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Winning the Vote - Smithsonian Institution

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4 to 12
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This site, part of the Smithsonian Institution's "Art to Zoo" series, presents an introduction to political campaigns, advertising strategies, and electioneering. The entire unit, including...more
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This site, part of the Smithsonian Institution's "Art to Zoo" series, presents an introduction to political campaigns, advertising strategies, and electioneering. The entire unit, including teacher guide, discussion questions, and lesson plans, is available as a series of downloadable Adobe Acrobat PDF files which can be printed and used at home or in the classroom.

tag(s): elections (78), politics (100)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans hosted on this site! This would be a great addition to a US government class, just make sure to save it as a favorite to allow for easy retrieval later on.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Thomas Legislative Database - Library of Congress

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6 to 12
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Maintained by the Library of Congress, Thomas contains information on the status of federal legislation, Federal Register, and daily schedules including committee meetings. Thomas is...more
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Maintained by the Library of Congress, Thomas contains information on the status of federal legislation, Federal Register, and daily schedules including committee meetings. Thomas is geared to provide current status on as much legislation as possible. Required reading for those studying American government.

tag(s): congress (34), house of representatives (9), senate (9)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a reference for finding information about specific legislation to supplement your unit. For example, teachers working on a unit about civil rights can find information about laws regarding equality and the progress that has been made. Likewise, this can be used during discussions on the Legislative Branch, Separation of powers, Healthcare reform, environmental policy, etc. A great resource for a US government class.

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The Supreme Court

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6 to 12
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Though several law schools have maintained excellent Supreme Court sites for years, the Court now has its own site, containing dockets, decisions, historical information, and much more....more
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Though several law schools have maintained excellent Supreme Court sites for years, the Court now has its own site, containing dockets, decisions, historical information, and much more. This site is not written for students, so they may need help with some areas.

tag(s): supreme court (23)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a resource to find recent court cases that have come before the Supreme court as well as a means to search for opinions, writings, biographies, etc. US government teachers will be able to use this site during a unit or lesson on the judicial branch, or during a class debate about a specific piece of legislation.

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Tour the U.S. Capitol - US Government

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6 to 12
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This site from the Architect of the U.S. Capitol offers historical information as well as a collection of photos showing key features. There is also an "interactive tour," but the ...more
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This site from the Architect of the U.S. Capitol offers historical information as well as a collection of photos showing key features. There is also an "interactive tour," but the site navigation is complex enough that you should probably do some serious previewing before turning students loose on this one.

tag(s): architecture (85)

In the Classroom

If teaching about initial plans for the construction of DC and how those developed, use the images from this site to compliment a class discussion or lecture. Within the teacher and students page, there are numerous images that detail L'enfant's original ideas for DC. Teachers can incorporate these in graphic organizers or even a slide-show over the interactive whiteboard.

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The Capitol - An Interactive Tour - University of Virginia

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6 to 12
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Well, sort of. This site from the University of Virginia offers lots of images of artwork and statues in the U.S. Capitol, as well as additional references, but interactive 3D ...more
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Well, sort of. This site from the University of Virginia offers lots of images of artwork and statues in the U.S. Capitol, as well as additional references, but interactive 3D it isn't. Still, it's an interesting collection of images for those interested in a glimpse of what's inside.

tag(s): architecture (85)

In the Classroom

Use any of the separate sections on this website as learning center or stations during lesson(s) on the architecture and symbolism of our capitol's historic buildings. Have students explore the site individually or cooperative learning groups as an introductory activity. Because there is a lot of material on the site, create follow-alongs to guide students and highlight what is most important on the site. For help making easy graphic organizers, try: Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here).

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Congressional Directory

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1 to 12
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x ...more
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tag(s): biographies (88), congress (34)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a starting point for students working on biographies or research projects about specific congressmen. Although the biographies are short, they provide other resources that could easily be followed up with!

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The American Presidents

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1 to 12
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tag(s): biographies (88), presidents (132)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a point of reference for information about our Presidents. Students could use this site as a spring board for research projects, or historical heads. For historical heads, have students draw inside of a blank outline of a human face graphic representations of the president chosen for their project. Students should be able to describe and explain all representations, but it's a great way for them to organize their ideas and provide more memorable symbols for facts that they need to know.

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Life, Liberty and The Pursuit of Happiness - Yale University

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1 to 12
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XX ...more
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XX

tag(s): american revolution (89)

In the Classroom

If in need for some new material during a lesson on the American Revolution, take advantage of this one provided by Yale University. Just make sure to save it as a favorite on your classroom computer, to allow for easy retrieval later on.

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Raising the Titanic

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6 to 9
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This site from the Discovery Channel traces efforts to dive to the Titanic wreck, examine the remains of the liner, and determine precisely how and why the "unsinkable" ship sank. ...more
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This site from the Discovery Channel traces efforts to dive to the Titanic wreck, examine the remains of the liner, and determine precisely how and why the "unsinkable" ship sank. This site is an intriguing combination of history and state-of-the-art science. There are plenty of photos, as well as detailed explanations of both the ship and the high-tech effort to reach and explore the wreck.

tag(s): engineering (127)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center or station during a unit on transportation developments in the early 20th century. Make sure to include headphones for this activity as the videos have audio. This activity also works best with a guide for students - we recommend using Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here).

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Ellis Island - Original Images

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4 to 12
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This site from the California Museum of Photography uses original stereo photos of Ellis Island to give students a first-hand look at the largest entry point to America. Though the...more
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This site from the California Museum of Photography uses original stereo photos of Ellis Island to give students a first-hand look at the largest entry point to America. Though the quality of the images is uneven, some of the faces make wonderful starting points for a discussion of, "What's going on here..." or "How would you feel if..." If you're creative, this is nice raw material.

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

In the Classroom

Use the images on this site to create a "picture walk" in your classroom, introducing the topic of immigration in the 19th and 20th century. Select 10-15 of the more powerful and diverse images, hanging them up in different locations around your classroom. Have students rotate around the classroom every 30-45 seconds, jotting down what they observe and infer about each image until the entire class has completed the circuit. After the class is back in their seats, have a class discussion based on what they observed and what this says about the immigration experience. A great way to get students thinking about the content in a way that's more personal and lecture-less!

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Immigration Simulation - Ellis Island

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6 to 12
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On its surface, this site appears to be simply a "virtual tour" of Ellis Island. However, the Teacher's section contains a good deal of information on how to create an ...more
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On its surface, this site appears to be simply a "virtual tour" of Ellis Island. However, the Teacher's section contains a good deal of information on how to create an on-site, interdisciplinary immigration experience for students. There are tips on content, involving parents, and other aspects of the project. Well worth a look if you're studying this time period.

tag(s): ellis island (9), immigration (58), migration (59)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and classroom activities hosted on this site! Make sure to save this one as a favorite to allow for easier retrieval later on.

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Immigrant Wall of Honor

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6 to 12
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Information on immigration, Ellis Island, ethnic migrations. ...more
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Information on immigration, Ellis Island, ethnic migrations.

tag(s): ellis island (9), immigration (58), migration (59), new york (26)

In the Classroom

Use the "search names" option to allow students to search for their ancestors who came through Ellis Island, or even to see if they can find anyone with a like-name. The activity could be a great writing prompt, with students writing a diary entry of the person they found, detailing what it must have been like the pass through Ellis Island. There would have to be additional resources available about Ellis Island, but it could make for a great activity!

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The Ellis Island Museum

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5 to 12
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This site is maintained by the Ellis Island Museum, and it spends most of its space describing museum programs and publications. Still, there are bits of history scattered throughout,...more
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This site is maintained by the Ellis Island Museum, and it spends most of its space describing museum programs and publications. Still, there are bits of history scattered throughout, but web surfers will need several additional sources to create an adequate picture of the importance of this little island in the history of American immigration.

tag(s): ellis island (9), immigration (58), migration (59), new york (26)

In the Classroom

One of the more interesting details of this site is the timeline of Ellis Island that is showcased in the section entitled "Ellis Island." The background information is interesting and provides reason for Ellis Island's symbolic value. Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. To show what they have learned from this site, challenge students to create an online graphic to share using Tabblo reviewed here. Have students pick a detail from the timeline such as most interesting, most important or most symbolic.

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Within These Walls - Smithsonian Institution

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6 to 12
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The Smithsonian Museum of American History created this site to document the history of life in a 250+ year old Massachusetts house. Owned by six families through the centuries, the...more
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The Smithsonian Museum of American History created this site to document the history of life in a 250+ year old Massachusetts house. Owned by six families through the centuries, the site shows how life in the house, and the people who lived there, have changed over the years. This site could be a great starting point for a "What's different? What's the same?" discussion about history.

tag(s): family (59), massachusetts (10)

In the Classroom

The "Go Back in time" activity would be a quick and interesting way for students to review primary evidences and determine what time period they would be from. This can be done as a class on the interactive whiteboard. Complete the activity, and afterwards let it lead into a class discussion of what sources are and how historians determine validity. This would be a great way to review the information before a big research project or paper, when students will be collecting their own sources.

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Religion and the Founding of the American Republic

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6 to 12
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This site from the Library of Congress traces the role of religion in the founding of both individual colonies and the American federal government using primary sources and documents....more
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This site from the Library of Congress traces the role of religion in the founding of both individual colonies and the American federal government using primary sources and documents. It would be useful for introducing students to primary research, or for any exploration of the different purposes for which Europeans came to America.

tag(s): colonial america (108), primary sources (90)

In the Classroom

Use the images on this site to create a "picture walk" in your classroom, introducing the topic of religion in US politics and government. Select 10-15 of the more powerful and diverse images, hanging them up in different locations around your classroom. Have students rotate around the classroom every 30-45 seconds, jotting down what they observe and infer about each image until the entire class has completed the circuit. After the class is back in their seats, have a class discussion based on what they observed and what this says about the people's desire for an establishment clause. A great way to get students thinking about the content in a way that's more personal and lecture-less!

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Picturing the Century - National Archives

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4 to 12
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The National Archives does it again... This on-line exhibit offers more than 100 images of Americans during the past century. While each is part of a major theme in its ...more
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The National Archives does it again... This on-line exhibit offers more than 100 images of Americans during the past century. While each is part of a major theme in its own right, these images are a perfect way to get students thinking about what people were doing and thinking at the time.

tag(s): images (275)

In the Classroom

History and social studies teachers should see this one.

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Living History Farms

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4 to 12
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Living History Farms is an Iowa-based recreation of agricultural communities from three different time periods in American history. Located on adjoining properties, these three sites...more
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Living History Farms is an Iowa-based recreation of agricultural communities from three different time periods in American history. Located on adjoining properties, these three sites afford an opportunity to compare and contrast farming and life styles at three different points in our nation's development. The web site offers pictures, text, and descriptions for each of the three periods, permitting students to take a virtual tour of life at three points in American history.

tag(s): agriculture (57)

In the Classroom

Each farm section has limited information offered, so this activity would best be used as an quick introduction to a unit rather than a major activity. Open the site on the interactive whiteboard or projector, and examine each farm with the class. Pull out important characteristics offered, and compare and contrast the farms. We recommend a Venn diagram tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here).This would be a useful activity to discuss the differences in habitats, and different ways people have subsisted on the same land.

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At Home in the Heartland

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4 to 12
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A project from the University of Illinois describing how life has changed throughout American development. Materials and lesson plans for all age levels. ...more
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A project from the University of Illinois describing how life has changed throughout American development. Materials and lesson plans for all age levels.

tag(s): 20th century (53), cultures (107)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center or station to accompany US history curriculum. Find the time period that's most appropriate for the unit being studied, with students working in pairs to explore the site. This would be a better tool to help review since not all the material is need to know for National standards, but serves as great supplementary information that students can connect the content to.

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A Biography of America - CPB/Annenberg

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6 to 12
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This American History survey site from the Annenberg Project was created as a companion to the video series of the same name. The chief resource avialable is a collection of ...more
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This American History survey site from the Annenberg Project was created as a companion to the video series of the same name. The chief resource avialable is a collection of transcripts of the programs. There are also timelines, discussion questions, and far fewer images than one would imagine in such a project. This could be a resource for discussion ideas on American history topics or an introductory survey for a student searching for an independent study project.

tag(s): american revolution (89)

In the Classroom

The possibilities for this site are virtually limitless. Open the site on the interactive whiteboard or projector and select one of the many topics that is applicable to your unit. Teachers can play the video for students to review material, use the map to provide something for visual learners can connect to, or use the time-line to guide student learning. This is really an amazing tool for teachers trying to utilize technology in the classroom!

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U. S. Historical Documents

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7 to 12
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A more extensive collection, helpfully organized. From the University of Oklahoma. ...more
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A more extensive collection, helpfully organized. From the University of Oklahoma.

tag(s): primary sources (90)

In the Classroom

Primary sources could be used to teach both the content and historical thinking skills in your classroom. Divide students into 5-6 groups, with each group assigned a different primary source to read and evaluate. (Sources should come from various perspectives to make the game more interesting) Have the groups present quick summaries of their source to the class, making sure to mention who the author is and whether or not there could be bias. After all have presented, have each team pick a representative to argue in front of the class as to why their source is the most reliable and valid. After all have made their argument, have the class vote off the least reliable "survivor style" until you are left with just one!

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