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US History

One Step at a Time: A Landmine Removal Initiative

--Mark Hyman
An interdisciplinary project teaches students about the human costs of past and current wars. Mines and UXO (unexploded ordnance) continue to injure civilians long after a conflict has ended. (See p. 10-15)

This URL downloads all 16 pages of Middle Level Learning as a black-and-white pdf of about 3.0 MB:
* http://www.socialstudies.org/system/files/publications/mll/11/MLLMayJune...

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Tracking a Hurricane: A Mapping Exercise in Real Time

--Donna Kay Mau
A classroom activity (in geography/history/current-events) for September of any year. Other items recall the "mighty storms" of Galveston (1900) and St. Croix (1772)--which a young islander, Alexander Hamilton, witnessed and wrote about (see Handout p. 16).

This URL downloads all 16 pages of Middle Level Learning as a black-and-white pdf of about 3.0 MB:

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World War I Posters: Thinking Critically about History and the Media

--Tom Carty
Students' abilities to analyze pictures vary just as their reading skills do. Handouts with four propaganda images challenge students to apply what they have learned about history. See pp. 9-15.

This URL downloads all 16 pages of Middle Level Learning as a pdf of about 0.9 MB:
* http://www.socialstudies.org/system/files/publications/mll/31/MLL31.pdf

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Yellow Fever in Philadelphia, 1793

--Sandra W. Moss, M.D.
Book review of "An American Plague" by Jim Murphy. Also in this issue: Handouts and teaching ideas, such as handout/graph "On the Trail of an Epidemic: Yellow Fever in New Orleans, 1845-1860" and "Connect-the-Dots: Making Meaning from Historical Evidence" by Chris Edwards, which discusses smallpox and the Columbian Exchange.

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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://www.socialstudies.org/system/files/publications/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://www.socialstudies.org/system/files/publications/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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