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Middle Level

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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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:

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Exploring the Explorers: Using Internet Resources

--Cheryl Franklin Torrez and Gina Bush
Students investigate various sources to learn about the Age of Exploration--and think critically about what they are reading at the (sometimes mischievous) "All About Explorers" website.

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Rope Circles and Giant Trees: Making History Come Alive

--Robert Millward
Students in grades 4-8 can get a feeling for what the colonial frontier was like when the lesson includes physical activity, paintings, artifacts, diaries, and discussions. (Includes 2-page color poster by Robert Griffing.)

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Talking with Children about the Columbian Exchange

--Lynette Field and Judith Y. Singer
The authors describe books for youth about 1) the early encounters between Native Americans and Europeans, and 2) cultural and economic wealth generated by the coming of horses to the continent, and 3) forced marches and separation of families.

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Pocahontas: Comparing the Disney Image with Historical Evidence

--Margaret Golden
Fourth grade students critically compare the fictionalized account with various historical sources. In the 1615 English engraving, that Elizabethan collar on Pocahontas "probably hid tattooing."

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