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The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History - The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

Grades
6 to 12
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This ambitious site has something for anyone who teaches American history. In fact, if you love history, be prepared to completely lose track of time as you explore the site. ...more
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This ambitious site has something for anyone who teaches American history. In fact, if you love history, be prepared to completely lose track of time as you explore the site. From the homepage, click on "For Teachers and Students" to find lesson plans grouped into thematic modules, information about summer institutes for teachers, useful resources, and news about prizes and competitions for teachers and students. Clicking on "The Collection" provides access to a searchable database of primary documents, some themed online exhibitions, and a document of the week (check back often!). The portion of the site dedicated to Historians provides resources for more in-depth research, and may be useful to students working on History Day projects. From the homepage, you can access podcasts from historians, themed history slideshows, and a link to the Institute's regular journal History Now. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): history day (24), primary sources (91)

In the Classroom

While you might turn to this site for a quick reference or document citation, this is the site you sit down with over the summer when you're planning your curriculum and lessons for the term or the year. There is simply so much here and so many good ways to access it that you will need to plan on spending significant time here.

Share the slideshows, podcasts, and primary documents on an interactive whiteboard or projector to supplement a lesson. Certainly you'll want to provide this link for your serious students who are doing research. Department chairs, be sure you pass along this resource to American History teachers throughout your district! Not only is it comprehensive, but it's user-friendly and easy to navigate.

Why not have cooperative learning groups explore various facets of this site and create multimedia presentations. Maybe a collaborative wiki about the topic researched. Not sure what a wiki is? Check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through. How about having your students create podcasts using a site such as PodOMatic (reviewed here).
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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The Hunt - ThanksUSA

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4 to 12
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ThanksUSA is a site dedicated to raising money to support the families of those serving in the armed forces. The centerpiece of the site is a virtual treasure hunt focused ...more
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ThanksUSA is a site dedicated to raising money to support the families of those serving in the armed forces. The centerpiece of the site is a virtual treasure hunt focused on the history of the United States. Each year there is a new theme. This year the focus in on the histories of Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, and Rhode Island, along with the histories of the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps and the history of ThanksUSA. There are crosswords, wordokus, word searches, kakuros, anagrams and more at the end of each chapter as you try to unlock that chapter's treasure chest. Although the site requires registration to access the treasure hunt (FREE), the game can be played on line, or by downloading materials and printing them out. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. Get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

In the Classroom

The long term nature of the treasure hunt would make this a good enrichment activity or extra credit project for students. Alteratively, the class could act as a team and undertake one chapter at a time as an ongoing project. The project might also make a good summer enrichment opportunity for students, be good for home schools, or work well with summer day camp groups.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Inauguration Scrapbook - Inauguration Scrapbook.com

Grades
3 to 12
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This site offers a very eclectic sampling of publicly-submitted photographs (slideshow) from the 2009 inauguration of President Obama. Photographs include captions, personal stories,...more
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This site offers a very eclectic sampling of publicly-submitted photographs (slideshow) from the 2009 inauguration of President Obama. Photographs include captions, personal stories, items created to celebrate the event (for example, a skateboard), ice sculptures, and MANY others. If you plan to print any pictures, be sure to check on the permission to re-use.

tag(s): inauguration (11), presidents (124)

In the Classroom

Share this slideshow on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Choose a picture to use as a writing prompt. Share this site around President's Day. Have students find (or create) their own picture or photo of President Obama. Challenge students to narrate the photo using an online tool such as UtellStory, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Lincoln Birthday - February 12 - Myvocabulary.com

Grades
4 to 12
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As part of their extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more, MyVocabulary.com has added a themed area for Abraham Lincoln. Find interactive vocabulary activities using Lincoln-related...more
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As part of their extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more, MyVocabulary.com has added a themed area for Abraham Lincoln. Find interactive vocabulary activities using Lincoln-related vocabulary words. You will also find printable crosswords, fill in the blanks and more, all using the same theme words. This and other "themes" available on the site will make vocabulary development fun.

tag(s): lincoln (81), presidents (124)

In the Classroom

Be sure to check out the interactive word puzzles! Have students work in cooperative learning groups, divide up the vocabulary words, and have each group find the definitions for their assigned vocabulary words. Have students locate a picture of Lincoln. Challenge students to narrate the picture using UtellStory, reviewed here. Have the groups share the photos and presidents on your interactive whiteboard or projector.

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We Didn't Start the Fire - Ye Li

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6 to 12
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Use music to teach history! (Allow plenty of time for the video to load.) If you have occasion to teach the Billy Joel song "We Didn't Start the Fire," this ...more
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Use music to teach history! (Allow plenty of time for the video to load.) If you have occasion to teach the Billy Joel song "We Didn't Start the Fire," this is a great site to use with students. This site would be useful in any class studying the twentieth century. It shows the lyrics (as well as plays the song) while flashing the appropriate pictures to go with the lyrics of the past 50 years. There is a full screen option. There are play and pause buttons. You may need to disable your pop-up blocker to view this video. The first 20-seconds of this video list the creator and a reference list. One thing worth mentioning: the video creator mentions using Google image search for free images but neglects to mention that many are copyrighted and are likely being used illegally in such broad distribution (not "fair use") unless he requested permission. You could have quite a class discussion (debate) on ethical use of electronic resources and whether the concept of copyright should be revisited, too!

tag(s): decades (10), lyrics (21)

In the Classroom

Since the site is so specific to the relevant lyrics, it's fun to have students see exactly what it is being visualized. Also, since the lyrics go fast, it is sometimes difficult to make out all the references, so this is helpful for that reason. This is a great conversation starter with high school students. Share this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Watch the entire video and then play it again and pause the video on topics that relate to your current units of study. Use this site to find research topics for individual students or cooperative learning groups. Have the groups create multi-media presentations about their research topics. How about creating their own videos and sharing them using Teachertube, reviewed here. Or have students find a picture sharing their research topic and narrate their picture using UtellStory, reviewed here. Other options include creating a wiki, blog, or PowerPoint.
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Capitol Words - Sunlight Foundation

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4 to 12
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This site provides a visual map of the words used every day by members of Congress. Students can see a map of the U.S. to check out how their states ...more
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This site provides a visual map of the words used every day by members of Congress. Students can see a map of the U.S. to check out how their states compare in number of words with other states. They can also enter their state and pick out a specific lawmaker to see his/her words on any given day. The words appear in both a word cloud, where the most used words are the largest, and also in list form. Students can also search from two special lists, one of the most talkative, and one of the quietest lawmakers! When students are interested in a particular word in the word cloud, clicking on it leads to a graph of its past usage. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): congress (37), speech (86)

In the Classroom

Use this site when studying specific states and their Congressional representatives. It's also a great site to use when preparing students to give speeches. Talk about whether the most popular words are overused or should be included in speeches at all times. Use this site as an anticipatory set to introduce a unit or lesson on government.

Have students create their own "word cloud" using a site such as Wordle (reviewed here by TeachersFirst). Students could create a Wordle about any topic area being studied. Share your students' Wordles on an interactive whiteboard or projector.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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The Political Dr. Seuss - Independent Television Service

Grades
6 to 12
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This gallery of World War II-era cartoons by Theodor Geisel, reveal the acerbic wit and political philosophy of the beloved children's author. The site also features audio and video...more
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This gallery of World War II-era cartoons by Theodor Geisel, reveal the acerbic wit and political philosophy of the beloved children's author. The site also features audio and video clips from Dr. Seuss on his career and a brief history of political cartooning. Two lesson plans - focusing on the American themes and social messages addressed by Geisel - are available for downloading (and include McRel standards). This site requires RealPlayer, Flash, and Adobe Acrobat. You can get them from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (61), dr seuss (11), world war 2 (141)

In the Classroom

Have students research the history of political cartooning with Theodor Geisel (or others). Have cooperative learning groups create multi-media presentations such as a PowerPoint, or an online book, using a tool such as Bookemon reviewed here to share on an interactive whiteboard or projector.

Share the video/audio clips on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Take advantage of the FREE lesson plans that connect geography, history, reading, and writing.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Our Fading Heritage: Civics Quiz - Intercollegiate Studies Institute

Grades
5 to 12
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Share this Civics Quiz with your students. Are your students more knowledgeable than the average U.S. Citizen? The site says the average score is a 55%! The quiz consists of...more
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Share this Civics Quiz with your students. Are your students more knowledgeable than the average U.S. Citizen? The site says the average score is a 55%! The quiz consists of approximately 30 questions, all related to the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence, the three branches of the government, the roles of the president, and much more. A final score is provided at the end of the quiz.

tag(s): constitution (89), supreme court (24)

In the Classroom

Have students complete this quiz on individual computers or with a partner (if there are not enough computers). Why not have your older civics or government students create their own interactive surveys using Google Docs (reviewed here), or quizzes using Quizschool (reviewed here). Or create one together as a class. Have students share their quizzes/surveys with the class on an interactive whiteboard or projector or as links from your class wiki or web page for use outside of class. Be sure to invite parents and other teachers to respond! What is important for citizens to know, in your students' view?

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The Uninsured in America - PBS NewsHour

Grades
6 to 12
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One of the central issues in the 2008 Presidential election was the state of the U.S. health care system. This site from PBS NewsHour pulls together a number of resources ...more
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One of the central issues in the 2008 Presidential election was the state of the U.S. health care system. This site from PBS NewsHour pulls together a number of resources that could be helpful in discussing this issue with students. There are video and MP3 format interviews with Americans talking about how the health care crisis has affected them. Lesson plans are included. There is analysis focused on how President Obama might address the issue. Graphic information shows how many are uninsured in the U.S., how the U.S. compares with other nations, and a timeline of the history of health insurance in this country. One link focuses on special health care programs aimed at children. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): medicine (66)

In the Classroom

Many students may not realize that health insurance is a relatively new phenomenon. This site has a rich variety of resources that can set a context for a discussion on how the cost of health care is contributing to today's economic concerns. Assign students to review several of the reports on this site to prepare for a class debate. Use the video content on an interactive whiteboard or projector to spark discussion. Supplement a geography lesson with comparisons of health care systems in other nations. Use this site as one of several current issues topics for students studying government, and have them prepare a policy proposal for their own "cabinet."
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Global Voices Online - Global Voices

Grades
9 to 12
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In just a few short years, blogging has become one of the fastest growing means of Internet communication. This site represents a collection of bloggers whose interests focus on developing...more
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In just a few short years, blogging has become one of the fastest growing means of Internet communication. This site represents a collection of bloggers whose interests focus on developing countries. These international blogs and blogs about international issues give an authentic voice to areas of the world where that voice is often suppressed or unrecognized. The site is a combination of blogs that have been collected and translated and are presented on the site itself and links to offsite blogs. The entries can be searched by region, by country, or by topic. Additionally, there is a cadre of authors sponsored directly by Global Voices itself to comment on and recommend blogs and bloggers from their geographic areas of expertise.

Be aware that many school districts' web filters exclude blogs, but the entries that are posted directly to the site itself may be more accessible. You should monitor student use regularly, however, as blogs represent the opinions and feelings of their writers and may not always be suitable for classroom use. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): blogs (83), countries (83)

In the Classroom

Many social studies classes feature long term projects or units on diverse countries, and this site is a goldmine of information about places that can be difficult to research. Share the blog entries on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Why not have students create a video highlighting what they have learned about their country (or other topic). Share the videos on a tool such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Pete's Powerpoint Station - mrdonn and phillip martin

Grades
K to 12
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Need a PowerPoint? Check this site first to find one on a topic you need from the vast array available. The free PowerPoints and interactive activities are easily downloaded. To ...more
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Need a PowerPoint? Check this site first to find one on a topic you need from the vast array available. The free PowerPoints and interactive activities are easily downloaded. To find the FREE PowerPoint presentations, click on the FREE Presentations in PowerPoint Format link found directly under the red train. There are literally hundreds of topics (over 1,200 at the time of this review). Topics are listed in alphabetical order. There are so many topics: Plagiarism, Integers, Interjections, IQ Tests, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Graphic Organizers, Graphs, Gold Rush, the Bible, Economics, Amelia Earhart (and many other heroes), Descriptive Writing, Coral Reefs, Civil Rights Movement, Autism, Ancient Civilizations, Presidents, Louisiana Purchase, Money, Music Instruments, How to Write an Outline, Rosa Parks, Resumes, Terrorism, Vietnam War, and many MANY others. Primary teachers will appreciate simple activities on Dolch words and other sight vocabulary! Pages are arranged in topics such as "Plants and Animals," "World History," "Biology, Chemistry, and Physics," and "Problem Solving." There are many professional topics on exceptionalities, as well. Each page includes a vast array of subtopics. Other links on the page include "Greta's Game Station" and "Hannah's Help" which offers information on researching. Some of the links at "Greta's Game Station" require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): adhd (27), back to school (60), electricity (94), inventors and inventions (85), literature (264), parts of speech (67), polar (18), speech (86), states (161)

In the Classroom

Use these PowerPoints to provide background information for projects or further inquiry in class. For example, use a PowerPoint on cells to give background information. Create questions for students to answer while viewing the PowerPoint or add your own "lecture" notes while showing to a class. Remember that PowerPoint does not HAVE to be shown on a screen. Students can watch them as tutorials at a center or computer cluster. Learning support teachers will appreciate having an alternate way to present basic concepts to visual learners. Assign students a particular cell part to research more information about the part. Explore professional topics on your own or together with colleagues during inservice time.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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BigDialog.org - eCitizenship Foundation and MIT eCitizenship Program

Grades
9 to 12
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BigDialog.org has become the premier site for Americans to voice their concerns to President Obama. Your government or civics students will enjoy listening to and reading statements...more
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BigDialog.org has become the premier site for Americans to voice their concerns to President Obama. Your government or civics students will enjoy listening to and reading statements from the citizens of the USA as they relate to current hot topics. Because President Obama's savvy use of the internet during his campaign, this website promises that he will be checking here to take the pulse of America's heart beat. The opinions expressed are genuine and may be inappropriate in the classroom, so preview. As with any site with a public forum, you will need to check your school's Acceptable Use Policy for security reasons. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): matter (62)

In the Classroom

Imagine this site as the neighbors next door, who are voicing their concern over civic matters. This site gives a substantial voice of concern and can give your students bountiful ideas for research topics. Share the videos (previewed, of course!) on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have cooperative learning groups create their own videos voicing their concerns. Send a few of the videos to BigDialog. (Be sure to obtain parental permission first)!
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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 (124)

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 (124), speech (86), speeches (19)

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 (102), presidents (124)

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

Grades
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 (124)

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

Grades
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

Grades
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 (144), earth (227), earth day (104), environment (321), pollution (65)

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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George Washington - American Presidents - University of Virginia

Grades
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 (124), washington (29)

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

Grades
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 (124), white house (15)

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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