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General US History

“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:

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The Makah: Exploring Public Issues during a Structured Classroom Discussion

--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.

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Buttoning Up a Hands-On History Lesson

--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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Teaching About Elections During a Presidential Election Year

--Mary E. Haas, Barbara Hatcher, and Cynthia Szymanski Sunal
Introducing young students to some of the main facets of a national election (past and present): What is an opinion survey? What is democracy? How do we learn about the candidates? Is the election fair? How are Votes cast and counted? What happens at a national debate? etc.

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DeKalb Couty, Illinois: A Local History Project for Second Graders

--Danielle Bell and Mary Beth Henning
Second grade students use primary and secondary sources to learn about local history. Students "grapple with" tough-to-read historical texts and open questions, and then prepare a presentation on what they've learned.

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