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Earliest Voices - Michigan State University

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6 to 12
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We are accustomed to hearing the voices of celebrities and important leaders today, but it has been less than 150 years since the invention of sound recording technology. Earliest Voices...more
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We are accustomed to hearing the voices of celebrities and important leaders today, but it has been less than 150 years since the invention of sound recording technology. Earliest Voices is an archive of recordings from the earliest years between 1877 and 1927. Hear Booker T. Washington speak about race relations or William Jennings Bryan's "Cross of Gold" speech. Listen to Thomas Edison (who was the inventor of the technology) speak about advances in technology and electricity. Find a short biography and images along with the recordings. A Real Player plugin is required.

tag(s): inventors and inventions (103), oral history (12), politics (98), sound (96)

In the Classroom

Bringing early voices to life in the classroom can help connect students with these important figures from history. Do their voices sound as you expected? Along with the audio records, you'll find important contextual information about early audio recordings, and about the circumstances surrounding each speech or recording.

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Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project - University of North Carolina Greensboro

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8 to 12
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The unique viewpoints of U.S. women veterans are well represented in this rich archive of photographs, oral histories, diaries, scrapbooks, and artifacts from the nineteenth century...more
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The unique viewpoints of U.S. women veterans are well represented in this rich archive of photographs, oral histories, diaries, scrapbooks, and artifacts from the nineteenth century to the present. The archive is particularly strong for women who served during World War II. It also includes World War I, Korea, Vietnam, The Cold War, Desert Storm, the Gulf Wars and the War on Terror. Search by date, branch of service, conflict, or by type of material, including over 350 oral histories.

tag(s): memorial day (13), oral history (12), primary sources (84), veterans (24), world war 1 (53), world war 2 (156)

In the Classroom

Use this archive for rich, authentic primary source material on the lives of women in the military. Consider having students, individually or in groups, choose a veteran and present her story to classmates. Use a tool like Zoho Show (similar to Powerpoint, but easier and free), reviewed here. Supplement classroom materials associated with a wartime era with the photographs, posters, and diaries provided here. Use these stories as part of a special focus for Veterans Day, Memorial Day, or Women's History Month. The archive would also be a particularly rich resource for students considering National History Day Projects.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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America Goes to War: an Infographic - New England College

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8 to 12
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What does it mean to go to war? This simple infographic shows the Constitutional process by which the United States declares war, traces the history of each of the U.S. ...more
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What does it mean to go to war? This simple infographic shows the Constitutional process by which the United States declares war, traces the history of each of the U.S. declarations of war, and differentiates among formal declarations, military actions, and Presidential or Congressional authorizations of force.

tag(s): civil war (147), congress (33), constitution (77), presidents (127), war of 1812 (14), world war 1 (53), world war 2 (156)

In the Classroom

Was the U.S. at war? What powers does the U.S. President have to declare war, and how have Presidents used those powers historically? A powerful, but simple infographic delineates the legal and Constitutional differences among U.S. wars historically. Share the infographic on an interactive whiteboard, or embed on your classroom website for reference.

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George Washington's Mount Vernon - Mount Vernon

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6 to 12
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Take a virtual tour of Mount Vernon, the home of the first President of the United States, George Washington. Beautifully executed, and packed with special features, the tour is billed...more
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Take a virtual tour of Mount Vernon, the home of the first President of the United States, George Washington. Beautifully executed, and packed with special features, the tour is billed as the "second best way to visit Mount Vernon," and doesn't disappoint. Be sure and watch the tutorial so you don't miss any of the many tips and tricks to get the most out of your virtual tour.

tag(s): 1700s (23), presidents (127), virtual field trips (48)

In the Classroom

Ideal for use on an interactive white board, or for students to access individually, this virtual tour has lots of features. You can explore the buildings, zoom in on items in the buildings, access stories and discussions that highlight features of the property and the daily lives of those who lived at Mount Vernon. There are additional links to lesson plans and other student resources.

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Wide Angle Window Into Global History - PBS

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6 to 12
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Looking for videos and resources that peer into Global Issues? Start with this resource! Click the Video Bank to view resources by themes: conflict, power, human rights, social structures,...more
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Looking for videos and resources that peer into Global Issues? Start with this resource! Click the Video Bank to view resources by themes: conflict, power, human rights, social structures, migrations, economic systems, factors of production, or political systems. Also, view the video bank by location in the world. Videos in each theme are up to several minutes in length and are clips of larger videos. Click on the video of choice, to view the video on a larger screen, see the guiding questions, read the background essay and transcript, and find related links. Text can easily be printed using the print function along the bottom. Videos are easily downloaded, with directions for both PC and Mac users. View the country and region map along the left side along with the accompanying lesson plan. Additionally, click on Lesson Plans instead to display the following for each global issue: overview, learning objectives and standards, media components (with links), and materials. Be sure to note the Prep for Teachers along the bottom of each lesson plan.
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tag(s): cross cultural understanding (109), cultures (103), maps (282)

In the Classroom

These resources and videos are extremely flexible for classroom use. Use the film clips for current events, and to also highlight events from the past. Use a video segment to get students thinking about past incidents, solutions, and whether today's environment has changed from that of the past. View a variety of clips from one theme and discuss events in the clip or use a writing assignment to provide time to process the events. Discuss in what ways these clips are similar and other societal, economic, and political factors that affected them. Use any of these videos to find any current events that are still dealing with the same issue today. Be sure to brainstorm how different people, in other areas of the world, would view these issues. Research these issues using resources from other areas of the world to see editorials and news clippings that are not American. Note: Use the country code after your search term or use this news search. Were there other people interviewed about any of these issues? Who are they and what did they say? Consider creating videos showcasing a variety of viewpoints. Use one of the video tools reviewed at the TeachersFirst Edge. Besides the viewpoint of each video, what would be a common question that all videos within the theme have in common? How does the bubble of our American culture hamper our understanding of other people both here in the U.S. and abroad? Research the history and culture of the various areas to identify factors responsible for the themes portrayed by this resource.

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The Roosevelts - PBS

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7 to 12
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PBS offers this series of lessons aligned to their popular mini-series, The Roosevelts. All lessons include alignment to standards, background information, discussion questions, and...more
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PBS offers this series of lessons aligned to their popular mini-series, The Roosevelts. All lessons include alignment to standards, background information, discussion questions, and evaluation rubrics. Choose from full-length Lesson Plans or Snapshot Lessons containing quick, adaptable activities for classroom use.
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tag(s): 1900s (31), presidents (127), roosevelt (16)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans offered to supplement your current lessons based on the Roosevelt family. Have groups of students complete different Snapshot Lessons then share with the class. Have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Multimedia Edge tools, reviewed here. Have students use Fakebook, reviewed here, to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about a member of the Roosevelt family.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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The Digital Declaration of Independence - David McClure

Grades
7 to 12
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Take a deeper look into the Declaration of Independence and the signers with this unique interactive. The interactive has three main parts: a high-resolution scan of The Declaration...more
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Take a deeper look into the Declaration of Independence and the signers with this unique interactive. The interactive has three main parts: a high-resolution scan of The Declaration of Independence with a full transcription of text, an annotated version of John Trumbull's painting of the signing, and an interactive map plotting the signer's hometowns and giving a mini biography. Use buttons on the site to move between the three portions. Be sure to view the instructions for a complete overview of all of the interactive offers.

tag(s): american revolution (84), declaration of independence (14), franklin (12), jefferson (19)

In the Classroom

Challenge students to find other paintings depicting famous events in United States (or another country). Have cooperative learning groups create a multimedia presentation about the paintings. Create fictitious blog entries from one character in a painting to another character within another painting at another famous event. What would John F. Kennedy write to Benjamin Franklin? Assign students different roles, i.e. founding fathers, and have them use the biographies on this site to allow them to research what their role was and what their beliefs were for a debate as to whether or not to sign the Declaration of Independence.

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Columbia River - National Geographic

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5 to 12
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How has the damming of the mighty Columbia River changed the people and the environment around it? Follow the Columbia downstream to find facts and information about the dams, the ...more
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How has the damming of the mighty Columbia River changed the people and the environment around it? Follow the Columbia downstream to find facts and information about the dams, the Columbia, and its inhabitants. Choose between the full version or the light version of this site (the full version has motion animation throughout). Hover your mouse over items to read a preview. Click to expand and read information about how people have used the Columbia, threats throughout, and various animals found there. Click Downstream to shift the viewing frame to another section of the river. Click on Resources and Links at the bottom of the Interactive for links to more information.
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tag(s): ecosystems (86), electricity (84), rivers (21), watersheds (16)

In the Classroom

Show this interactive to the whole class on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Identify areas that are interesting, hovering over them and sharing the information. Take notes of the various impacts on the river system and how the dams have changed them. Use other resources such as Google Earth, reviewed here, to look at the Columbia River firsthand. As a project, research hydroelectric power and the advantages and disadvantages. Research and compare the uses of the Columbia River with others throughout the country. Identify problems with the rivers. For a history class, how have the uses of water changed throughout the years? Look locally at your own watershed. Research the history of the watershed and its uses throughout the history of your area. Create a multimedia project that showcases the information. Use one of the many TeachersFirst Edge Multimedia tools, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Help Lincoln Get to the White House - National Park Service

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5 to 12
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This interactive timeline shows the route Lincoln took to become the President. Along the way, answer questions about his progress and life. ...more
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This interactive timeline shows the route Lincoln took to become the President. Along the way, answer questions about his progress and life.

tag(s): elections (71), lincoln (85), presidents (127)

In the Classroom

Have younger students create an online book of images and captions about Lincoln's life using Bookr, reviewed here, (Bookr uses Flickr images, so you must first upload or find the images on Flickr). For older students - challenge cooperative learning groups (or partners) to create a similar story about another president using pictures, themes, and other prompts generated by the site StoryBird, reviewed here. To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try Compfight, reviewed here.
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A Journey to a New Land - Simon Fraser University Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology

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1 to 12
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Venture over 12,000 years into the past to look at the first people to live in the Canadian regions of North America. This site from a B.C. museum offers different ...more
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Venture over 12,000 years into the past to look at the first people to live in the Canadian regions of North America. This site from a B.C. museum offers different levels of information, videos, and interactive media about the first peoples and their migration across the land bridge from Europe. The site is available in both English and French language. Instructor materials support use from primary to post-secondary levels. Watch native video greetings in several languages, learn about settlements, the geography and change of the actual water and land masses, the archaeology and dating of artifacts, and much more. The Site Map offers a good way to see the scope of the offerings.

tag(s): archeology (30), native americans (82)

In the Classroom

Include this resource as you teach about Native Americans. These peoples did not divide themselves as "Canadian" or "American," so much of the information here is applicable in a U.S. classroom as well! Differentiate for high or low students easily using the different levels of the site. The primary level requires far less reading so offers a good introduction for weaker readers or ESL/ELL students. Have students write a script and create a video or simply compose a blog post about daily life as one of the people migrating into North America (but be sure to talk about the fact that they probably did not actually know how to write). Use a visual blogging tool such as Check This (reviewed here) - no registration required!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Trans Atlantic Slave Trade Visualization - Matthew Burdumy and Adam Rothman

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8 to 12
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The Trans Atlantic Slave Trade Visualization site uses Google Maps to demonstrate the historical geography of the Atlantic slave trade. Three simulations show the origin of slaving...more
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The Trans Atlantic Slave Trade Visualization site uses Google Maps to demonstrate the historical geography of the Atlantic slave trade. Three simulations show the origin of slaving voyages, embarkation points of slave ships, and disembarkation points of human cargo in the Americas. Changes in the color spectrum from green to red show the number and density of voyages cumulating over time. Zoom in or out on maps to show more or less detail.

tag(s): maps (282), slavery (72)

In the Classroom

This site is perfect for use on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Display the different visualizations as part of any unit or lesson on the slave trade starting in 1526. Have students make a multimedia presentation about this site using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. Have students use Fakebook (reviewed here) to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook from different perspectives within the slave trade such as a ship captain, slave owner, or slave.

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The Patriot Spy - National Park Service

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4 to 10
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Explore the background of the American Revolution. This activity challenges you to try to deliver a letter from a rebel Patriot to the real Paul Revere. You must walk a ...more
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Explore the background of the American Revolution. This activity challenges you to try to deliver a letter from a rebel Patriot to the real Paul Revere. You must walk a dangerous path in Boston to get to Paul Revere's house, facing many challenges along the way. The interactivity with the quest may make you forget that you are learning important history along the way!

tag(s): american revolution (84), colonial america (108)

In the Classroom

Assign this activity in pairs when studying the American Revolution's beginnings. This activity would work well at a learning station or on individual computers. The activity takes about 20 minutes. The student challenges not only teach about the revolutionary period, but also explains the steps a park ranger takes when investigating a historical artifact or document. The text portions might be challenging. Pair weak readers with a strong reader.
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The Triangle Factory Fire - Cornell University Kheel Center

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8 to 12
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The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911 represents a turning point in the history of labor relations and workers' rights to a safe work environment. In commemoration of the 100th...more
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The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911 represents a turning point in the history of labor relations and workers' rights to a safe work environment. In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the fire, and in tribute to the 146 young, immigrant workers who lost their lives largely due to unsafe working conditions, you'll find an overview of the fire and the circumstances that led up to it. There are a large number of historical images of the building itself, primary documents related to the event, newspaper accounts of the investigation and trial, and brief biographies of the victims. Audio recordings of oral histories from three survivors, and transcripts of those interviews are a valuable resource.

tag(s): 20th century (47), immigrants (19), immigration (58), industrial revolution (24), industrialization (14), labor day (5), safety (100), women (95)

In the Classroom

A particularly rich source of primary documents, photographs, and interviews with survivors, add this to your resources for lessons on the labor movement, stories of early 20th century immigration, and women's history. There is a helpful section for students on using primary documents and resources, and an excellent bibliography. Be sure and include this information as a resource for National History Day projects.

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The Battle of Appomattox - Civil War Trust

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6 to 12
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The 150th anniversary of the Battle of Appomattox commemorates the final battle of the American Civil War and the surrender of General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. You'll...more
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The 150th anniversary of the Battle of Appomattox commemorates the final battle of the American Civil War and the surrender of General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. You'll find important facts about the battle, maps, videos, and images useful in highlighting this important event. Download the Appomattox Battle App for iOs or Google Play.

tag(s): 1800s (43), civil war (147), DAT device agnostic tool (159)

In the Classroom

Use one of the short videos hosted by National Park Service historians to give students the context and details about the Battle of Appomattox and Lee's surrender. Share the video clips on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Some nice graphics give a summary of the battle, a map shows troop movements, and a gallery of photos can give students a look at the battlefield today.

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Once Upon a Roof - Virtual Museum of Canada/ Societe d'histoire du Lac-Saint-Jea

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4 to 12
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Learn about the history of house structures in Eastern Canada, with connections to home building in general. See how homes adapt to the settings in the Living in the New ...more
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Learn about the history of house structures in Eastern Canada, with connections to home building in general. See how homes adapt to the settings in the Living in the New World section. See a timeline of homes in Canada (similar to homes history in some portions of the U.S.). Learn about the skilled builder trades on the Youthzone. The architectural Glossary is great for learning the names of all those things that stick out or hold up your house! The Homo Renovus section is all about terms and techniques in home renovation.

tag(s): architecture (76), homes (12), structures (24)

In the Classroom

Include this resource during an elementary social studies unit on homes (Homes in the New World). The Prozone includes Teacher materials for Canadian elementary social studies lessons. Include it during an Art or drafting lesson on home design. If you teach about career explorations, this site would be of interest to budding architects and builders from elementary on up. Have students draw or annotate an image of a home, complete with architectural terms, and explain why it fits the location where it is built. In upper level classes, compare the homes found on this site with newer, green designs. Have physics or science students annotate a home image to show the forces upon it and the underlying structures used to keep the home standing. Share the images in a "home show" on your class wiki!

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Sakura: Cherry Blossoms as Living Symbols of Friendship - Library of Congress

Grades
8 to 12
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In 1912, the city of Tokyo, Japan donated 3,000 cherry trees to the city of Washington, DC, as a symbol of friendship. The trees, planted around the Capitol's tidal basin, ...more
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In 1912, the city of Tokyo, Japan donated 3,000 cherry trees to the city of Washington, DC, as a symbol of friendship. The trees, planted around the Capitol's tidal basin, have become part of a treasured tradition. Viewing the cherry blossoms in the spring draws millions of visitors. The Library of Congress offers a brief history of the cherry blossoms and connects cherry trees to their cultural significance in Japanese culture.

tag(s): japan (62), japanese (42), trees (30), washington (36)

In the Classroom

Cherry Blossoms are both a symbol of spring, and a legacy of the historical relationship between the people of Japan and the United States. Make a brief detour during a lesson on Asian history, on the development of Washington, D.C. as the US capital, or on important American cultural symbols, and look at the roots of this tradition. There are primary sources to explore, and links to contemporary photos of the Cherry Blossom Festival.

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Uncle Tom's Cabin and American Culture - University of Virginia

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8 to 12
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Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin was a cultural phenomenon when it was published, and continues to be an important window into the mid-19th century anti-slavery movement prior...more
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Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin was a cultural phenomenon when it was published, and continues to be an important window into the mid-19th century anti-slavery movement prior to the American Civil War. Here you will find important cultural context for a fuller discussion of the novel and its impact on American society and history. Browse the site for a variety of primary source material, or interpret the work's significance through one of several lenses: Anti-slavery texts, the influence of "minstrel shows," 19th century Christian revivalism, or Victorian sentimentality. There are several high school level lesson plans to give you ideas for using the enormous number of audio, visual, and text-based resources available to supplement either a literary examination of Uncle Tom's Cabin, or a cultural-historical one. Be advised that much of the primary material reflects the 19th century views on race that prevailed at the time. It should be carefully viewed and used within a discussion of its context.

tag(s): 1800s (43), abolition (8), african american (113), civil rights (108), civil war (147), racism (18), slavery (72)

In the Classroom

Whether you are approaching Uncle Tom's Cabin from a literary perspective or a historical perspective, the primary sources here are deep and offer a variety. Listen to minstrel songs, view advertisements for performances, or read poems and other literary responses to the work. Because much of the site contains material that is rooted in a 19th century perspective on race, you should screen images, texts, and lyrics, and ensure that students understand their context before using them in the classroom.
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David Rumsey Historical Map Collection - Cartography Associates

Grades
6 to 12
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In an age where digital maps are ubiquitous and take us down to house-by-house detail, we can forget how difficult it was to create accurate maps before satellite imaging. Historical...more
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In an age where digital maps are ubiquitous and take us down to house-by-house detail, we can forget how difficult it was to create accurate maps before satellite imaging. Historical maps are another tool for understanding the frame of reference of those who lived before us, and are important primary source documents. This collection includes over 50,000 historical maps, with an emphasis on 18th and 19th century maps of North and South America. The collection can be viewed from several platforms. Over 120 of the maps can be accessed using the Google Maps interface. A Georeferencer utility allows you to view a historical map laid over a modern map of the same area. And finally, the site's LUNA browser allows you to view multiple maps together, create embeddable links or Web Widgets that can be used in other applications, create slide shows of collections of maps, and annotate specific maps in the collection.

tag(s): 1700s (23), 1800s (43), map skills (81), maps (282), north america (20), south america (35)

In the Classroom

Use this historical map collection to highlight contemporary views of places featured in your history, literature, or geography lessons. Consider asking students to create a slideshow of maps that show how a location has changed over time, or how political boundaries have changed. Use a tool like Zoho Show (similar to Powerpoint, but easier and free) - reviewed here. Help students understand how culture influences map making and what historical maps can tell us other than information on geography.
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American Centuries: History and Art from New England - Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association

Grades
6 to 10
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The New England states in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries acted as a crucible for the development of US culture into the present time. This collection of artifacts from ...more
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The New England states in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries acted as a crucible for the development of US culture into the present time. This collection of artifacts from a Massachusetts museum gives a glimpse into American life in New England during that time. Browse the collection for images and descriptions of specific artifacts. Explore themes like Shay's Rebellion, the lives of African-Americans in early rural New England, or the Civil War era in New England. Interactive activities allow you to look at Early American tools, examine artifacts using a 360 degree view or see what clothing was worn (down to the underwear!) by people of the time. A separate section of the site designed just for kids accesses more activities. The teachers' reference section includes lesson plans and other classroom suggestions.

tag(s): 1700s (23), 1800s (43), american revolution (84), civil war (147), clothing (10), colonial america (108), massachusetts (10), new hampshire (5), new york (25)

In the Classroom

A great supplement to lessons about early American life in the New England states, there are activities suitable for use on an interactive whiteboard to projector. Or challenge students to peruse this site independently in groups. Have students view early tools and guess what they were used for. Short video clips will help them discover if they were right. Students can examine historical documents up close and learn how to decipher early handwriting.
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Retronaut via Mashable - Timescape

Grades
7 to 12
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Retronaut is an archive of historical photos, though not your typical photos. These images are sometimes quirky, and generally unexpected. Many have explanations about the period. View...more
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Retronaut is an archive of historical photos, though not your typical photos. These images are sometimes quirky, and generally unexpected. Many have explanations about the period. View images of 1970's rock stars with their parents (Elton John, Frank Zappa, Eric Clapton to name a few). See Selma's Children, What Parisian Fancy Ladies wore in 1906, history's first women aviators, and much more. Explore the site by Most Popular, Featured, or The Latest. Click on an image to view a "capsule" with other related images. Some of the images have links under them for attribution, and you can see and read even more about that topic. Under latest, this reviewer found topics that were just added five days before, so you may want to check back if you do not find what you're looking for. Warning: At the time of this review there were two topics that may be inappropriate for the classroom. Use the URL of the topic you wish to share in a new window or tab of your web browser.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): 1700s (23), 1800s (43), 1900s (31), 20th century (47), advertising (32), cultures (103), images (255), maps (282), medicine (65), politics (98), transportation (40)

In the Classroom

Share Retronaut via Mashable with students to explore images from a given time or relating to any historic topic to get an interesting perspective not typically seen in textbooks. Create capsules using images to share for any classroom project or allow students to create their own in conjunction with classroom presentations. Use Wellcome Images, reviewed here, with over 100,000 historical images if you do not find what you want on Retronaut. Galleries are not moderated, so check before sharing on your interactive whiteboard or projector. You can always use the URL of the topic you wish to share on a new tab of your web browser.

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