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What Coal Miners Do - UMWA

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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 (202)

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

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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 (89), quizzes (101)

In the Classroom

A great resource for reviewing content or investigating new information. Headphones highly recommended.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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My America Field Trip - Tramline

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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 (27), 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 (177), african american (113), civil rights (123), 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 (39), holidays (151)

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

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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 (65)

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 (164)

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.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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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 (95)

In the Classroom

This site requires FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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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 (73), nasa (39), space (217)

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

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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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Benjamin Franklin: An Extaordinary Life, An Electric Mind - PBS

Grades
7 to 12
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Learn about the colorful life and world of Ben Franklin through this series of eight downloadable lesson plans that explore the statesman's many talents and contributions. Topics include...more
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Learn about the colorful life and world of Ben Franklin through this series of eight downloadable lesson plans that explore the statesman's many talents and contributions. Topics include Poor Richard's Almanack, superstition vs. science, volunteerism and citizenship, colonial "broadsides" and almanacs, the art of invention, and more. Aligned to National Standards.

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and activities hosted on this site! This would be a great resource for an early American history class, be sure to save it as a favorite on your computer!
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Google Maps - Google

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1 to 12
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Google Maps gives you live visuals of any location, ideal for planning a trip, picturing the relationship between places, and viewing physical characteristics of almost anywhere in...more
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Google Maps gives you live visuals of any location, ideal for planning a trip, picturing the relationship between places, and viewing physical characteristics of almost anywhere in the world. Type or paste in an address and click "search maps." If you click Satellite or hybrid versions of the map, you will see actual satellite images of the terrain. Zoom in and out, use the street view "orange man" to walk among the buildings and trees, or plan and share a route easily with Google Maps. Using your (free) Google membership allows you to save favorite places and more. Find businesses and other features near a specific map location: hotels, restaurants, schools, parks, and more. Google Maps has become more and more sophisticated, now offering many features previously only available in Google Earth, such as opening and/or saving placemarker files. Unlike Google Earth, Google Maps does not require software installation and does not use as much bandwidth for constant reloading. You can even play a tour of places you mark in Google Maps. They just keep adding more features! Google Maps is available as a free app for Android and iOS, too. The handy embed codes let you put any Google Map in a web page, blog, or wiki. Of course you do not need a membership or any special skills to simply SEE, share, or navigate a map. Membership gives you more ways to save.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (171), directions (19), maps (292)

In the Classroom

If you teach geography, this one's a must. It is also helpful for showing students WHERE a story or news event takes place. In lower grades, use it to show students basics of their community. Teach map skills by showing students their own community. Zoom in on their street or on the school. This site and its more sophisticated cousin, Google Earth, are great on an interactive whiteboard. Set up a class Google account (or use student accounts if permitted). Have students create their own custom route plans to tour historic sites. Challenge math students to plan the most economical route to visit several vacation destinations, including gas mileage and gas prices. Have students create placemarker files of the important places in the life of a famous person or the route traveled by a particular unit during the Civil War. Have student groups create placemarker files to show environmental sites, habitats, landforms, or anything you can place on a map. Embed projects in a class wiki using the handy embed code offered as a sharing option. Not comfortable with wikis? Check out TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through.

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American history: 8000 Years of Forest Management - Forest History Society and Duke University

Grades
7 to 12
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How do historians piece together details of ancient cultures when no written records exist? This detailed lesson plan introduces students to the process of analyzing artifacts and architecture...more
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How do historians piece together details of ancient cultures when no written records exist? This detailed lesson plan introduces students to the process of analyzing artifacts and architecture to reveal important cultural outlooks and practices. With a specific emphasis on the environmental attitudes of Native Americans, the activities challenge students to assume the roles of historians, anthropologists, archaeologists, and geographers; analyze clues from the past, make inferences based on factual research, and apply their knowledge to the creation of a modern day environmental legend. All materials are provided as downloadable documents. Aligned to National Standards.

tag(s): anthropology (11), architecture (85), native americans (78)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and activities offered on the site! The lessons are all traced back to Standards of Learning, so teachers can rest assured that these are valid activities. Save this site as a favorite, and refer to it when looking for new ways to cover Indigenous Societies or the procurement of historical Evidence. This site could potentially be used in a History, Social Studies or Science classroom.

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Fueling the Fires of Industrialization - Duke University

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6 to 8
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What effect did industrialization have on the American landscape? With an emphasis on the role America's forests played in the growth of business and industry, this lesson plan introduces...more
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What effect did industrialization have on the American landscape? With an emphasis on the role America's forests played in the growth of business and industry, this lesson plan introduces students to the concepts of supply and demand, competition, prices and incentives, and conservation. The scope of the lesson plan expands to encompass today's market and the many household products that are derived from trees. Multiple options for assessment, extension activities, and ideas for interdisciplinary connections are provided. Aligned to National Standards.

tag(s): industrialization (14)

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The Decisive Day is Come - Massachusetts Historical Society

Grades
7 to 12
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Bring the Battle of Bunker Hill to life with the personal accounts and eyewitness descriptions provided on this impressive site. A wonderful collection of maps, drawing, broadsides,...more
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Bring the Battle of Bunker Hill to life with the personal accounts and eyewitness descriptions provided on this impressive site. A wonderful collection of maps, drawing, broadsides, and artifacts from the battlefield are also included. A great research tool that introduces students to the value of primary source information.

tag(s): colonial america (108), massachusetts (10)

In the Classroom

Use the maps and timeline on the interactive projector as supplement to text during an introduction to the American Revolution. The images can be incorporated into a slide show and can help guide students along the events of Bunker Hill. This is a great resource for a US history class.

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Watergate Revisited - Washington Post

Grades
7 to 12
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The unmasking of "deep throat," the shadowy informant in the Watergate saga, has prompted a new wave of interest in the sandal that changed American government forever. This retrospective...more
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The unmasking of "deep throat," the shadowy informant in the Watergate saga, has prompted a new wave of interest in the sandal that changed American government forever. This retrospective from the Washington Post provides not only a current summary, but a review of the original coverage, from the newspaper that broke the story.

tag(s): 1970s (12), water (130)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Have students explore the site with the intentions of creating a summary of the most important events. Have cooperative learning groups create online books using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here. Students can write the book from the perspective of Nixon or Deep throat...a great way to introduce the topic in a non-lecture format.

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Monticello Explorer - Thomas Jefferson Foundation

Grades
7 to 12
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This outstanding site takes visitors on an expansive tour of Jefferson's Monticello. Explore the 5,000 acre plantation with an interactive map, or navigate a three-dimensional recreation...more
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This outstanding site takes visitors on an expansive tour of Jefferson's Monticello. Explore the 5,000 acre plantation with an interactive map, or navigate a three-dimensional recreation of the house and learn about the people and objects that populated its rooms. Captioned videos lead visitors through a house tour and description of domestic life in the historic home. Headphones and a high speed connection are a must.

tag(s): american revolution (89), evolution (101), jefferson (20), virginia (16)

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