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A 9.11 Moment - ITS

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8 to 12
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How has American life changed since September 11, 2001? This collection of short, reflective videos captures the thoughts and reactions of dozens of individuals, from all walks of life,...more
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How has American life changed since September 11, 2001? This collection of short, reflective videos captures the thoughts and reactions of dozens of individuals, from all walks of life, who ponder the effect of "the tragedy that shook the world." Click on the "video synopses" link to learn about the background and content of each clip. A great primer for class discussions.

tag(s): sept11 (21), terrorism (49)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on the interactive whiteboard to introduce a unit on 9/11 and the events that followed immediately afterward. Have students explore the site in cooperative learning groups, listening to as many of the class videos as they can in the time allotted. To show what they have learned from this site, challenge students to create an online graphic to share using Tabblo reviewed here. Be sure to include headphones so the various groups don't distract each other.

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National Museum of the American Indian - Smithsonian

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8 to 12
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The only national museum dedicated to the Native people of the Americas provides this beautiful collection of online multimedia exhibitions on a variety of cultural and historical subjects....more
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The only national museum dedicated to the Native people of the Americas provides this beautiful collection of online multimedia exhibitions on a variety of cultural and historical subjects. The Education link offers downloadable classroom guides and gentle suggestions on how to avoid stereotyping when teaching your students about Native American culture. Although the site strongly emphasizes artistic contributions of Native Americans, several exhibits (Who Stole the Tee Pee?) examine the tragic loss of native traditions at the hands of social reformers.

tag(s): india (36)

In the Classroom

Use the images on this site to create a picture walk in your classroom during a unit on Native American culture. Select 10-15 of the more descriptive and diverse images, hanging them around the classroom in different places. Have students rotate around the classroom, moving every 30-45 seconds jotting down what they see in each image. At the end of the walk, have a class discussion based on what students saw in the images and what the walk has portrayed about Native American culture in the time period being studied. This is a great way to introduce the unit in a non-lecture format.

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Nostalgia Central

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8 to 12
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Students can gain insight into the fads, fashions, movies, and music that formed the fabric of America during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Year-by-year synopses feature calendars that...more
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Students can gain insight into the fads, fashions, movies, and music that formed the fabric of America during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Year-by-year synopses feature calendars that highlight political and cultural events. This is a great resource for gaining an understanding of American life during the mid to late 20th century.

tag(s): 1960s (30), 1970s (12), 1980s (9)

In the Classroom

Use this site to teach students about the counter-culture movement of the 60's in a non-lecture format. Use this site on the interactive whiteboard to showcase popular culture in that decade. This would be a great resource for a US history course focusing on the modern century.

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The Mighty Mississippi - MSNBC

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8 to 12
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The history and splendor of one of America's most storied rivers is brought to life in this elegant site by MSNBC. An August 2004 trek down the full length ...more
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The history and splendor of one of America's most storied rivers is brought to life in this elegant site by MSNBC. An August 2004 trek down the full length of the Mississippi is carefully documented and interwoven with information about the geology, economic impact, navigation, history, and exploration of the river. A short video highlights the history of the Mississippi, from the days of its earliest explorers to the present. Each segment of the site offers slideshows, video, photographs, descriptive text, and interactive quizzes. Add this resource to an American history or geography lesson, or incorporate it into a literature unit on Mark Twain.

tag(s): literature (275), mark twain (10), mississippi (6)

In the Classroom

For a history classroom, use this site to complement almost a year long class of American History. Starting with the Louisiana purchase, the Mississippi became a vital component of American trade and settlement patterns, all of which can be reflected by the variety of stories found on every mile southward. With every unit in a history class, there is a mile on the Mississippi that is applicable. Tie in unit endings with the free resources offered by MSNBC, whether it be video, slides, quizzes or a story. Students will enjoy seeing the impacts of history in our world today!
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Vote: The Machinery of Democracy - Smithsonian

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7 to 12
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Voting methods in the United States are examined in this beautifully designed on-line exhibit created by the Museum of American History. The varied practices within individual states...more
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Voting methods in the United States are examined in this beautifully designed on-line exhibit created by the Museum of American History. The varied practices within individual states are explored as well as the historical evolution of our ballots and voting systems. Use this site to help students understand the Florida 2000 crisis, as well as the role technology and innovation have played in shaping our experiences at the polls. Although this resource was created for the 2000 election, the background information is valuable for teaching about elections in general and for comparing elections as part of U.S. history. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

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

In the Classroom

Use the interactive exhibition portion of this site as a learning center or station during a unit on the US election process. (extra bonus if your class is specifically studying the 2000 election!)Have cooperative learning groups create podcasts demonstrating their understanding of one of the concepts. Use a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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80 Days that Changed the World - CNN

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8 to 12
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Major events in 20th century history are presented in this impressive CNN site. Visitors can select an era, choose an event, and read a brief synopsis. The video gallery offers ...more
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Major events in 20th century history are presented in this impressive CNN site. Visitors can select an era, choose an event, and read a brief synopsis. The video gallery offers a collection of riveting clips, including the Oklahoma City bombing, the Great Crash of 1929, and the fall of Saigon. Follow the link to a Time Magazine site to find special reports on life-changing events that have taken place over the course of the past eight decades. This is an outstanding supplement to a 20th century American history class.

tag(s): stock market (13), vietnam (36)

In the Classroom

This site requires FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
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Apollo 11 - 35 Years Later - NASA

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4 to 12
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It's July 20, 1969 and millions of Americans are glued to their television watching Neil Armstrong take that first historic step on the surface of the moon. This multimedia NASA ...more
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It's July 20, 1969 and millions of Americans are glued to their television watching Neil Armstrong take that first historic step on the surface of the moon. This multimedia NASA site recreates that Apollo 11 mission, from its launch to its splashdown. Students can view vintage photographs, listen to the mission's audio recording, browse news articles, and tour the video gallery.

tag(s): moon (72)

In the Classroom

Use the video clips over the interactive whiteboard to supplement the text in discussing the Apollo missions. The clip of the first landing would be a great way to introduce the topic, putting all students at the same level of understanding before beginning a lecture or class discussion. Great resource for a US history classroom!
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What was the exchange Rate Then? - Economic History Service

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9 to 12
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Add a little bit of economic reality to a 20th century American history lesson. Just choose a country and year, and this site will provide exchange rate data between the ...more
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Add a little bit of economic reality to a 20th century American history lesson. Just choose a country and year, and this site will provide exchange rate data between the United State dollar and foreign currency. Changes in currency units for countries throughout the world and links to related resources are included.

tag(s): currency (19)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an aid for discussing the price differences and comparisons between todays world and now. This information would be great when discussing early American history, when most books and colonizers make reference to British currency. Teachers can either translate the currency before class, or can have students complete it as an in-class activity. One way to do so would be to find a primary document or textbook article that mentions the severity of a tax on the 13 colonies. Have students complete the calculator to find out what colonists were really paying in comparison to what British-bound citizens were paying. use this to spur a discussion that then pro's and con's how severe taxes were and whether they were ample reason to revolt against Great Britiain.

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Humor's Edge: Cartoons by Ann Telnaes - Library of Congress

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9 to 12
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This site features the Pulitzer Prize-winning talent of Ann Telnaes, a contemporary political cartoonist who accurately depicts the drama and news of the day with clarity and wit. Use...more
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This site features the Pulitzer Prize-winning talent of Ann Telnaes, a contemporary political cartoonist who accurately depicts the drama and news of the day with clarity and wit. Use these online examples from Library of Congress exhibit to introduce current political issues or challenge your students to design their own political cartoons.

In the Classroom

Use the images on this site to discuss the role political cartoons can play in US government. Select a few of Telnaes's images, displaying them over the projector. Have a class discussion about the images, discussing perspectives, effects and what is being portrayed by the cartoons. This is a great way to discover how humor can affect opinions, and dissect how it is done.

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Alexander Hamilton: The Man Who Made Modern America - NY Historical Society

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7 to 12
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He's more than just a pretty face on the $10 bill! Alexander Hamilton's life and influence are examined in this site that presents a timeline of events during and after ...more
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He's more than just a pretty face on the $10 bill! Alexander Hamilton's life and influence are examined in this site that presents a timeline of events during and after his life, highlights from his writings, and a biographical gallery of his peers. Visitors can even test their knowledge of his life and accomplishments with a twenty-question interactive quiz. This is probably more information than your students need to know about Mr. Hamilton, but the site provides a unique approach to understanding some significant events in American history.

tag(s): constitution (79)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a introductory activity for a lesson on the founding fathers. Introduce this site on the interactive whiteboard or projector before allowing students to explore it on their own. We recommend creating a graphic organizer or follow-along for the website to insure students are getting the most out of it. What is great about it is that it provides students with a lot of historical and biographical information about Hamilton. This would be a great resource for a US history or Civics class.

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They Made America - WGBH

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7 to 12
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Although this is a companion site to a PBS mini-series airing in November 2004, the content easily stands alone. Students can investigate the stories of influential "great minds" whose...more
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Although this is a companion site to a PBS mini-series airing in November 2004, the content easily stands alone. Students can investigate the stories of influential "great minds" whose entrepreneurial spirits dramatically affected American industry and culture and then play an NCAA-style "tournament" to isolate the most influential innovator. Information can be accessed via an index, an interactive map of the United States, or a timeline which juxtaposes American innovations and major events in history.

tag(s): inventors and inventions (97), scientists (69)

In the Classroom

Use the free lesson plans and activities offered on this site! Use this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge as you start your study of the Invention Era. This would be helpful for a a US history class.
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1904 World's Fair - Missouri Historical Society

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7 to 12
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Experience the charm, excitement, and innovation of turn-of-the-century America with this delightful trip back through time to the St. Louis World's Fair. This impressive site pays...more
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Experience the charm, excitement, and innovation of turn-of-the-century America with this delightful trip back through time to the St. Louis World's Fair. This impressive site pays homage to this monumental event, held to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase. Visitors can take a birds-eye virtual tour of the fair and explore over 20 of the structures, investigate "the Pike", and check out many of the innovations and oddities found along the way. The historical significant of the fair and its effect on American culture is also discussed. The period photographs, alone, make this a valuable resource for a unit on the Gilded Age or Progressive Era.

tag(s): air (163)

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Core Documents of U.S. Democracy - Government Printing Office

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7 to 12
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Access current and historical U.S. government documents with the click of a mouse. This electronic collection includes the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Gettysburg Address, Emancipation...more
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Access current and historical U.S. government documents with the click of a mouse. This electronic collection includes the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Gettysburg Address, Emancipation Proclamation, as well as Supreme Court decisions, the Budget of the United States Government, and so much more. Selected and authenticated by the Government Printing Office's GPO Access service.

tag(s): american revolution (86)

In the Classroom

Use this as a resource for research projects or papers, particularly those debating a specific court decision or amendment. Useful resource for a US government class!

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Time and Life Pictures - Getty Images

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7 to 12
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Art, Literature, U.S. History - Works by some of the greatest photographers of the 20th century are represented in this massive collection of powerful images documenting memorable events...more
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Art, Literature, U.S. History - Works by some of the greatest photographers of the 20th century are represented in this massive collection of powerful images documenting memorable events in American politics and culture. Project selected photos in class to introduce an event in history, inspire student photographers, or introduce a writing prompt. The sight is searchable and quite user-friendly. A fee is required to download images.

tag(s): photography (160)

In the Classroom

Use the photos found in this site for writing prompts. Search within the site or browse the subjects offered to find one that corresponds to a unit being studied. A good example would be the images taken of the Great Depression. Pull up a select few of the images and prompt students to tell the story of what is happening in the image, the emotions seen, and what kind of impact this is meant to have of the viewer. An activity like this does require some background knowledge so this might better suited towards the end of a unit as review. This site would benefit teachers of nearly any subject, especially history, language arts, civics and science.

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Childe Hassam: American Impressionist - Metropolitan Museum of Art

Grades
9 to 12
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Take your art students on a virtual tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art with this impressive retrospective highlighting the work of Childe Hassam, one of America's leading impressionist...more
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Take your art students on a virtual tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art with this impressive retrospective highlighting the work of Childe Hassam, one of America's leading impressionist artists. More than 120 oil paintings, watercolors, pastels and prints are featured, depicting nostalgic views of well-known sites across America and Europe. Details of each image can be explored with the click of a mouse, and descriptive captions are provided for each work. A lengthy chronology of Hassam's life is included along with an excerpt from a delightful silent film (produced by the Met in 1932) about the artist. Portions of this site would be quite at home in an American history class! Be sure to investigate the "Family Feature" link which offers an interactive "Meet the Artist" activity, timeline, and several "Closer Look" activities designed for younger students.

tag(s): artists (74), painting (66)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an introductory activity on the interactive whiteboard to impressionism in the US. The images on the site are excellent representations of impressionism and can be used as examples to help students characterize it.

Divide students into cooperative learning groups to explore the site. Have them compare and contrast what they note about impressionism to other styles that have been studied before in class. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here). Have students print out their diagrams OR display their findings on the interactive whiteboard to their peers.

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Gettysburg National Military Park Virtual Tour - National Park Service

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7 to 12
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The story of the decisive battle of Gettysburg is told through battle images, tactical diagrams, biographies and eyewitness accounts. Distinctive sections provide insight on each day...more
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The story of the decisive battle of Gettysburg is told through battle images, tactical diagrams, biographies and eyewitness accounts. Distinctive sections provide insight on each day of the battle and allow visitors to "tour" the actual sites involved in the conflict. Students can experience the historical value of primary source information when they click on "Voices of Battle" link, which includes reminiscences from those who witnessed the bloodshed. While this site provides a beautifully detailed account of the battle, students may become bogged down by the extensive text. Use as a resource for in-class research, or as the focus of a Web hunt activity.

tag(s): civil war (145), gettysburg (26)

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Famous Moments in Early American History

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6 to 12
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These eight, high-quality mini-movies highlight true stories of historical significance using scenes and portraits from Early America. Titles include "The Ben Franklin Story," "Declaring...more
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These eight, high-quality mini-movies highlight true stories of historical significance using scenes and portraits from Early America. Titles include "The Ben Franklin Story," "Declaring Independence," "The Treason of Benedict Arnold," "Paul Revere - Messenger of the Revolution," and more! Project in the classroom, or take your students to the computer lab for an impressive multimedia experience. A high speed connection is a must!

tag(s): colonial america (107), declaration of independence (13), franklin (12)

In the Classroom

Use these quick videos as a way to either review or introduce the American Revolution in your classroom. There is a lot of material in here, so we recommend creating some kind of graphic organizer or follow-along to help students digest and remember what's important.
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Death of the Dream - KTCA

Grades
9 to 12
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This Website presents the stories behind the farms, homes, people, and culture of Midwestern America. The American Dream is traced through historical photographs documenting the booming...more
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This Website presents the stories behind the farms, homes, people, and culture of Midwestern America. The American Dream is traced through historical photographs documenting the booming family farms that once dotted the landscape. Students can take a virtual tour of a prairie farmhouse, and explore the "literary connection" by following links to classic works inspired by rural America. This would be an excellent addition to a unit on westward expansion or twentieth century American literature.

tag(s): agriculture (55)

In the Classroom

Use the "virtual farmhouse" as a learning center or station during a unit on Westward expansion or while establishing background for the Dustbowl. If using to provide context for the Great Depression, have students compare the prairie of the site to what the prairie turned into during the great drought of the 30's. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here). Using the tool, students can create their own in groups or do it as a class on the interactive whiteboard.
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Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga - Smithsonian Natural History Museum

Grades
5 to 12
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Climb aboard your own longship and take an amazing journey across the stormy Atlantic! The Viking Voyage, a narrated multi-media journey, is an amazing feature in this impressive online...more
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Climb aboard your own longship and take an amazing journey across the stormy Atlantic! The Viking Voyage, a narrated multi-media journey, is an amazing feature in this impressive online exhibition that documents the arrival of the Norsemen in the New World more than 1000 years ago. As the fascinating saga unfolds, students can learn how archaeology, saga studies, environmental studies, and human genetics have changed our understanding of the Vikings. This is a site to be explored in the computer lab with stereo headphones.

tag(s): ireland (12), vikings (10)

In the Classroom

Use the exhibit portion of this site as a learning center or station during a unit on the Vikings. For help creating a graphic organizer to accompany the center, we recommend using Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here).In the learning center there are also guides for both parents and teachers on how to use the site, so be sure to look for free lesson plans or classroom activities. This would be a helpful site for a world history classroom.
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Liberty! The American Revolution - PBS

Grades
7 to 12
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This outstanding resource provides students with a concise understanding of the establishment of the American republic - from the earliest rumblings of rebellion, to the creation of...more
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This outstanding resource provides students with a concise understanding of the establishment of the American republic - from the earliest rumblings of rebellion, to the creation of the Constitution. Although a companion to a PBS mini-series, the site is filled with fascinating information, interactive maps, and lesson plans that can easily stand alone. Click on "Chronicle of Revolution" to find a collection of newspaper articles that focus on historical headlines. An assortment of interactive activities allows students to experience daily life in the colonies, discover the differences between American and British soldiers, and test their "Revolutionary" knowledge. If the American Revolution is part of your curriculum, consider incorporating this well-organized resource into your classroom plans.

tag(s): american revolution (86), colonial america (107), evolution (100)

In the Classroom

Under the "Teachers Guide" section, there are 6 pre-prepared lessons or extended units based on different aspects of the revolution. Each Teacher Guide comes with standards, resources and extension activities if you think it could or should last longer in the classroom. Be sure to take a look at this site if covering any aspect of the American Revolution, regardless of the subject.

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