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Presidential Biographies and Portraits - The White House

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4 to 12
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The "official" biographies of the nation's presidents, as contained on the White House web site. This site is up to date, easy to use, and includes a wealth of information. ...more
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The "official" biographies of the nation's presidents, as contained on the White House web site. This site is up to date, easy to use, and includes a wealth of information. There is an interesting picture slide show of all of the presidents.

tag(s): presidents (131)

In the Classroom

Share the slide show or other information with your class on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use this site for great research information directly from the White House.

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The Presidents - George Welling

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4 to 12
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This Dutch site is an index of information on the presidents of the United States. Included are speeches, writings, and biographical information. Excellent resource for creating research...more
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This Dutch site is an index of information on the presidents of the United States. Included are speeches, writings, and biographical information. Excellent resource for creating research reports.

tag(s): presidents (131), speech (92), speeches (17)

In the Classroom

Share the inauguration speeches with your students on President's Day.

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Mr. President - Smithsonian Institution

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4 to 12
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The Smithsonian's presidential biographies resource offers basic biographical information and images on all American Presidents, along with highlights of their administrations. Useful...more
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The Smithsonian's presidential biographies resource offers basic biographical information and images on all American Presidents, along with highlights of their administrations. Useful for both its content and its comprehensiveness. The site offers some basic information about all presidents (Washington through Obama).

tag(s): biographies (87), politics (99), presidents (131)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a starting point for research projects. If you are teaching about the presidents, this site would be great on your projector or interactive whiteboard.

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The American Presidency - A Glorious Burden - Smithsonian Institution

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6 to 12
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The Smithsonian has created a nice, technically up-to-date introduction to the presidents which can be useful for middle and high school students. Middle schoolers can work directly...more
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The Smithsonian has created a nice, technically up-to-date introduction to the presidents which can be useful for middle and high school students. Middle schoolers can work directly with the time line and individual biographies, while older students may want to examine the presidents in the context of the historical eras which are also available on the site. Our link starts at the collection of Adobe Acrobat lesson plans that accompany this site; full navigation is available from the menu at the left. If you click on Activities you will find some great interactives. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): biographies (87), presidents (131)

In the Classroom

This site is great to use for research projects or to find activity ideas for the entire class! Share the interactives on your projector or interactive whiteboard.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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All of Inflation's Little Parts - The New York Times

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7 to 12
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As the saying goes, "It's the economy, stupid." The US economy continues to be an important talking point. Some report that the country is already slipping into recession, but what...more
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As the saying goes, "It's the economy, stupid." The US economy continues to be an important talking point. Some report that the country is already slipping into recession, but what does that mean? This graphic, designed by the New York Times, is the kind of visual presentation that can really help put this discussion into perspective. Presented as an amped-up version of the traditional pie chart, the chart shows what percentage of the average consumer's spending is devoted to everything from cable TV to gas to fast food to postage. The graphic also shows the relative increase or decrease in that cost over the past year. For example, students may enjoy seeing the comparison between money spent on men's clothing versus that spent on women's clothing, with additional comparative data on shoes, accessories, and children's clothes! This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

In the Classroom

This relatively simple graphic has a very wide variety of possible applications. If you teach personal finance and budgeting, students can use this chart to compare the average American's spending with their own. If you teach economics, the fact that the items that have increased the most in the past year are gasoline, fuel oil, firewood, and eggs (OK, eggs?) will bear out the impact of the rise in the cost of crude oil and the chaos in the middle east. If you teach civics or government, you can show how the changes in the economy affect what citizens want from their politicians. If you teach math, the graphic's real-life data could be used as a basis for computation and problem solving. Because it's Flash-enabled, the "mouse over" effects and the ability to zoom in and out to see greater detail (how much does the average American spends on ham versus turkey? It's on there!). This site would work well on an interactive whiteboard or projector.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Smog City 2 - U.S. EPA and Sacramento Air Quality Management District

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5 to 12
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Use this interactive air pollution simulation to learn about the effects of particulates, ozone, and individual choices on air pollution. The Create Your Own section allows you...more
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Use this interactive air pollution simulation to learn about the effects of particulates, ozone, and individual choices on air pollution. The Create Your Own section allows you to test cause and effect of different factors in a controlled setting. Although the option to download the simulator is offered, it runs just fine in its online version. The site's disclaimer explains that the complex relationships between environmental factors have been simplified for this simulator, but the processes are still representative of the "real world" factors. This is a MUST for Earth Day!

This site is powerful and therefore may take some extra time to load - so prepare ahead! This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): air (163), earth (228), earth day (112), environment (317), pollution (66)

In the Classroom

Younger students would benefit from a teacher-centered introduction on the simulator (using your interactive whiteboard or projector), followed by directed explorations to find specific answers to teacher questions. Older students can determine the most important factors in air pollution and explore means to solve the problem as part of a health, social studies, science, or government class. Have your students present their finding on an interactive whiteboard or projector.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Like Father, Like Son: Presidential Families - National Endowment for the Humanities

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K to 2
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This lesson plan examines America's only two father-and-son presidents - John Adams and John Quincy Adams, and George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush. Students investigate the role and...more
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This lesson plan examines America's only two father-and-son presidents - John Adams and John Quincy Adams, and George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush. Students investigate the role and responsibilities of the presidency while comparing and contrasting each father-son pair. Includes suggested activities and links to online material about the presidents. The lesson plan is aligned to standards.

tag(s): presidents (131)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of this "ready to go" lesson plan, perfect for a President's Day celebration.

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If you were President - Scholastic

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5 to 8
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Students can have a taste of what it's like to occupy the highest office in the land with this clever, interactive activity. The site guides them through the process of ...more
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Students can have a taste of what it's like to occupy the highest office in the land with this clever, interactive activity. The site guides them through the process of selecting a cabinet, balancing a budget, responding to questions from the press, and reading reactions in the daily papers! A very thought provoking and enlightening site for helping kids understand the complex issues faced by America's presidents. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): presidents (131)

In the Classroom

Have students work on individual computers and try out being the president. Can they balance the budget? Choose the ideal cabinet members?
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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George Washington - American Presidents - University of Virginia

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6 to 12
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This George Washington page includes a quick fact sheet, a short biography, and links to additional information on Washington's advisors, administration, and accomplishments. It is...more
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This George Washington page includes a quick fact sheet, a short biography, and links to additional information on Washington's advisors, administration, and accomplishments. It is part of a very complete collection of presidential resources that could be a staple of an American history curriculum. Some of the activities require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): presidents (131), washington (36)

In the Classroom

Use this site for research projects about the United States first president! Share this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector as an introduction to this unit or as review. On the site are copies of some of Washington's speeches that the Miller Center has put in transcript form. One that would be especially useful is the "Farewell Address," that came to influence US Foreign Policy through WWI. Share the speech on the interactive whiteboard or projector, and have students either read it aloud in pieces or individually. Even parts of the address incorporated into a lecture would help illustrate to students US isolationism and the resonating effect of the speech in other areas of Foreign Policy.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Biographies of the Presidents - The White House

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4 to 12
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The White House web site includes short biographies of all the American presidents, suitable for introductory use or to compare presidencies. There are also a few facts about the presidents,...more
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The White House web site includes short biographies of all the American presidents, suitable for introductory use or to compare presidencies. There are also a few facts about the presidents, presidential "firsts," and the various administration. The site includes several video clips, some require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): presidents (131), white house (14)

In the Classroom

Share the historical video clips on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use this site for research projects on the U.S. Presidents. This site is a perfect addition to your Presidents' Day celebration!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Presidential Inauguration

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2 to 12
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Here is an excellent site for students to explore to discover what life will be like in Washington, D.C. during Inauguration Day (and probably the entire week). Don't miss the ...more
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Here is an excellent site for students to explore to discover what life will be like in Washington, D.C. during Inauguration Day (and probably the entire week). Don't miss the link to the Fun Facts! There are also links to information about Obama, Biden, an events calendar, various maps (mostly by Google Maps), emergency information, photo gallery, and more!

tag(s): inauguration (11)

In the Classroom

Share this site (and the impact on life in DC during inauguration day). Challenge students to write a mock ad to rent out their apartment for the inauguration or to plan a mock trip to the inauguration (including plans for what they will do while DC). Or have students describe the events of the day (after the fact) in a letter to their future grandchildren.

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Census in Schools - U.S. Census Bureau

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4 to 10
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This site, created especially for students who need to understand information collected during the census (up to, and including the year 2000), offers five main areas: State Facts for...more
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This site, created especially for students who need to understand information collected during the census (up to, and including the year 2000), offers five main areas: State Facts for Students, Program Overview, Teaching Materials (K-adult), Reference Materials, and Highlights. The state pages include a generalized lesson plan and pertinent information for each state. The City map section under reference materials is especially interesting as it shows city growth from 1790 to 2000. The teaching materials section includes activities and downloadable, printable census kits for classroom use from kindergarten students to adults.

tag(s): census (19), maps (287), states (162)

In the Classroom

This historical census data is ideal for comparison with other, more recent years or for students to make predictions for an upcoming census based on past trends. Use this page when studying various states; students can make a quick comparison between targeted states with the facts ready to read all on one or two pages. If you teach data analysis and graphing in your math class, this data provides real world information for students to use in math exercises, spreadsheets, and graphs. You could even use it in Google Docs spreadsheets (reviewed here). If you have ESL and ELL students, check out the special ESL pages found under the teaching materials section. The easy to read materials include glossaries, exercises, and excellent maps, perfect for geography lessons.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Daryl Cagle's Professional Cartoonists Index - MSNBC

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6 to 12
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We know that today's students are far more accustomed to learning through images than students of the past. This site is a collection of the work of dozens of political ...more
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We know that today's students are far more accustomed to learning through images than students of the past. This site is a collection of the work of dozens of political cartoonists and is constantly updated to provide fresh content tied to the news of the day. The site is surprisingly deep, however, and has cartoon galleries that go back at least five years.

Teachers should be aware of several cautions however: Preview the cartoons collections for age-appropriateness; understand that the site does contain advertisements; and recognize that the images are copyright protected. Teachers are advised to post links to specific cartoons rather than trying to "cut and paste" the cartoons into websites or other documents.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74), politics (99)

In the Classroom

Use the political cartoons on this site to introduce a class discussion on current events, civics, or government. Try using a cartoon as a writing prompt either for individual students or for collaborative work. Post a link to a particular cartoon or cartoon series on your classroom blog for discussion. Have students try to create a cartoon (either drawing or using computer generated images) depicting current events in the news.

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Lincoln 200 Years - C-Span

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6 to 12
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This site, created by C-Span, examines numerous areas of Abraham Lincoln's life and legacy. Main areas of this site include Schedule, Timeline, Videos, In His Own Words, & Gallery....more
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This site, created by C-Span, examines numerous areas of Abraham Lincoln's life and legacy. Main areas of this site include Schedule, Timeline, Videos, In His Own Words, & Gallery. The highlight of this site is the video link. Click and find video clips (some reenactments, others lectures) about the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, Gettysburg Address, Pre-Presidency, and his Assassination. This site also highlights the release of four new pennies in February 2009.

Be aware: the links in the left sidebar will take you to the parent site (C-Span), not the Lincoln information. The right sidebar provides a list of recommended websites about Lincoln. This site requires Real Player, you can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): civil war (145), emancipation proclamation (12), lincoln (86), slavery (72)

In the Classroom

If you are planning for the 200th birthday of Lincoln or any study of the Lincoln era, check out this site! This is a phenomenal site for any secondary class. Use this site for research projects. Share the videos on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students create their own videos of reenactments based on their research. Share the videos on TeacherTube (explained here).

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Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

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3 to 12
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This simple site offers several "Classroom Connections" to use in conjunction with a field trip to the museum. However, many of these ideas could easily be adapted into research projects...more
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This simple site offers several "Classroom Connections" to use in conjunction with a field trip to the museum. However, many of these ideas could easily be adapted into research projects or writing assignments for students in social studies or history class without a museum visit. All topics relate to Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War, or 19th Century Kids.

tag(s): civil war (145), lincoln (86), presidents (131)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a starting point for projects about our 16th president. Although most relate to exhibits found at the museum, similar research can be found online. Have students choose one of the several topics to research further.

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Mr. Lincoln's Attic - Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum

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3 to 9
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This downloadable PDF file offers a very detailed lesson plan and classroom activities about Abraham Lincoln. Topics include "Who Do We Collect Artifacts," "Do Objects Talk," "What's...more
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This downloadable PDF file offers a very detailed lesson plan and classroom activities about Abraham Lincoln. Topics include "Who Do We Collect Artifacts," "Do Objects Talk," "What's In A Name," and "Oral History Interviews." Although this site was created as a "Teacher's Guide" for classes visiting the museum, the lessons can be used independently without a trip to Illinois! Each topic includes standards, discussion questions, printable pages, pictures, and more. This site requires Adobe Acrobat, get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): letter writing (21), lincoln (86), presidents (131), writing (359)

In the Classroom

This "Teacher's Guide" is ready to go and easily adaptable to various grade levels. Project the discussion questions on your interactive whiteboard or projector, have students write responses to the questions or have a class debate. Print out the activities, and use this site as a mini unit. Have students interview a family member for the "Oral History Interview," and have students learn the meaning behind their own names with the lesson, "What's In a Name."
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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No Rest for the Weary - The New York Times on the Web

Grades
6 to 12
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This website features a "ready to go" lesson plan highlighting key events in Abraham Lincoln's life from 1862-1864. The lesson includes objectives, standards, thinking questions, interactives,...more
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This website features a "ready to go" lesson plan highlighting key events in Abraham Lincoln's life from 1862-1864. The lesson includes objectives, standards, thinking questions, interactives, a culminating exercise, and more. Students will browse articles from the New York Times, research key questions using interactives, and write reaction papers. Use this site to celebrate Lincoln's 200th birthday in 2009! This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): civil war (145), lincoln (86)

In the Classroom

teach about our 16th president? Use this easy-to-follow lesson plan with your class. Share the interactives on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Rather than having students write reaction papers, have students complete a multi-media presentation, such as a PowerPoint or even a news broadcast. Share the video of the news broadcast on SchoolTube (reviewed here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Podcasts: Civil War Tours - civilwartraveler.com

Grades
4 to 12
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This site includes 14+ podcasts focusing on famous battles of the Civil War. Each location also includes a detailed map, brief description, dates, and more. Most are rather lengthy...more
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This site includes 14+ podcasts focusing on famous battles of the Civil War. Each location also includes a detailed map, brief description, dates, and more. Most are rather lengthy ranging from twenty to fifty minutes. This site opens slowly at times and requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): civil war (145), gettysburg (26), lincoln (86)

In the Classroom

Share the podcasts on your projector or interactive whiteboard. (Download in advance to avoid delays). While listening to the podcast, project the map on the screen for students to view. After hearing a podcast have students create blog entries from the perspective of the soldiers at the battle. In younger grades, brainstorm ideas together before they start writing the blog entry. In the older grades, have a debate. Divide your class into two debate teams (Confederates or Union). Draw names randomly and allow the teams time to research the REASONS why they support their side of the war. For a shorter assignment, have a class discussion about how the Civil War and battles would have been different if the television (and YouTube) was around to broadcast the highlights of the battles. Would the war have ended more quickly or lasted longer? Why? Another idea: divide your class into groups and have the cooperative groups create local maps that highlight a location that has connections to Abraham Lincoln or the Civil War (if applicable).
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Lincoln Bicentennial: 1809-2009 - Library of Congress

Grades
K to 12
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If you are preparing for Lincoln's 200th birthday or a unit about the 16th President of the United States, check out this site. Designed for students in all grades, there ...more
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If you are preparing for Lincoln's 200th birthday or a unit about the 16th President of the United States, check out this site. Designed for students in all grades, there is an interactive timeline, online quiz, podcasts, detailed lesson plans for all grades K-12 (with standards), printable pages, research information, suggested literature for all ages, information about the Civil War, Gettysburg, and more! Much of the site requires Flash; some of the printables require Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): civil war (145), gettysburg (26), gettysburg address (18), lincoln (86), presidents (131)

In the Classroom

Be sure to save this site in your favorites! Share the interactive timeline, online quiz, and podcasts using your projector or interactive whiteboard. Use this site for research about our 16th President. Have students create a blog from Lincoln's point of view (or from a slave's point of view AFTER the Emancipation Proclamation). Use the lesson plans designed for the grades that you teach. (Don't miss the history, language arts and writing, and art lessons).
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Looking for Lincoln - History Hunt - Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition

Grades
2 to 8
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This site, originally created for students to use during a family field trip around central Illinois, shares information all about Lincoln. Students click to choose a location (Lincoln's...more
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This site, originally created for students to use during a family field trip around central Illinois, shares information all about Lincoln. Students click to choose a location (Lincoln's Law Office, Lincoln Courthouse, Lincoln's Tomb, and several others). Once "at" the location, students are given some basic facts about the locations, a "History Hunt Question" with several clues to help them solve the mystery, and a "Mystery History Object" with pictures of artifacts from the time period and a brief description of the picture. This site is excellent, but does not provide the answers to the "History Hunt Questions." However, most are easy to find at the site. What a fabulous way to celebrate the 200th birthday of one of the USA's greatest leaders.

tag(s): illinois (9), lincoln (86)

In the Classroom

Take your students on this virtual hunt during the month of February. Why not visit a new place each day, share the information, ask the History Hunt Question, and share the picture and information about the artifact. Share the site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students create their own "History Hunt Questions" about the town where you live and any connections to Lincoln: Underground Railroad Houses, a courthouse that defends the rights of all races, or even a mint where they make Lincoln pennies. Have students share their History Hunt Questions on a class wiki or online as a Place Spotting challenge (Read more about Place Spotting here ).

Younger students will need to do the "hunt" as a whole class activity because of the reading level and sophistication of some of the History Hunt pages. If you have the chance for lower elementary students to work together with older "buddies," they could enjoy the hunt together without teacher guidance. Gifted students and better readers in lower grades could also work on their own.

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