US History

Using Cartograms to Explore the Electoral College: Comparing 1908 with 2008


--Peter William Moran, Kimberly Dawn Miller, and Kurk Aegerter
Students create "data maps" as they learn about cartography, the Electoral College, historical presidential elections, and how U.S. demographics changed over the course of a century. This issue includes "Maps, Representations of the Earth, and Biases" by
Peter C. Cormas, and "How Politicians Gerrymander" by Steven S. Lapham.

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Drummer Boys: Creating Historical Fiction and Studying Historical Documents


--Daniel C. King
Students analyze historical documents (photos and a personal letter, included as handouts) and write creatively about what they have learned.

This URL downloads all 16 pages of Middle Level Learning as a pdf of about 0.8 MB:
* http://members.ncss.org/mll/35/MLL35.pdf

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Comparing FSA Photographs by Ben Shahn: A Lesson in Media Literacy


--Robert J. Stevens and Jared A. Fogel
Students compare and analyze two Great Depression-era photographs and a color poster by Ben Shahn and read his biography (all are handouts).

This URL downloads all 16 pages of Middle Level Learning as a pdf of about 0.8 MB:
* http://members.ncss.org/mll/35/MLL35.pdf

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Researching Our School’s History


--Amy Trenkle
Challenging eighth grade students to "investigate a bit of history that they interact with every day--the history of their own school" leads to critical thinking . . . and interesting discoveries. This issue includes a brief description of an oral history project, "Our School as Living History" by Candyce Sweda.

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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.

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What Having Students “Write the Constitution” Taught Me


--Thomas Ladenburg
Students learn the historical setting background of an event, but then must debate and "decide upon" the outcome before they discover what actually happened. This issue also includes "Teaching and Learning with Timelines" by Linda Tripp, Cindy Basye, Kathy Jones, and Vicki Tripp.

This URL downloads all 16 pages of Middle Level Learning as a pdf of about 1.0 MB:

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Historical Letters: Integrating History and Language Arts


--Kay A. Chick
A lesson using a historical letter (included as a handout) from 1948 (about Truman's election) integrates history and language arts.
Also includes a review by James M. Duran of free, online collections of historical political cartoons.

This URL downloads all 16 pages of Middle Level Learning as a pdf of about 1.2 MB:
* http://members.ncss.org/mll/29/MLL29.pdf

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King Coal: A Piece of Eastern Pennsylvania History


--Jill M. Beccaris and Christine Woyshner
A variety of activities help students learn about the coal miners and steels workers (many of them new immigrants) during the Industrial Age. A handout is based on an oral interview, and provides a photo of child coal miners, 1911.

This URL downloads all 16 pages of Middle Level Learning as a pdf of about 1.2 MB:

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Venture Smith’s Autobiography and Runaway Ad: Enslavement in Early New York


--Alan J. Singer
Students compare primary sources (included as handouts) to validate historical information. The ad is from the "New York Gazette," April 1, 1754, published in the slave-holding colony of New York.

This URL downloads all 16 pages of Middle Level Learning as a pdf of about 1.2 MB:
* http://members.ncss.org/mll/28/MLL28.pdf

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