NCSS Online Teachers' Library

NCSS has selected a collection of classroom activities, teaching ideas, and articles from Social Education, Middle Level Learning, and Social Studies and the Young Learner. Browse the collection, or search by historical period and grade level using the search function below.
(Collections on other disciplines are under development.)

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Piecing It Together: America’s Story in Quilts


Judith R. Marrou
Like the United States, a quilt could be described by the words "e pluribus unum" -- out of the many, one.

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Virginia’s New Hamster: A Thirteen States Mnemonic


Nancy L. Gallenstein
This humorous short story assists students in memorizing the original 13 states of the Union in 1776.

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Hard Times and New Deals: Teaching Fifth Graders about the Great Depression (Elementary Education)


--Gary Fertig
The study unit on the Great Depression described here makes use of recent findings about how children develop historical understandings. The unit includes a simulation on the stock market crash of 1929, a letter-writing activity based on study of letters real children wrote to Mrs. Roosevelt, and the creation and performance of historical scenarios involving Depression-era characters.

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A Picture’s Worth: Analyzing Historical Photographs in the Elementary Grades (Elementary Education)


--Keith C. Barton
Elementary teachers can use historical photographs in the classroom to engage young students in authentic historical inquiry. Students’ critical skills develop beyond mere observation as they consider what life was like when the photographs were taken.

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Third Grade at Simmons Elementary School, ca. 1900


by Ronald V. Evans
Third grade students in Hope, Indiana, spend a day in a brick, one-room schoolhouse where they learn about life 100+ years ago.

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Propeller Toys and the Industrial Revolution


by Andrew McClary
Do students enjoy making a propeller toy by hand? What is the advantage of using a mass-produced propeller toy?

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Identifying with Ancestors: Tracking the History of America


by Josephine Barry Davis
Students and teachers construct a timeline of U.S. history, on which they insert entries for events in the lives of students' families.

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The Rosa Parks “Myth”: A Third Grade History Investigation


--Hillary Landorf and Ethan Lowenstein
Have the authors of trade books and textbooks brushed over essential aspects of Rosa Parks and her story? She had a long background of service and commitment to promoting the rights of African-Americans. She was not an "anonymous" seamstress, as sometimes portrayed.

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The ABCs of [em]Brown v. Board of Education[/em]: A Primer for the 50th Anniversary


--Loraine Moses Stewart
An overview of a historic Supreme Court case in narrative, A through Z format. "L" is for Linda Brown, "N" is for NAACP, and "Z" is for zebra crossing.

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The Wright Stuff: Examining the Centennial of Flight


--Robin D. Groce, Eric C. Groce, and Lisa M. Stooksberry
Books for youth about the lives and accomplishments of Wilbur and Orville Wright are coupled with activities in social studies and language arts.

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