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Cool Earth - Mark Ellingham

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K to 12
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Cool Earth is an organization that works to protect the Rainforest from deforestation and prevent climate change. The site is a valuable resource for information about the Rainforest....more
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Cool Earth is an organization that works to protect the Rainforest from deforestation and prevent climate change. The site is a valuable resource for information about the Rainforest. There is a variety of ways for schools to participate. The site contains valuable information useful for research projects, short videos, galleries full of rainforest imagery, submit questions, and read blog entries written by visitors currently in the Amazon. Schools can register with Cool Earth to receive regular updates, news, and participate in site competitions. Classrooms looking for a service project may want to participate in the "cool school" project. Students raise money or find funding from local businesses to buy an acre of Rainforest. Cool Earth then provides a map marking the exact location of your plot of land for students to view. Cool Earth also explains ways to cut carbon emissions.

Be aware: this site also includes some items for sale. You may want to advise students to steer clear of these links.

tag(s): carbon (21), climate (91), ecology (135), environment (318), sustainability (20)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site by sharing photos or videos on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Include this site on a list of hotlinks for students to access when researching the Rainforest, climate change, sustainability, or carbon footprints. Save this site in your favorites on classroom computers for students to view rainforest maps, ask questions, or read magazine articles. Ask students to visit the site and create an interactive multimedia presentation from the information they learn there using Sway, reviewed here. Register your school with Cool Earth and take advantage of the free lesson plans and resources they offer. The ultimate experience would be to personalize student learning and sponsor a tree or organize a fundraiser to purchase an acre of land. Ask students to research their tree, or the biome biodiversity characteristic of their acre. Include a link to this site on your class web page for students to access both in and out of class.

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The Anne Frank House - The Anne Frank Stichting

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5 to 12
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The Anne Frank House has been a museum since 1960. The history of the former hiding place where the Frank family and four other Jews lived in secrecy comes alive ...more
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The Anne Frank House has been a museum since 1960. The history of the former hiding place where the Frank family and four other Jews lived in secrecy comes alive on this website. Starting with 1940 photographs of the building known as Opekta factory, see and learn how the office space was transformed into the Secret Annex where Anne Frank hid for more than two years until the betrayal and arrest by the Nazis. Find out about the four employees who risked their lives to make the hiding possible. The rooms of the Secret Annex have been preserved in their authentic state and salvaged documents and objects belonging to the eight people in hiding are on display. Three short films are included on the website to place the significance of this personal story in a historical context. See Anne Frank's hiding place in 3D and meet the people that helped those hidden inside. After clicking on the secret bookcase, you will be taken behind the scenes of the house to see how Anne and others lived in the communal room, the front office, the attic and more. View the painstaking ways that were taken to keep them safe, and by looking at the space where Anne ate, slept, and hung her pictures.

tag(s): anne frank (10), holocaust (39), remembrance day (6), women (92), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Use your interactive whiteboard or projector to take your class on a virtual field trip to Amsterdam to visit the Secret Annex where they can realize what it was actually like for Anne Frank's family and four others to live inside a hidden space, with the constant fear of being discovered by the Nazis. Help the words in Anne's diary come alive by showing what the outside and inside of the building looked like, by viewing the painstaking ways that were taken to keep them safe, and by looking at the space where Anne ate, slept, and hung her pictures. Students will be more likely to relate to Anne as a real person, instead of a fictional character, and admire her optimism, courage, and resiliency. Use this to initiate journal entries for students to reflect on how they would handle two years of hiding and sharing a small space with others, as well as what they would do to remain positive, or use the online exhibit to shed some light on a dark period in history and to strengthen the personal account of the hiding period and the deportation to the camps. Assign class members to read about one of the house members or helpers to research, then have them write a diary (or blog entry) from that person's point of view. Assign teams to debate who was the most important member of the household or if this situation could take place in today's society. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.Have groups compare two people they learned about using a tool such as the Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here). Create a class wiki for students to share their journal articles and respond to others.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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A Family Farm Album: The Photographs of Frank Sadorus - Illinois State Museum

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3 to 12
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Take a journey through the life of Frank Sadoras. This site has a wonderful collection of photographs and biographical documents that chronicles Frank's life growing up on a farm in...more
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Take a journey through the life of Frank Sadoras. This site has a wonderful collection of photographs and biographical documents that chronicles Frank's life growing up on a farm in Illinois from 1898-1912. By using this site, you and your students will get a view of what life was like growing up on a farm as well as the photographic techniques Frank used to take his photos.

tag(s): agriculture (57), genealogy (7), photography (162), primary sources (90)

In the Classroom

This site is a good site to use if you want to introduce more primary sources into your teaching. There is an extensive activities and resource section that covers the topics of photography, history, farming and genealogy. In addition, the PDF entitled the Turning Point would be a good resource to use in a lesson on narrative writing. Share the photos in art (or photography) class on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Have students create blog entries from the perspective of Frank Sadorus. Use the pictures for creative writing exercises. Why not have a photo of the week and have students write a short piece on the class wiki about what they feel the picture represents, what is happening in the photo, what the animal or person was doing/thinking in the photo, or whatever else is applicable in your class. Do you want to learn more about wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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National Hispanic Heritage Month Resources - TeachersFirst

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K to 12
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This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help teachers and students celebrate National Hispanic Heritage month and the important contributions of those...more
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This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help teachers and students celebrate National Hispanic Heritage month and the important contributions of those whose heritage traces to Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America through related projects and classroom activities.

tag(s): hispanic (17)

In the Classroom

Use the resources in the collection to supplement classroom material during a unit on Hispanic Heritage. The resources listed here can be used for webquests, learning centers, lesson plans & the like!

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Taking the Fifth - Pearson Education

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3 to 6
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This site offers a quick 5-question quiz. Test your students' knowledge Cinco de Mayo with this quiz. Be aware: there are LARGE advertisements at this site (all appropriate, but a ...more
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This site offers a quick 5-question quiz. Test your students' knowledge Cinco de Mayo with this quiz. Be aware: there are LARGE advertisements at this site (all appropriate, but a bit distracting).

tag(s): cinco de mayo (12), mexico (34)

In the Classroom

While studying Cinco de Mayo and/or Mexico, share this quick quiz on your interactive whiteboard or projector.

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Holiday Zone: Cinco de Mayo - Julie Vickery- Smith

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2 to 6
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This Cinco de Mayo site offers a small but nice collection of recipes, games, activities, language exercises, and crafts to incorporate into a class celebration. At the time...more
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This Cinco de Mayo site offers a small but nice collection of recipes, games, activities, language exercises, and crafts to incorporate into a class celebration. At the time of this review, one of the interactive games was not working. There are also links to more information (several of which are out of date). However, the links that are active, offer lots of detailed information. Be aware: this site does include unobtrusive advertisements.

tag(s): cinco de mayo (12), mexico (34)

In the Classroom

Use this site to prepare for your classroom's Cinco de Mayo celebration. Have cooperative learning groups explore one of the additional sites or a specific topic and create a multimedia presentation: a PowerPoint, video, or blog entry.

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Cinco de Mayo - BellaOnline

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1 to 6
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This site offers a booklist all related to Cinco de Mayo. Try out these two books and related hands-on activities that explore the traditions and culture of Mexico. There is...more
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This site offers a booklist all related to Cinco de Mayo. Try out these two books and related hands-on activities that explore the traditions and culture of Mexico. There is also a link to other sites for additional information. MOST of these sites were working, at the time of this review. This site does include some advertisements.

tag(s): cinco de mayo (12), mexico (34)

In the Classroom

Read the stories to your class and try some of the activities together!

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Cinco de Mayo - Kiddyhouse.com

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2 to 6
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This site offers great detailed information about Cinco de Mayo. Highlights include "When is Cinco de Mayo?," "What is Cinco de Mayo Celebrated About?,"Why is Cinco de Mayo Celebrated...more
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This site offers great detailed information about Cinco de Mayo. Highlights include "When is Cinco de Mayo?," "What is Cinco de Mayo Celebrated About?,"Why is Cinco de Mayo Celebrated on a Much Larger Scale in the United States?," and many other links and printables. Be aware: this site has not been kept up to date and many of the "extra" links are no longer working, however the information is still useful.

tag(s): cinco de mayo (12), mexico (34)

In the Classroom

Use this informational site about the history behind the May 5th holiday as the focus of a teacher-made Web hunt. Check out the links at the end of the narrative for printable coloring activities and Word searches.

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Cinco de Mayo - abcteach

Grades
2 to 6
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Celebrate with this collection of activities that includes an informational essay with reading comprehension questions, a coloring page, and printable worksheets for poetry and creative...more
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Celebrate with this collection of activities that includes an informational essay with reading comprehension questions, a coloring page, and printable worksheets for poetry and creative writing tasks inspired by the Mexican holiday. Many of the printables require Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): cinco de mayo (12), mexico (34)

In the Classroom

Share this informative site with your students on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have cooperative learning groups explore this site together. Why not challenge students to create a news broadcast highlighting the holiday. Tape the broadcasts and share them on a site such as Teachers.TV (explained here).
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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NMAI: Identity by Design - Smithsonian

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6 to 12
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From the National Museum of the American Indian, this online exhibit is subtitled "Tradition, Change and Celebration in Native Women's Dresses." The exhibit uses 19th century Native...more
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From the National Museum of the American Indian, this online exhibit is subtitled "Tradition, Change and Celebration in Native Women's Dresses." The exhibit uses 19th century Native women's clothing as insight into Native American culture of the time period, and features stunning photographs of Native dresses and commentary by present-day Native women. The site both describes the ways Native women made their clothing in the 19th century and the ways that clothing can give us important clues about the role of women in Native society. Of interest also are the ways clothing began to reflect the influence of the dominant white culture on traditional Native practices. The site also includes information about today's Native Powwow dance competitions which bridge the distance between traditional culture and the modern world, and bring 19th century Native women's clothing and costume into the 21st century. The Resources link contains lesson plans and educational material. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): clothing (9), native americans (78), women (92)

In the Classroom

Traditionally, American history has been taught as the story of the dominant European culture's triumph over more primitive Native cultures. Native American culture is too often pictured as one-dimensional rather than as a rich collection of diverse tribes and cultures. If Native women are featured at all, they may be represented only by Pocahontas and Sacajawea. This site allows a fuller exploration of the variety of Native women's cultures and would serve as an outstanding supplement to a study of the European settlement of the West. The photographs of the women's dresses are lovely and would display nicely on an interactive whiteboard or projector. The commentary would be useful for any student doing more in-depth research into Native culture. The site's focus on women's roles and culture would also fit nicely with a unit on women's history. The Resources link contains lesson plans and educational material. To extend the clothing-as -culture approach in your classroom, ask students to create a wiki showing the role of clothing in ethnic subcultures of the U.S. today or at other places and times. Middle school grades might want to work together with the art or FCS teachers on this.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Ancient Mexico -The Art, Culture and History of Ancient Mesoamerica - Patrick Oliveras

Grades
4 to 12
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Take your students on a lively and colorful exploration of ancient Mexico! This visually stunning site leads explorers through the pantheon of Mayan Gods, the fall of the Aztec empire,...more
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Take your students on a lively and colorful exploration of ancient Mexico! This visually stunning site leads explorers through the pantheon of Mayan Gods, the fall of the Aztec empire, a clickable Mesoamerican time line and a wonderful interactive map. View the ruins of the cities of Pre-Columbian Mexico by clicking on their names on the map! Watch the conquest of Mexico as a flash animation of ancient drawings and music. Read the words of the Spanish explorers in the primary source documents of Mexico. Although Ancient Mexico is a commercial site, the advertising is limited to the books and DVD's for sale on the topic of Mesoamerica and some history-related Google ads.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): aztecs (9), mayans (13), mexico (34), spanish (109)

In the Classroom

Tour Ancient Mexico as a whole class activity with an interactive whiteboard or projector. If students have access to computers, let groups delve into selected topics and create interactive travel posters and brochures using a tool such as Sway, reviewed here, as their research projects. Students can look at the cities in ruins, explore architectural styles and ceremonial uses of the buildings, and find contemporary examples.

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Using Timeline Games and Mexican History to Improve Comprehension - IRA/NCTE

Grades
3 to 6
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The IRA/NCTE has created this wonderful resource that incorporates timelines, Mexican history, and comprehension. The unit is broken down into eight 45-minute sessions. The website...more
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The IRA/NCTE has created this wonderful resource that incorporates timelines, Mexican history, and comprehension. The unit is broken down into eight 45-minute sessions. The website challenges students to study some basic information about Mexican history. Then the students are asked to create an illustrated timeline. There are numerous other "mini" activities available within this lesson plan. If your class doesn't have the time to complete this entire unit, pick and choose what works for your class. The lesson plans are ready to go, easy to follow, include interactive elements, and are highly motivational. This website requires Flash, get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): aztecs (9), mexico (34), timelines (64)

In the Classroom

The interactive timeline maker tool linked in this lesson is outstanding for ANY timeline you want students to make. The final product is printed and is NOT saved anywhere, however. Make sure you allow enough time to complete the work and print.

Use this lesson plan to teach your students Mexican history, how to use/create a timeline, and to improve their reading comprehension. Your students with family heritage from Mexico would benefit twice from using this lesson for comprehension activities. This is truly an interdisciplinary unit, and includes directions, objectives, standards, and more. The lessons would work well as independent study in the computer lab, cooperative learning activities, or whole class research using an interactive whiteboard.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Totem Poles - Pat Kramer

Grades
4 to 8
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Learn the basics and debunk the myths about totem poles using the site created by a "transplant" to the Pacific Northwest. Although the write is also selling a book, ...more
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Learn the basics and debunk the myths about totem poles using the site created by a "transplant" to the Pacific Northwest. Although the write is also selling a book, there is significant information, and the photos are helpful in understanding the iconography of totem poles.

In the Classroom

If you use the site with elementary children, you may want to let them partner-read some of the longer text portions. Use this site as part of a unit on indigenous peoples of the Americas, then have the students create their own totems in an authentic way. Art teachers may want to use this as an inspiration for a totem-like project in clay, wood, or other materials. The connections to oral history are fascinating and can lead to lengthy discussion in a history class about how we "know" what we say happened before written history.

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Native American Nations - Lisa Mitten

Grades
3 to 12
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Find Native American nations' own sites and information in this alphabetical index by tribe(with notes as to most recent updates). ...more
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Find Native American nations' own sites and information in this alphabetical index by tribe(with notes as to most recent updates).

In the Classroom

Use this site as a resource for research papers and projects. Students can search for information about specific tribes or for information that the tribes themselves have put forward. This would be a great resource for a US history class.

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History of the Cherokee - Ken Martin and others

Grades
4 to 12
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This straightforward informational site provides history and images of the Cherokee nation, including important figures, Cherokee law, maps, and events from before European settlers...more
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This straightforward informational site provides history and images of the Cherokee nation, including important figures, Cherokee law, maps, and events from before European settlers until now. The site creator is himself a mixed blood Cherokee.

In the Classroom

Steer clear of the genealogy links. They are either selling something or they do not work. This is a great site for basic background information, such as you could seek with a scavenger hunt.

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Food for the Ancestors - PBS

Grades
5 to 6
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Children learn about Mexican food as they learn about the Mexican Holiday Day of the Dead. This site, used in combination with a PBS video, readings, and more, provides a ...more
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Children learn about Mexican food as they learn about the Mexican Holiday Day of the Dead. This site, used in combination with a PBS video, readings, and more, provides a multi-skill, multimedia approach to studying nutrition and the culture of Mexico. Video elements require Real Player. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): agriculture (57), cooking (35), holidays (151), mexico (34), myplate (28), nutrition (158), spanish (109)

In the Classroom

Bring the real thing into the classroom by trying some of the recipes with the children!

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Adventures in the Past- Virtual Site Visits - US Bureau of Land Management

Grades
3 to 12
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"Archaeological, historic, and fossil sites are unique portals to the past," declares this site as it invites you to visit locations around the U.S. as ways to learn about archelogical...more
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"Archaeological, historic, and fossil sites are unique portals to the past," declares this site as it invites you to visit locations around the U.S. as ways to learn about archelogical finds, natural formations, and historical preservation sites that teach about the early U.S. and its Native American predecessors. Many of the virtual visits are created by BLM, and those that are not warn you before you leave the site. The locations included spread across most of the western U.S. and Alaska.

tag(s): archeology (32), fossils (46)

In the Classroom

Take your class on a "field trip" without leaving the classroom. Give them a list of things to find out as they explore a location on their own computers or "travel" together on a projector. Younger students will need help with text passages.

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1492 - An Ongoing Voyage - Library of Congress

Grades
9 to 12
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This site from the Library of Congress takes a detailed look at the variety of peoples and civilizations that were thriving on the American continents before they were "discovered"...more
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This site from the Library of Congress takes a detailed look at the variety of peoples and civilizations that were thriving on the American continents before they were "discovered" by the Europeans. The content includes native peoples of the Caribbean, Mexico, South America, and North America. Try this one as a counterpoint to a traditional explorers unit, or as part of a study of the Maya, Inca, or other native cultures.

tag(s): explorers (65), native americans (78)

In the Classroom

Use the images on this site to create a picture walk activity in your classroom. Select 10-15 of the more descriptive images, preferably with different subjects. Assign students to stand at specific images, rotating every 30-45 seconds. In that time, students should quickly jot down what they observe, infer and predict about each. After the walk is done, have a class discussion based on the notes that students have taken. This is a great way to introduce the beginnings of the New World in a non-lecture format.

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Create a Timeline - Ourtimelines.com

Grades
1 to 12
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This online tool lets you create a timeline of an individual's life using dates from 1000 AD to the present year. Enter the person's name and dates, add events (historic ...more
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This online tool lets you create a timeline of an individual's life using dates from 1000 AD to the present year. Enter the person's name and dates, add events (historic or personal) and their beginning/ending dates, and click the "generate" button.

tag(s): timelines (64)

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History Explorer - Smithsonian

Grades
6 to 12
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This multimedia site explores various facets of American history through Lessons, interactives, Themes and more. Visitors can view objects that are part of the Smithsonian collection,...more
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This multimedia site explores various facets of American history through Lessons, interactives, Themes and more. Visitors can view objects that are part of the Smithsonian collection, navigate between historical eras, or filter the information by selected themes (Arts and Culture, Politics and Reform, etc.) Items in the exhibit are linked to National Museum of American History websites that provide more in-depth information.

tag(s): agriculture (57), american revolution (89), famous people (21), japan (62), japanese (43), jazz (15), lincoln (86), politics (100)

In the Classroom

Use this site as the starting point for individual or group projects. There is enough information in "exhibit" details to provide a starting point for students trying to decide what to base a research project on. Recommend the site to students who are having difficulty picking a project subject.
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