General US History

What Having Students “Write the Constitution” Taught Me


--Thomas Ladenburg
Students learn the historical setting background of an event, but then must debate and "decide upon" the outcome before they discover what actually happened. This issue also includes "Teaching and Learning with Timelines" by Linda Tripp, Cindy Basye, Kathy Jones, and Vicki Tripp.

This URL downloads all 16 pages of Middle Level Learning as a pdf of about 1.0 MB:   --> read more »

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Historical Letters: Integrating History and Language Arts


--Kay A. Chick
A lesson using a historical letter (included as a handout) from 1948 (about Truman's election) integrates history and language arts.
Also includes a review by James M. Duran of free, online collections of historical political cartoons.

This URL downloads all 16 pages of Middle Level Learning as a pdf of about 1.2 MB:
* http://members.ncss.org/mll/29/MLL29.pdf

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Linking Civics and Current Events


--Melissa J. Marks
Students link clauses in the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution with current events as reported in the news media. Does "promoting general welfare" include health care?

This URL downloads all 16 pages of Middle Level Learning as a pdf of about 0.6 MB:
* http://members.ncss.org/mll/26/MLL26.pdf

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Ben Franklin’s Evolving View on Race and Ethnicity


--Steven S. Lapham and Drew Saunders
A wise man observes, learns, and grows. Also includes a related classroom activity about Ben's interesting personality: "Will the Senate Confirm 'Karl B. Fennin'?" by William E. Amburn.

This URL downloads all 16 pages of Middle Level Learning as a pdf of about 1.0 MB:
* http://members.ncss.org/mll/22/MLL22.pdf

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Revolutionary Women: Portraits of Life in the Thirteen Colonies


--Mary E. Connor
Primary source material about, and brief biographies of, Jane Franklin Mecom, Phillis Wheatly, Mercy Otis Warren, and three others.

This URL downloads all 16 pages of Middle Level Learning as a pdf of about 2.2 MB:
* http://members.ncss.org/mll/07/mll07.pdf

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Overcoming the Odds: An Easy Interdisciplinary Activity


--Tedd Levy
An interdisciplinary teaching team has students investigate ways that historical figures handled difficulties in their lives and went on to success.

This URL downloads all 16 pages of Middle Level Learning as a pdf of about 3.4MB:
* http://members.ncss.org/mll/02/mll02.pdf

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“Did They Actually, Really Believe This?” Medical Documents as a Window on the Past


Students discuss how "ideas that a society mistakenly believes to be scientific can be used to promote social prejudice and discrimination." An etched image (ca. 1840) of an Irish immigrant's "broad, low head" clearly shows "exceedingly deficient moral organs -- especially benevolence."

This URL downloads all 16 pages of Middle Level Learning as a pdf of about 0.7 MB:   --> read more »

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The Makah: Exploring Public Issues during a Structured Classroom Discussion


--Bruce E. Larson
Students have to think on two levels: they must deliberate about a current issue (Native rights to small-scale whaling) and develop reasons to defend their thinking; and they must reflect on the discussion process itself.

  • publications.socialstudies.org/yl/1001/100102.html
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Buttoning Up a Hands-On History Lesson


--Audrey C. Rule and Cynthia Szymanski Sunal
How can you tell that something is old? A historical collection of everyday items (buttons, carpenter nails, magazines, fabric, food containers, etc.) "can provide concrete examples to help students construct a concept of change."

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