NCSS Online Teachers' Library

Using Children’s Diaries to Teach the Oregon Trail


--Richard M. Wyman, Jr.
Children traveling west with their families sometimes kept diaries. "precisely because they were trapped in the present moment," these young authors often viewed "their immediate world with a special clarity."

This URL downloads all 16 pages of Middle Level Learning as a pdf of about 3.5MB:
http://members.ncss.org/mll/01/mll01.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:
* http://members.ncss.org/mll/04/mll04.pdf

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Lewis & Clark: An Interdisciplinary Expedition


--Kristy Brugar
A filed trip on the school grounds recalls a historical adventure. Watch for bears! Also includes Paul Horton's review of a nonfiction book about a black man and comrade: "York's Adventure with Lewis and Clark."

This URL downloads all 16 pages of Middle Level Learning as a pdf of about 0.8 MB:
* http://members.ncss.org/mll/19/mll19.pdf

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The Compromise of 1790: A Capital Simulation


--David L. Ghere
Study the handout map and chart. The national capital would be built in the South if the federal government would assume the states' Revolutionary War debts. Would it work?

This URL downloads all 16 pages of Middle Level Learning as a pdf of about 0.8 MB:
* http://members.ncss.org/mll/19/mll19.pdf

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Runaway Slave Advertisements: Teaching from Primary Documents


--Tom Costa and Brooks Doyle
Interpret short primary source documents to reveal some details about slave life and the moral dilemmas of antebellum U.S. Also includes "Abolitionists Among the Founding Generation" by Kevin T. Brady.

This URL downloads all 16 pages of Middle Level Learning as a pdf of about 0.67 MB:
* http://members.ncss.org/mll/20/mll20.pdf

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Philip Reid and the Statue of [em]Freedom[/em]


--Eugene Walton
Primary source documents help validate the history of an enslaved American who solved a crucial puzzle as the statue of Freedom was being prepared for casting in bronze. (Freedom now stands atop the Capitol in Washington, DC.) Handouts include time line, 1830 political cartoon, and the story of early emancipation (April 16, 1862) of enslaved Americans in the capital city during the Civil War.

This URL downloads all 16 pages of Middle Level Learning as a pdf of about 3.5MB:
* http://members.ncss.org/mll/24/mll24.pdf

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


--Vanessa Rodriguez
Students debate Douglass versus . . . Douglass! Before 1851, he argued that the U.S. Constitution abetted slavery. But then he proclaimed, "Let the North now make that instrument [i.e., the Constitution] bend to the cause of freedom and justice." Handouts provide eight passages from the Constitution and Douglass's statements about them.

This URL downloads all 16 pages of Middle Level Learning as a pdf of about 0.8 MB:
* http://members.ncss.org/mll/33/MLL33.pdf

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The Great Irish Famine (and Immigration to USA)


--Maureen Murphy, Alan Singer, Maureen McCann Miletta, and Judity Y. Singer
Theme issue with brief history, excerpts from primary historical documents, references, handouts, historical fiction/diary.

This URL downloads all 16 pages of Middle Level Learning as a black-and-white pdf of about 3.0 MB:
* http://members.ncss.org/mll/09/MLLSept2000BW.pdf

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The Constitution by Cell (Teaching with Documents)


--Stephanie Greenhut and Megan Jones
A pilot program at the National Archives challenges students to determine how certain documents illustrate the Constitution “in action,” then create digital stories using cellular phones and web tools.

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Interdisciplinary Activities Using Census in Schools


--Janice Jefferson

A U.S. history timeline is available at www.census.gov if you click on the “History & Pop Culture” icon. Colorful, illustrated webpages appear with all sorts of facts and figures about a time period, from 1790 to the present. Interestingly, this wonderful resource--of interest to all students in grade levels K-college--is not easily found with a Google search on the key words “census” and “timeline.”
Other U.S. Census resources are described in this and other articles to be found in the March/April 2010 issue of SOCIAL STUDIES AND THE YOUNG LEARNER, available in the NCSS Journal Archives.

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