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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African American Women and Espionage in the Civil War


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--Theresa McDevitt
African American women played key roles in the Civil War, providing valuable military intelligence to the Union army.

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Historical Fiction to Historical Fact: [em]Gangs of New York[/em] and the Whitewashing of History


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--Benjamin Justice
Martin Scorsese’s movie joins a long list of films that have attempted to cater to the public’s fascination with history. Although promises of historical accuracy may woo movie goers to the theater, the author argues that big budget films should not pass fiction off as fact.

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The Escape of the [em]Pearl[/em]


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--Susan Hoffman Fishman
The attempted escape of more than seventy slaves aboard a ship called the Pearl spotlights issues of morality and law, slavery in a democratic society, and the inherent challenges in deciphering history.

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Eli Landers: Letters of a Confederate Soldier


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--Stephanie Wasta and Carolyn Lott
Eli Landers, a young Confederate soldier in the Civil War, wrote poignant letters home to his mother, in which he described the battles he fought in, his fears and dreams, and the suffering he endured and witnessed.

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Documenting the American South: Thomas H. Jones and the Fugitive Slave Law


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--Cheryl Mason Bolick
Online research archives are making it easier for students to do in-depth research with primary sources on a historic topic. Here are activities to help students learn how the Fugitive Slave Law affected one man’s life.

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Telegram Relating to the Slave Trade (Teaching with Documents)


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--Karen Needles and Lee Ann Potter
Slave trader Nathaniel Gordon was found guilty of illegally transporting African slaves in 1861. A trail of documents recounts the legal battle waged by his supporters to try and stop his execution.

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Hyperinflation and the Confederacy: An Interdisciplinary Lesson in Economics and History


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--Brooke Graham Doyle
The Confederacy’s answer to revenue deficits during the Civil War was to print more money, leading to hyperinflation on an unprecedented scale.

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Displaced Children in U.S. History: Stories of Courage and Survival


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--Brenda Betts
A brief survey of four major U.S. migrations of homeless children: the Cherokee Trail of Tears; the Underground Railroad; the Orphan Train Riders; and the One Thousand Children program (during the Holocaust). Includes brief accounts from four children.

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Pullout: Speaking in the First Person: Notable Women in History


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--Tracy Rock and Barbara Levin
Each student selects a notable woman, researches her biography, tells her story in the first person, then answers questions from classmates. Short bios given for Elizabeth Cady Stanton; Sojourner Truth; Harriet Tubman; and Mary Walker, M.D.

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A Closer Look: The Representation of Slavery in the [em]Dear America[/em] Series


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--T. Lee Williams
A critical review of four books from this popular juvenile historical fiction series, focusing on their depiction of the experience and institution of slavery in the United States.

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