignment in your social studies class. Share this link on your teacher web page for students to access outside of class. To really build a stronger sense of current events, start a class year-long current events "log" on a wiki and have a differnet student write a "week in review" each week throughout the year, based on the current events provided here or others he/she may know about. Reading teachers may also want to use the articles on this site to teach informational text reading skills on an interactive whiteboard. Reading levels are challenging for grades 1-3. Teachers will need to provide help by reading aloud or partnering readers.

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World News - WN Network

Grades
4 to 12
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This is a wonderful compilation site of news from all over the world. Users can read the home page or search news of a specific geographic region. An ...more
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This is a wonderful compilation site of news from all over the world. Users can read the home page or search news of a specific geographic region. An excellent plus here is the ability to choose to read the news in a variety of languages. World Photos today, multimedia, global weather, and sports are just a few of the many attractive sections that add to this site's appeal.

tag(s): news (261)

In the Classroom

Share this site with your school's foreign language teachers. Have students do comparisons between English and foreign language versions of the news. If you teach writing, you can find controversial topics as writing prompts for persuasive writing among the articles, as well, and have students find facts to support their positions. Make this site available from your teacher web page for current events assignments. Reading teachers will want to use the articles on an interactive whiteboard to teach main idea and summarizing: highlight key words to use in a main idea or summary sentence you write together below the article.

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American Centuries ...view from New England - Memorial Hall Museum Online

Grades
4 to 12
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There is so much to explore on this site, you will need to place limitations on it! Digital Collections of everything from clothing to chronology, turns of the century exhibits, ...more
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There is so much to explore on this site, you will need to place limitations on it! Digital Collections of everything from clothing to chronology, turns of the century exhibits, in the classroom activities, curricula, New England architecture and tools, manuscripts from people who lived in the time-- this site is truly a museum on the web made student-friendly. The activities section is full of ways to involve students with real objects from history. Students can actually hear some of the artists and writers reading their own words -- which is remarkable. If you teach American literature or history or are interested in artifacts from the past, this is a great site. If you choose, you or your students can create a login and save to "my collection." Many sections require Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): colonial america (107), england (57), slavery (72)

In the Classroom

If you plan to share objects as part of a lesson "collect" them in a personal collection so you can pull them up easily. Challenge secondary students to use the activity labeled "Create a chronology" to group artifacts from the collections to illustrate a concept, such as slavery, clothing, or background of an author, artist, or historical event. With younger students, use one or more of the activities on an interactive whiteboard or projector or design a simple scavenger hunt within YOUR collection of objects for students to find out about colonial life and times. If you turn them loose on the entire site, you will never get them back.
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What's Changed? - BBC

Grades
1 to 3
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If you teaching about life 100-years ago or about life on the farm, use this simple web challenge that asks students to find the five items in the picture ...more
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If you teaching about life 100-years ago or about life on the farm, use this simple web challenge that asks students to find the five items in the picture that would not have been around in the "olden days." Be sure to click on the "Play Game with Explanations". As the students click on the items that have been invented/discovered in the past 100-years, the narrator provides the students with some background information about the objects. The site is British, so American students may make comments about the pronunciations. The website provides general standards (find them by visiting the "Parents/Teachers" link). The entire activity requires Flash, get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): energy (197), transportation (40)

In the Classroom

The activity would work well as a learning center for small groups. Have the students keep a list of the five items that have changed, and then discuss the findings as a class once all groups have completed the challenge. Extend the discussion by having students survey at home and bring in additional "new" item ideas for a long class list or bulletin board. Maybe even add digital pictures.
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