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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 (107), 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.

Grades
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 (180), african american (113), civil rights (117), speech (92), 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

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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 (107), 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 (88), inventors and inventions (97)

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

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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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African American World - WNET

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6 to 12
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African American culture, history, and experiences are highlighted in this beautifully designed site that explores the courage, talent, and influence of individuals like Sojourner Truth,...more
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African American culture, history, and experiences are highlighted in this beautifully designed site that explores the courage, talent, and influence of individuals like Sojourner Truth, Jacob Lawrence, Duke Ellington, and more. Organized around four main themes - history, arts and culture, race and society, and profiles, the site offers an illustrated, interactive time line - perfect for student research, a "Classroom" section filled with lesson plans and activities, and Brainteaser Quizzes in each of the content sections. Also includes a series of interactive discussion boards. Use these with caution.

tag(s): africa (180), african american (113), slavery (72)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and activities offered in the "Classroom" section of this site! For the younger grades, there is also a kids center that would make a great learning center or station. Save it as a favorite on classroom computers to allow students to access it.

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What Coal Miners Do - UMWA

Grades
7 to 9
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Learn about the realities, dangers, and hardships of work in a mine with this brief, illustrated guide. Along with descriptions of types of coal mines, mining techniques, and related...more
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Learn about the realities, dangers, and hardships of work in a mine with this brief, illustrated guide. Along with descriptions of types of coal mines, mining techniques, and related jobs, the site includes current and vintage photographs of coal miners at work.

tag(s): coal (14)

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Life in a Coal Mining Town

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4 to 12
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The January, 2006, mine tragedy in West Virginia is a reminder that the dangers of mining coal have changed very little in the last 150 years. American dependence on this ...more
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The January, 2006, mine tragedy in West Virginia is a reminder that the dangers of mining coal have changed very little in the last 150 years. American dependence on this fuel remains high, despite moves by other industrialized nations to other fuels. This site chronicles the life and memories of miners in a Pennsylvania coal town in the early 20th century. It offers a personalized look at a hard life.

tag(s): coal (14), energy (198)

In the Classroom

Use the "McIntyre" portion of this site as a learning center or station during a lesson on coal's predominance in the 20th century and what the life of a miner was like. Assign cooperative learning groups different portions of the site, with the intentions of summarizing the main points to teach their peers about their separate sections. Have students use a mapping tool such as Mapskip (reviewed here) to create a map of local landforms (with audio stories and pictures included)!

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Quiz Tree - Sierra Vista Software

Grades
1 to 12
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You'll find a huge collection of interactive quizzes on this site, testing student comprehension in many subject areas, including elementary math, foreign language (Spanish, French,...more
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You'll find a huge collection of interactive quizzes on this site, testing student comprehension in many subject areas, including elementary math, foreign language (Spanish, French, Italian), SAT content, science, history, and economics. Some quizzes are multiple choice, others drag-and-drop, but all offer immediate feedback with sound effects. Some quizzes use FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): quiz (84), quizzes (96)

In the Classroom

A great resource for reviewing content or investigating new information. Headphones highly recommended.
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My America Field Trip - Tramline

Grades
4 to 7
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Step through this virtual field trip to "visit" some of America's most treasured national symbols - including the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Mount Rushmore, Ft. McHenry, and much...more
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Step through this virtual field trip to "visit" some of America's most treasured national symbols - including the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Mount Rushmore, Ft. McHenry, and much more . Includes a list of vocabulary words that may be encountered along the journey and some rather interesting "side trips." This is a "ready to go" activity, but you may wish to add a scavenger hunt component to focus your students as they explore.

tag(s): landmarks (26), symbols (19)

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Remembering Rosa Parks - Academy of Achievement

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6 to 12
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Rosa Parks' confrontation on a Birmingham, AL, bus helped spark the American civil rights movement. Her death in October, 2005, offered an opportunity to remember that contribution...more
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Rosa Parks' confrontation on a Birmingham, AL, bus helped spark the American civil rights movement. Her death in October, 2005, offered an opportunity to remember that contribution to American society. This site's biography offers background on the story that could be used in a number of instructional settings.

tag(s): africa (180), african american (113), civil rights (117), rosa parks (6)

In the Classroom

Within the site is an interview with Parks, in which she accounts segregation in her childhood as well as the bus boycott that made her so famous. Play this for students during a unit on the Civil Rights movement in place of a lecture, or afterwards to review the content.

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History of Halloween - History Channel

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5 to 8
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Turn Halloween into a history lesson with this History Channel site that traces its origin from an ancient Celtic festival to the modern-day practices of trick-or-treating and Jack-o'-lantern...more
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Turn Halloween into a history lesson with this History Channel site that traces its origin from an ancient Celtic festival to the modern-day practices of trick-or-treating and Jack-o'-lantern carving. Includes some hauntingly intriguing video clips (some with specific ties to American history), ghost stories, and recipes.

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

In the Classroom

This is a great site to show students how history can impact their everyday! One good project would be to use this site as an introduction to Halloween activities. Introduce the site on the interactive whiteboard or projector. There are several different "histories" on the site, such as the history of the Jack o'Lantern, or the origins of Halloween, or the origins of several ghost stories. Have students look at the site in pairs, and create a poster of what they thought were the most interesting facts. We recommend a site such as Padlet (reviewed here). Have students display their posters, and then use the free craft ideas offered to celebrate the holiday in your class!

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The Journey of Christopher Columbus - McGraw-Hill

Grades
5 to 7
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Follow Christopher Columbus on his 1492 journey to the new world with this informational site that reveals details of his life before the voyage, excerpts from his journals, a timeline,...more
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Follow Christopher Columbus on his 1492 journey to the new world with this informational site that reveals details of his life before the voyage, excerpts from his journals, a timeline, descriptions of the native people he encountered, and his activities after his return. Nice resource for a unit on explorers.

tag(s): explorers (61)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center or station during a unit on the famous explorer. Because of the large amount of information, this activity would work best with a guide to highlight for students what is most important. For help creating such graphic organizers, we recommend using Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here). This would be a useful resource within a US history classroom.

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State and Regional Folk Tales - S.E. Schlosser

Grades
5 to 7
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This repository of folk tales from throughout the United States, organized by state and region, provides students with a great literary tapestry of American culture. Add to a unit on...more
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This repository of folk tales from throughout the United States, organized by state and region, provides students with a great literary tapestry of American culture. Add to a unit on your state's history, or use to supplement your reading curriculum. You MUST have Flash to see this site. Requires Internet Explorer 5 or higher, or you can use the most current version of other browsers (see HELP link at the bottom of the Art 21 page for more information).

tag(s): states (162)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on the interactive whiteboard or projector, before allowing students to explore the site independently. Use the stories as a writing prompt - after students have explored for a set amount of time, have them write their own ghost stories about areas in the state. To tie it into history, teachers can make them time-pieces, with the stories required to be related to a certain unit or period of time.
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Edison Invents - Smithsonian

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3 to 8
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The National Museum of American History created this concentration-based game to help students learn more about Thomas Edison and the impact of his inventions. While most students know...more
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The National Museum of American History created this concentration-based game to help students learn more about Thomas Edison and the impact of his inventions. While most students know about the light bulb and the phonograph, this site peers into the full repertoire of Edison's invention inventory, giving the story of how one man became a sort of national invention hero.

tag(s): inventors and inventions (97)

In the Classroom

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Exploring a New Frontier - America's Space Program - Smithsonian

Grades
6 to 12
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This lesson unit from the National Park service offers a toolkit for learning about the space program of the 1960s. It introduces the formation of NASA and the evolution of ...more
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This lesson unit from the National Park service offers a toolkit for learning about the space program of the 1960s. It introduces the formation of NASA and the evolution of Cape Canaveral, Houston's manned spaceflight center, and other installations. While there's a lot of material here, teachers will no doubt need to use some of their own creativity to mold it into something that fits local needs. This site would be a great addition to a study of 20th century explorers.

tag(s): moon (72), nasa (39), space (205)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and classroom activities hosted on this site! Save this one as a favorite on your computer to allow for easy access and retrieval.

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California's Gold Rush - Oakland Museum

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4 to 8
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The Oakland Museum offers this collection of "untold stories" about the gold rush in California. The site includes lesson plans linked to California standards, sections on art; natives...more
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The Oakland Museum offers this collection of "untold stories" about the gold rush in California. The site includes lesson plans linked to California standards, sections on art; natives and immigrants; and more. Lots of possibilities if you're in California, and a great addition to a unit on westward exploration for others.

tag(s): california (27), gold rush (19), native americans (78)

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Portraits of Grief - New York Times

Grades
6 to 12
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To acknowledge the anniversary of the September 11 attacks, we remind our users of what is perhaps the most eloquent memorial, the New York Times' site carrying short, simple biographies...more
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To acknowledge the anniversary of the September 11 attacks, we remind our users of what is perhaps the most eloquent memorial, the New York Times' site carrying short, simple biographies of each of the people killed in the attacks. Nothing says more about what was lost that day than the stories of those no longer with us. NOTE: While there is nothing violent or unpleasant in any of this content, the images and stories are likely to evoke strong emotions. If you use this site in class, please preview thoroughly.

tag(s): sept11 (21)

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9/11 - Voices of Reflection - NPR

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6 to 12
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This collection of first-person accounts, reflections, and musical offerings makes an interesting retrospective on the September 11 attacks, and one that classes can listen and react...more
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This collection of first-person accounts, reflections, and musical offerings makes an interesting retrospective on the September 11 attacks, and one that classes can listen and react to together. These recordings could offer a variety of ways in which to focus a discussion of those events.

tag(s): sept11 (21)

In the Classroom

Use some of the first hand accounts as a way to teach both about primary sources and the events of 9/11. Divide the class into cooperative learning groups, preferably with 4-5 differing groups. Assign each group a different primary source from the site, with the intentions of presenting a summary to the class. Once all the groups have presented their summaries, play a quick game "survivor" style in which students defend their pieces by validity and reliability. Have a representative from each group go to the front of the classroom, presenting a brief argument where theirs is the most reliable source. After each has presented, have the class vote off sources in rounds until there is only one left! This is a fun way to both teach the content & incorporate historical thinking skills.

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