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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Exploring the Past with 21st-Century Tools


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--Kelly Schrum and Lynne Schrum
The Internet "is a tool for helping students engage with history and bring their understanding of the past to the present in new, exciting ways.

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A Pocketful of History


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--Sherry L. Field and Linda D. Labbo
Read a biography. Then examine "pocket contents." In Lincoln's vest pocket? A draft for a speech, theater tickets, and a photograph of his family, among other items. "Artifacts" are suggested for the pockets of Benito Juarez (president of Mexico), Grandma Moses (artist), Mary McLeod Bethune (black educator), and others.

Related:

A Pocketful of History


PDF versionPDF version

--Sherry L. Field and Linda D. Labbo
Read a biography. Then examine "pocket contents." In Lincoln's vest pocket? A draft for a speech, theater tickets, and a photograph of his family, among other items. "Artifacts" are suggested for the pockets of Benito Juarez (president of Mexico), Grandma Moses (artist), Mary McLeod Bethune (black educator), and others.

Related:

Buttoning Up a Hands-On History Lesson


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--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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The Makah: Exploring Public Issues during a Structured Classroom Discussion


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--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
Related:

The Makah: Exploring Public Issues during a Structured Classroom Discussion


PDF versionPDF version

--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
Related:

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


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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:
* http://members.ncss.org/mll/04/mll04.pdf

Related:

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


PDF versionPDF version

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:
* http://members.ncss.org/mll/04/mll04.pdf

Related:

Overcoming the Odds: An Easy Interdisciplinary Activity


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--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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Revolutionary Women: Portraits of Life in the Thirteen Colonies


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--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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