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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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Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga - Smithsonian Natural History Museum

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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

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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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World Conflict Map - Nobel Foundation

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7 to 12
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Help your secondary students gain a greater understanding of some of the 20th century's most devastating military conflicts with this compelling, interactive map. Students can discover...more
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Help your secondary students gain a greater understanding of some of the 20th century's most devastating military conflicts with this compelling, interactive map. Students can discover where specific wars took place, who the main protagonists were, and which regions of the world have experienced the most unrest. Brief explanations about each conflict are also provided along with statistical information on the geographic distribution of Nobel Peach Prize laureates and nominees from 1901 - 2001.

In the Classroom

Share this site over the interactive whiteboard to introduce a unit on the Modern century and the warfare that has plagued it. Introduce the site, answering any questions before allowing students to explore it in cooperative learning groups. Because there is a lot of information here, this site works best if students have a graphic organizer to guide them through and highlight what is most important. For help creating graphic organizers, we recommend using Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here).

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Gold Rush - PBS

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4 to 8
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This kid-friendly site takes students on an unforgettable journey with the "forty-niners" as they leave their homes and families to seek their fortunes in California. The resource explains...more
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This kid-friendly site takes students on an unforgettable journey with the "forty-niners" as they leave their homes and families to seek their fortunes in California. The resource explains the sweeping gold fever of 19th century America and introduces some famous people - like Levi Strauss and Phillip Armour - whose lives were forever changed by the event. A helpful guide for teachers provides useful tips on using this site in class.

tag(s): california (27), gold rush (19)

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Vietnam Project - Texas Tech University

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7 to 12
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Although this site is still very much a work in progress, it contains some riveting resources that would be valuable for use in a 20th century American History class. The ...more
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Although this site is still very much a work in progress, it contains some riveting resources that would be valuable for use in a 20th century American History class. The "Teachers' Web" is not yet up and running, but the oral history interviews, available as audio files, are wonderfully revealing primary sources. If you are interesting in presenting the Vietnam War from a very personal, human perspective, consider using this on-line archive. The site also provides a collection of historical photographs and tips for conducting Oral History interviews - an unforgettable learning experience for your students!

tag(s): 1960s (30), 1970s (12), asia (73), vietnam (36)

In the Classroom

Access the section entitled "Teachers Resource Web," and take advantage of the free lesson plans and collection resources.
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Separate is Not Equal - National Museum of American History

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4 to 12
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The 50th anniversary of the historic Brown vs. the Board of Education decision is commemorated in this site that traces the history of segregation, the battle for education, and the...more
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The 50th anniversary of the historic Brown vs. the Board of Education decision is commemorated in this site that traces the history of segregation, the battle for education, and the events leading to the Supreme Court decision. Visit the teacher's guide (click on Resources) to find downloadable unit and lesson plans (aligned to national standards) which address the time period from Reconstruction to the Civil Rights movement. Teacher briefing sheets and student handouts are included - in fact, nearly everything required for an engaging and purposeful learning experience is there! This site is an online companion to a Smithsonian National Museum of American History exhibit. If you can't take your students to Washington, take them to the computer lab or project this site in class, and spend some time with this outstanding resource.

tag(s): africa (180), african american (113), segregation (15)

In the Classroom

Access the section on the homesite entitled "resources." On that page there is a section entitled "Teacher Guide," which has an abundance of free lesson plans that range topics of segregation, racism, and the civil rights movement. Take advantage of the guides and use them to address the more difficult subjects of race in recent American History.

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Civil War Through a Child's Eye - Library of Congress

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4 to 8
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This lesson plan from the Library of Congress helps students develop an understanding of the Civil War as they study primary sources and works of historical fiction. Students begin...more
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This lesson plan from the Library of Congress helps students develop an understanding of the Civil War as they study primary sources and works of historical fiction. Students begin by viewing a multimedia slide show, then examine and interpret photographs of Civil War-era children. Finally, students are asked to read several literary selections, and discuss the various war-time perspectives that are represented. A well-organized teacher's guide, links to on-line resources, and complete lesson plans aligned to national standards are provided.

tag(s): civil war (145)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of this free lesson plan offered by the Library of Congress. The lesson plan has a nice interdisciplinary twist, so it could be utilized in either an English or History class.
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U.S. Capitol Virtual Tour - U.S. Senate

Grades
6 to 12
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If taking your students to Washington, D.C., just isn't a possibility, this site is the next best thing to being there. The interactive and user friendly multi-media tour provides panoramic...more
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If taking your students to Washington, D.C., just isn't a possibility, this site is the next best thing to being there. The interactive and user friendly multi-media tour provides panoramic views, fascinating historical information, and interesting details about many of the objects encountered along the way. This is an extensive tour, so a teacher-created map with explicit directions is strongly suggested before students embark on the virtual field trip. This one works best with a high speed connection.

tag(s): house of representatives (9), senate (9)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center or station during a unit on the branches and houses of government. Students will be able to connect the visual images with the content, and also gain more insight from the text. To highlight whats more important from the site, have students complete a follow-along guide of questions. For help creating one, we recommend using Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here).

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White House Historical Association

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1 to 12
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This entertaining and informational site about that famous residence on Pennsylvania Avenue is filled with something for everyone. Younger students can focus on the colors and shapes...more
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This entertaining and informational site about that famous residence on Pennsylvania Avenue is filled with something for everyone. Younger students can focus on the colors and shapes found throughout this historic home while meeting some "first kids" and famous "first pets." Older students can listen to audio clips of presidents during the last century, take several outstanding White House tours, and discover many historic treasures located throughout this famous home. Elementary and Middle School students will love the informational and interactive "Bird Watching Expedition," led by Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, Teddy Roosevelt and several other animated presidential personalities.

tag(s): presidents (130), white house (13)

In the Classroom

Use this site to provide background information for a unit on 19th and 20th century American history, to form the basis of a lesson or unit on the American presidency, or as a stand-alone enrichment activity for your history classroom. Lesson plans in printable PDF formats are available for all grade levels
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Picturing Modern America 1880-1920 - Educational Development Center, Inc.

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6 to 12
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American society experienced a tremendous amount of change and growth during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This site is filled with primary source images from the...more
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American society experienced a tremendous amount of change and growth during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This site is filled with primary source images from the Library of Congress and interactive exercises that bring the era to life. The "Image Detective" activity is especially impressive. After selecting a picture from the collection, students are presented with a critical question and guided through the process of gathering clues, reading background information, and drawing conclusions. The Investigations link challenges students to interact with visual sources to gain perspective and understanding. This is an outstanding resource for strengthening skills in historical research and critical thinking! The Exhibit Builder link apparently no longer functions, but students can copy images under Fair Use (check the collection information) to create a slide show or exhibit using images from the site along and their own explanatory text.

In the Classroom

Use this site as an in class activity for various units in your classroom, including the early 1900's, immigration, the roaring 20's, etc. Have students complete their investigations in pairs, having a class competition to see who can get the most right! A very fun way to review and encourage critical thinking skills.

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The New Americans - PBS

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7 to 12
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Take your students on a virtual adventure that will help them to understand the personal lives and experiences of 21st century immigrants to America. Students can meet the various families...more
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Take your students on a virtual adventure that will help them to understand the personal lives and experiences of 21st century immigrants to America. Students can meet the various families profiled on the site, learn about their cultural traditions, and take a quiz on the myths and realities of immigration. The site features interactive maps, timelines, and exercises in determining the effect of immigration on the American society. Be sure to investigate the resources for educators and the eleven lesson plans, aligned to national standards, which challenge students to analyze demographic data, investigate U.S. immigration policy, and conduct oral history interviews with first or second generation immigrants. Created by PBS and Independent Lens.

tag(s): immigrants (20), immigration (58), migration (59)

In the Classroom

Use the myths and realities quiz on this site to assess student preconceptions before beginning a unit on immigration or a unit on immigration reform. Have students complete the quiz on individual computers in class, and print their results. Use the results as a way to start a class discussion on immigration and what surprised students. Focus on what students learned and what they had assumed previously. This would be a great activity for a civics or US history course.

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Lessons from the Land - Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre

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4 to 12
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Expand a unit on Native American culture with this interactive, multimedia site that takes visitors on a virtual journey of Canada's Northwest Territories and provides cross-curricular...more
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Expand a unit on Native American culture with this interactive, multimedia site that takes visitors on a virtual journey of Canada's Northwest Territories and provides cross-curricular connections. The searchable site focuses on topics such as birch bark canoes, fishing, caribou hunting, and burial practices. Elementary students can participate in the illustrated on-line storybook that includes activities and games. Secondary students can explore the historical and cultural significance of eight sites on a traditional aboriginal trail.

tag(s): native americans (78)

In the Classroom

A teacher's guide and a downloadable lesson plan package are available.
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Lost Liners - PBS

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7 to 12
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World history, U.S. history, rhetoric and debate, health, and technology are addressed by this comprehensive examination of some of the greatest disasters in maritime history - the...more
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World history, U.S. history, rhetoric and debate, health, and technology are addressed by this comprehensive examination of some of the greatest disasters in maritime history - the Titanic, the Lusitania, and the Empress of Ireland. Full lesson plans (these are really outstanding!), aligned with national standards are provided. Topics include The Blame Game (a great role-playing experience), Bigger, Faster, Stronger, Higher (a comparison of the Titanic and Challenger disasters), and Titanic Artifacts (what we've discovered about the lives of those lost). Students can even learn about effective Internet search strategies in the Lost Liners scavenger hunt activity.

In the Classroom

Click on the section entitled "teacher resources" and take advantage of the free lesson plans and activities offered. Most require a basic knowledge of the 5 major liners that sank, so the day before activities have students explore the site on the interactive whiteboard or individual computers. To assess what students are learning, put them in groups and have groups select a liner that they will be researching. Groups will go through the information offered by the site and possibly other sites in an effort to attain images and information about their lost ship. Have groups create an online graphic telling the story of their liner and its immediate impact. Have students use a tool such as Woices (beta) (reviewed here). This site allows students to create audio recordings AND choose a location (on a map) where the story takes place.

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Unearthing Secret America - PBS

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6 to 12
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Life in colonial America is revealed through a series of archeological explorations documented in this PBS site. Archeologists reveal fascinating information about the first settlers...more
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Life in colonial America is revealed through a series of archeological explorations documented in this PBS site. Archeologists reveal fascinating information about the first settlers of Jamestown and the hardships they endured. The lives of slaves are also examined through artifacts that reveal specific details of their daily lives. Students can discover what a forensic anthropologist looks for when examining ancient human remains through an interactive "Digging for Clues" feature. Use this site to enhance a unit on Colonial America. It truly provides a historically accurate glimpse of the European and African cultures that made up the fabric of early America.

tag(s): colonial america (107)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans hosted on the "educators" portion of this site! Save this site as a favorite to allow for easy retrieval - a great resource for a US history classroom.
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Audio Interviews - BBC

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7 to 12
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Some of the most riveting cultural, political, and scientific figures of the 20th and 21st centuries are represented on this site that provides interviews drawn from BBC's archives....more
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Some of the most riveting cultural, political, and scientific figures of the 20th and 21st centuries are represented on this site that provides interviews drawn from BBC's archives. Bring the voices, thoughts, and insights of Virginia Woolf, Aaron Copland, Agatha Christie, Mohandas Gandhi, Andy Warhol, and Charles Schulz, into your classroom. The audio interviews are organized by name and subject area. This is truly an impressive resource that can create quite an impact in the classroom

tag(s): interviews (16)

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eHistory - Ohio State University

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7 to 12
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This incredible resource is not just for history fans! The comprehensive and well-organized site includes a timeline of events, a glossary, battle outlines, biographies, and thousands...more
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This incredible resource is not just for history fans! The comprehensive and well-organized site includes a timeline of events, a glossary, battle outlines, biographies, and thousands of images and maps. Topics include ancient history, the Civil War, World War II, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and much more. A true gold mine for history teachers and students.

tag(s): battles (16), maps (288), timelines (62)

In the Classroom

The great resources offered by this site include the primary sources collection and the vast amount of multi-media presentations offered. Search this site for resources you can use in your own classroom - the video collection would be particularly helpful to supplement information from the previous and current century.

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Games We Play - Cornell University

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6 to 12
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Take a unique approach to American History! Games have been used for generations to advance political agendas and propaganda, or to solicit support for social causes. This site includes...more
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Take a unique approach to American History! Games have been used for generations to advance political agendas and propaganda, or to solicit support for social causes. This site includes early nineteenth-century geographical board games; a Civil War game; suffrage games that aided in the battle for women's votes; and a selection of games inspired by television programming. Explore these selections in class and challenge students to consider games that are popular today. What will our pastimes reveal to the historians of the future?

tag(s): civil war (145), women (101), womens suffrage (26)

In the Classroom

Have students try out this site on individual computers, or as a learning center. Students can use the site to learn about the evolution of leisure time in America and the inferences historians can make from games. To assess students learning, print out the crossword puzzle at the end and have them complete it after they tour the site.

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New York Public Library's Digital Library Collection

Grades
6 to 12
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Explore images, documents, and rare materials in this impressive collection of on-line archives. Search for a specific topic of interest by using the Archival Finding Aids, tour the...more
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Explore images, documents, and rare materials in this impressive collection of on-line archives. Search for a specific topic of interest by using the Archival Finding Aids, tour the many on-line exhibitions that cover a wide range of topics, or follow a link to one of beautifully presented portfolios on themes ranging from Small-town America to Surveyors of the American West. Use for your own background research or as a resource for your students. Created by the New York Public Library.

tag(s): primary sources (86)

In the Classroom

Use this site to search for images that can be used in your classroom for a visual discovery activity. Select 3-5 of the more powerful images, placing them on separate slides of a PowerPoint show. Show each slide to the class for 1-2 minutes each, allowing students time to jot down what they observe, predict and infer about each image. After the class has finished with the slides, have a class discussion based on the notes that students took accompanying a replaying of the slide show. This is a great way to introduce or review a topic in a non-lecture format.

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History Mystery - Scholastic

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4 to 8
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Turn a history lesson into an interactive investigation! Students can strengthen their skills in problem-solving, critical thinking, and Internet research as they become historical...more
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Turn a history lesson into an interactive investigation! Students can strengthen their skills in problem-solving, critical thinking, and Internet research as they become historical sleuths and work their way through these entertaining activities. Select from dozens of topics relating to American and world history. Some of the sleuthing activities require students to uncover the identity of a personality. Others send students on trails to discover a particular era or geographic location. This site can be used to introduce a unit, review important concepts, or enrich and expand regular classroom activities.

tag(s): webquests (29)

In the Classroom

Select one of the many mysteries and use it as a classroom activity to close up and review the content! Teachers can use this as a learning center or have cooperative learning groups complete it at the end of the unit/lesson. There are a LOT of mysteries here including series for US and World history, so be sure to pass it on to any other social studies peers who can use it.

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