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Middle Level Learning

Middle Level Learning is a special publication featuring lessons and activities for middle school teachers. MLL is published online only, 3 times a year. The current issue and MLL back issues are available to NCSS members.

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MLL Issues

Issue Number Contents

55 (January/February 2016)

Cover 55

Benjamin Banneker’s Letter to Thomas Jefferson
John A. Moore

Next Door to “Old Smokey”: Engaging in Scientific Measurements and Public Action
Bertha Vazquez, Hilary Landorf, and L. Bahia Simons-Lane

54 (September 2015)

An Emancipation Document by Ulysses S. Grant
Kenneth Anthony and Mary Katherine Morgan

53 (May/June 2015)

Cover 53

The Home Front during the Civil War: Embattled Lives and Endurance in Ohio
Stephen M. Charter

Using Graphic Novels to Promote Social Studies Literacy
Jeremiah Clabough and Kenneth T. Carano

52 (January/February 2015)

Preventing Bird Strikes on Windows
Steven S. Lapham

Climate Change and National Landmarks
Union of Concerned Scientists

Comprehending Big Numbers

51 (September 2014)

Cover 49

North Platte Canteen Nebraska 1941
Eric Groce, Tina Heafner, Elizabeth Bellows, and Robin Groce

The Green Book: Finding Safe Passage in Jim Crow America
Steven S. Lapham and Calvin Alexander Ramsey

50 (May/June 2014)

Controversy Over Child Labor
Teresa G. Wojcik and Williiam Knous

Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, and the Idea of National Parks
Carol Thornton

49 (January/February 2014)

Cover 49

Carved in Stone: The Preamble to the Constitution
Steven S. Lapham

The Journal of an Underground Railroad Conductor
David Reader, Beth A. Twiss Houting, and Rachel Moloshok

48 (September 2013)

Life (and Strife) in an Auto Factory
Eric B. Freedman

County Names and Notable Women
Scott L. Roberts

47 (May/June 2013)

Cover 47

Harriet Tubman: Emancipate Yourself!
Steven S. Lapham and Peter Hanes

An “Urgent Brief”: Social Studies and Writing Skills
Thomas N. Turner, Jeremiah C. Clabough, and William Cole

Download a free Harriet Tubman screensaver at

46 (January/February 2013)

Ducks Ahoy! Plastic Debris and Ocean Currents

Caroline C. Sheffield and Ingrid S. Weiland

45 (September 2012)

Cover 45

Teaching About the Nanking Massacre to Middle School Students
Justin Villet

The First War Hawks: The Invasion of Canada in 1812

Steven Sellers Lapham

44 (May/June 2012)

Slavery After the Civil War

The Convict-Lease System, 1866-1928
“It Makes a Long-Time Man Feel Bad”
Christine Adrian

The Convict-Lease System, 1866-1928 (Three Lessons)
with four readings and two worksheets

43 (January/February 2012)

Cover 41

Lights, Camera,…Reenaction! Creating Video as We Study the Civil War
Angela Stokes

Pairing Nonfiction and Fiction: Social Studies and Language Arts Together

Angela Falter Thomas

Candles, Flashlights, and Product Safety

42 (September 2011)

Evaluating the Social Aspects of Scientific Innovation: An Interdisciplinary Inquiry
Courtney Ferrari

Analyzing Historical Political Cartoons: Helping Students With Diverse Learning Needs Analyze Primary Sources
Grant R. Miller

The Back Page
GMO T-Shirts: Pro and Con Cartoons

41 (May/June 2011)

Cover 41

The Lower East Side Tenement Museum: A Window on Immigrant Life
Adam Steinberg and Michael J. Berson

The Assignment Journal: A Student-Created Resource and Organizing System
David W. Denton

The Centennial of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire: Teaching Resources

40 (Jan/Feb 2011)

Raise Up Your Cloth! The Woman Suffrage Movement's Second Generation
Catherine M. Carter

Winning the Vote for Women: Objection and Answer
Jenny Wei

Game Changer: Women's Basketball and Equal Opportunity
Tedd Levy

Women's Sports? Thank the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Steven S. Lapham

The Back Page: Are There Limits to Freedom?

39 (September 2010)

Cover 39

Turn Out Those Lights! The Merchant Marine and U-Boat Lane, 1942
Caroline C. Sheffield and Andrew J. Nichols

The Greensboro Sit-In: When Students Took Charge
of Social Change

Eric Groce, Tina Heafner, and Katie O’Connor

Is This Candy an Advertisement for Cigarettes? A Media Literacy Activity
Steven S. Lapham

38 (May/June 2010)

Primary Source of the Day:
A Warm Up Activity

Amy Trenkle

Highlights in History: Teaching with Differentiated Instruction
Kay A. Chick

Racing Around the World: A Geography Contest to Remember
C. Steven Page

Racing Around the World Questions

37 (Jan/Feb 2010)

Cover 37

Tulipmania 1637! A Curious Event in the Dutch Golden Age
Caroline C. Sheffield, Ilene R. Berson, and Michael J. Berson

Jane Jacobs:
A Citizen Fights for the Neighborhood
Book review by Wendy Ewbank

A Crossword Puzzle for Higher-Order Thinking
James Monack

36 (September 2009)

Using Cartograms to Explore the Electoral College: Comparing 1908 with 2008
Peter William Moran
Kimberly Dawn Miller
and Kurk Aegerter

Maps, Representations of the Earth, and Biases
Peter C. Cormas

How Politicians Gerrymander
Steven S. Lapham

35 (May/June 2009)

Cover 35

Comparing FSA Photographs by Ben Shahn: A Lesson in Media Literacy
Robert J. Stevens and Jared A. Fogel

Drummer Boys: Creating Historical Fiction and Studying Historical Documents
Daniel C. King

Financial Scams, Kid Style

34 (Jan/Feb 2009)

Researching Our School’s History
Amy Trenkle

Our School as Living History
Candyce Sweda

A Trash-Free Lunch Experiment
Alison Davis-Holland, Sue Annis, and Steven S. Lapham

Bears in the Air
Facing the Future

33 (September 2008)

Cover 33

Frederick Douglass, the Constitution, and Slavery:
A Classroom Debate

Vanessa Rodriguez

Achievement and Innovation in the Middle Ages: Students
Compare Civilizations

Aaron Kaio and Katie Gilbert

The Back Page
Now and Then: A Hierarchy of Needs

32 (May/June 2008)

What Having Students “Write the Constitution” Taught Me
Thomas Ladenburg

Teaching and Learning with Timelines
Linda Tripp, Cindy Basye, Kathy Jones, and Vicki Tripp

A Novel Idea: Historical Fiction and Social Studies
Janie M. McManus

Making Choices: An Exploration of Political Preferences
Paige Lilley Schulte and Travis Miller

Student Handout: Create a Time Line of Recent History

31 (January/February 2008)

Cover 31

Connect-the-Dots: Making Meaning
from Historical Evidence
Chris Edwards

Yellow Fever in Philadelphia, 1793
(Book Review)
Sandra W. Moss

World War I Posters:
Thinking Critically about
History and the Media
Tom Carty

On the Trail of an Epidemic: Yellow Fever in New Orleans, 1845-1860

30 (September 2007) [1.2 MB]

All History is Local: Researching the Place Where You Live
John P. Dillon

Online Interactive Mapping: Using the Panoramic Maps Collection
Marsha Alibrandi and Eui kyung Shin

What’s in a Name? Investigating Whom to Memorialize
Arlene Girard and
Mary Beth Henning

A Picture is Worth 20 Questions
William B. Russell III

29 (May/June 2007) [1.2 MB]

Historical Letters: Integrating History and Language Arts
Kay A. Chick

‘Tooning’ into History: Online Collections of Political Cartooons
James M. Duran

Weaving a Map: Making Global Connections Visible
Teresa Secules and Rhodis Thompson

Great Zeus! Creating Greek Myth Cards
John Marshall Carter

28 (January/February 2007) [1.2 MB]

Venture Smith’s Autobiography and Runaway Ad: Enslavement in Early New York
Alan J. Singer

Classroom Debates Made Easy
Kathleen M. Doyle

King Coal: A Piece of Eastern Pennsylvania History
Jill M. Beccaris and Christine Woyshner

Coal: An Energy Source to be Reckoned With

27 (September 2006) [644KB]

Dramatic Narratives: Capturing the Human Side of World War II
Anita Perna Bohn and Penny Britton Kolloff

Ernie Pyle:The Foot Soldier’s Reporter
Sandra B. Oldendorf

Teenage Witnesses to the Holocaust (Book Review)
Tom Kolbe

The Back Page: Censorship in Times of War

26 (May/June 2006) [644KB]

Linking Civics and Current Events
Melissa J. Marks

Leaders of Recent Nonviolent Revolutions
Melissa N. Matusevich

The Back Page: “Friend or Foe” Game

25 (January/February 2006) [644KB]

American Revolution:Three Lesson Plans for Critical Thinking
Stephanie Wasta

Working to Improve Our Community: Students as Citizens and Town Planners
Ted Mitchell

Poems for Two Voices: An Interdisciplinary Activity
Leslie Perfect Ricklin

The Back Page: “Skin the Snake” A Colonial Children's Game

24 (September 2005) [1MB]

Philip Reid and the Statue of Freedom
Eugene Walton

Casting Freedom, 1860-1862

Restoring Freedom, 1993

An Abolitionist Cartoon, 1830

23 (May/June 2005) [1MB] Wireless Fever!

Gay Parents Do Exist:Letting the Rabbit Out of the Hat
Debra Chasnoff

Radio Days in the Classroom
Dan Schuchat

Design a Book: A Quest in Ancient Egypt
David Cooper

Bandwidth Problems ca. 1912: The Need for Federal Regulation

22 (January/February 2005) [1MB]

Hard Times in the USA
The Great Depression

“Maybe You Could Help?” Letters to Eleanor Roosevelt
Mary Mason Royal

Will the Senate Confirm “Karl B. Fennin”?
William E. Amburn

Ben Franklin’s Evolving View on Race and Ethnicity
Steven S. Lapham and Drew Saunders

The Game of History: A Creative Review Activity
Christine Bell

Your Move! History Board Games

21 (September 2004) [800K]

Lookout Point: Teaching History in a Post-Industrial Age
Ann Bianchetti

"Workin' on the Railroad": African American Labor History
Rebecca C. Maher

A Union of Railroad Workers Sets the Pace
A. Phillip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum

Laying Track Over the Sierra Nevada
U.S. National Park Service

Diary of a Railroad Construction Engineer
A. N. Ferguson

Train Schedules, Standardization, and "The Day of Two Noons"
Steven S. Lapham

"This Hammer'll Be the Death of Me": The Railroad's Hazardous Early Years??

20 (May 2004) [670K]

Lookout Point: Abolitionists Among the Founding Fathers
Kevin Brady

Runaway Slave Advertisements: Teaching from Primary Documents
Tom Costa and Brooks Doyle

Teaching About Immigration, Past and Present
Susan Pass

Facts about Our Immigrants

19 (Jan/Feb 2004) [836K]

Two Words in Need of Redemption
John Hergesheimer

Lewis & Clark: An Interdisciplinary Expedition
Kristy Brugar

The Compromise of 1790: A Capital Simulation
David L. Ghere

Book Review: York's Adventure with Lewis and Clark by Rhoda Blumberg
Paul Horton

"Furious and Formidable": A Lewis & Clark Bestiary

18 (September 2003) [1MB]

Teaching About a Controversial Issue
Steven S. Lapham

State v. Tribe: How the Indian Gaming Controversy Began
William L. Hewitt and Barbara Beaucar

From Furs and Wampum to Slot Machines and Megadollars
William L. Hewitt

The Streets are Paved with Silver
Barbara Beaucar and William L. Hewitt

Deception and Games of Chance
Steven S. Lapham

Does Gaming Hurt or Help?
William L. Hewitt

Can You Find Me? An American Indian Guessing Game

17 (May/June 2003) [1MB]

Lookout Point: Let’s Talk about Sexual Harassment in Middle School
Kimberly S. Palmer

Service Learning and Social Studies: A Natural Fit
Elizabeth A. Bloom

A Zen Garden at Tecumseh: From Mocking to Honoring
Leila Meyerratken

A Model Rivers Project: Relating Geography and Culture
Andrea Port Jacobs

Book Review: We Were There Too! by Phillip Hoose
Melinda Karnes

Book Review: Learning on Their Feet by Carol Glynn
Ronald V. Morris

Musical Shares
16 (Jan/Feb 2003) [752K]

Lookout Point
Achievement for Every Student
Hayes Mizell

Archaeology in the Seventh Grade:An Interdisciplinary Unit of Study
Marilyn J. Eisenwine

Sharing Space: Urban Wildlife and Human Society
Jane Manaster

The Caracara: Working with Birds and People
Joan L. Morrison

Life on the Wild Side
Jane Manaster
15 (September 2002) [648K]

Lookout Point: Preparing Young People for Longer Lives in an Aging Society
Donna P. Couper and Fran Pratt

Visiting and Interviewing Older Adults: Service-Learning in the Sixth Grade
Alison Parker

Using Political Cartoons: An Activity for Students of Every Ability
Dwight C. Holliday and Janice A. Grskovic

Critical Thinking and Logical Argument
James A. Duplass and Dana L. Ziedler

Book Review: The Thanksgiving Visitor by Truman Capote
Lisa L. Owens

Aging in America
Donna P. Couper and Steven S. Lapham

14 (May/June 2002) [720K]

Lookout Point: Teaching About Religion
John Hergesheimer

Dancing the Circle: An Introduction to Powwows
Karen D. Harvey

World Religions and Personal Tolerance
Sofia Udner

My Name is Osama
Sharifa Alkhateeb and Steven S. Lapham

Powerful Creatures: Native American Animal Myths
Steven S. Lapham

13 (Jan/Feb 2002) [784K]

Lookout Point: Should 9-11 Change K-12?
Tedd Levy

The WPA Slave Narratives: Teaching with Oral Histories
Paul Horton

Going Places: Geography on the Internet
Margaret Hill

Teaching with the Use of Current Issues: The Canadian Model
George W. Chilcoat, Lynette B. Erickson, and Jerry A. Ligon

Q&A about Slavery in the United States
Steven S. Lapham

12 (September 2001) [920K]

Lookout Point: Examining the Motives Behind Standardized Testing
Dianna Topper

Adobe Bricks: Building Blocks of the Southwest
Byron Augustin and Michael Bailey

Book Review: Mud Matters by Jennifer Owings Dewey
Arlene Hirschfelder

"Dear Teacher": Letters on the Eve of the Japanese American Imprisonment
Yoon Pak

Tough Stuff: Social Studies and Building Materials
Steven S. Lapham

11 (May/June 2001)

This file is large 18MB.

Lookout Point: Putting Conflict in the Curriculum
Tedd Levy

Letter to the Editor
Andrea S. Libresco

Tracking a Hurricane: A Mapping Exercise in Real Time
Donna Kay Mau

What’s in a Name? A Whirlwind Tour of the World
Steven S. Lapham

A Mighty Storm: Galveston, Texas, 1900
Steven S. Lapham

One Step at a Time: A Landmine Removal Initiative
Mark Hyman

Young Man Survives Hurricane!
Steven S. Lapham

10 (Jan/Feb 2001) [1MB]

Lookout Point: Who Influences Social Studies?
Tedd Levy

Wandering Behind: Talking About Pearl Harbor
Daniel J. Ferri

Oral History Research: Internet Resources and Reports
Margaret Hill

A World War II Oral History Project for Eighth Graders
Thomas E. Gray

Book Review: Faithful Elephants
Barbara J. Holt

The Great Irish Famine: Life and Work in America

Notable Irish Americans of the 1800s

The “Name It” Game
Lou Paliani
9 (Sept/Oct 2000)

Black and white pdf of 3MB

The Character of Their Content
Tedd Levy

Foreward: The Great Irish Famine
Maureen Murphy, Alan Singer, Maureen McCann Miletta, and Judity Y. Singer

A Brief History of the Potatoe in Ireland

Traces of the Written Record

The Delicious, Nutritious Pratie

From County Cork to New York

Selected References

Irish Curios & Cameos

8 (May/June 2000) [756K]

Let Me Explain: Students as Colonial History Docents
Linda L. Gesek

Take a Break: A Token Economy in the Fifth Grade
John M. Hail

The Real World: Community Speakers in the Classroom
Lindy G. Poling

Whales in Depth: An Interdisciplinary Study
Cynthia Szymanski Sunal, Gail Pritchard, and Dennis W. Sunal
7 (Jan/Feb 2000) [2.2MB]

Team Egypt! Integrating the Disciplines
Amanda W. Greenwald

Girls Can Be President: Generating Interest in Inclusive History
Melinda Karnes

Besting Testing Hysteria: Reasonable Preparation for Standardized Tests
Sherry L. Field

Revolutionary Women: Portraits of Life in the Thirteen Colonies
Mary E. Connor
6 (September 1999) [968K]

Serious Fun in Social Studies for Middle Schoolers

“The War that Never Ended:” Special Education Students Write History
Diane Zigo

Freedom Train: Building an Underground Railroad
Wayne Hickman

Using Computers to Design Historical Communities
April Mock

A Walk Through Time: A Living History Project
Alice Aud, Gini Bland, Barbara Brown, and Bruce Law
5 (April/May 1999) [944K]

Shipwreck: Using Literature and Student Imagination toTeach Geography
Donna Kay Mau

What Is a Hero? Students Explore Their Conceptions of the Heroic
Joseph O’Brien and Steven H.White

My Brother and I: Brickyard Laborers in an Ohio Town
Martha I. Pallante and Christian Shively

Fostering a Critical and Caring Classroom Culture
Pamela B. Joseph and Mark A. Windschitl
4 (Jan/Feb 1999) [672K]

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

Taking Student Government Seriously
J.R. Bolen

Acting Out History: From the Ice Age to the Modern Age
Denee J. Mattioli and Frederick Drake

Modern Times: The Industrial Revolution and the Concept of Time
Frans H. Doppen
3 (September 1998) [4.5MB]

A Treasured Island: Human and Geographic Interaction on Cumberland
Robert L.Stevens and Julia A. Celebi

Teaching History as Perspective Taking: The Colonial Convention
Mac Duis and Sandra S. Duis

The Community as a Laboratory for Student Learning
Joseph Ciaccio

Coming of Age Ceremonies: A Mask Project
Alan Singer, Laura Gurton, Aimee Horowitz, Stephanie Hunte, Paula Broomfield, and Joanne Thomas
2 (April/May 1998) [3.4MB]

From Château Fort to Renaissance Palace
Jennifer Rothwell

Overcoming the Odds: An Easy Interdisciplinary Activity
Tedd Levy

In From the Cold: People with Disablities in Juvenile Literature
Jane Manaster

Asia In the Classroom
Mary Hammond Bernson
1 (Jan/Feb 1998) [3.5MB]

Using Children’s Diaries to Teach the Oregon Trail
Richard M. Wyman, Jr.

Living the Geography of Joseph and Temperance Bown
Katherine A. Young

The ABCs of Small Grant Acquisition for Social Studies Teachers
Bruce Sliger

Isomo Loruko: The Yoruba Naming Ceremony
Patricia Kafi and Alan Singer

Child Laborers in Children’s Literature
Linda Leonard Lamme
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