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Middle Level Learning

Middle Level Learning is a special publication featuring lessons and activities for middle school teachers. MLL is published online only, 3 times a year. The current issue and MLL back issues are available to NCSS members.

MLL Issues

Middle Level Learning June 2020

Busing in U.S. History: A Lesson to Promote Historical Empathy

Katherine Perrotta

Middle Level Learning January/February 2020

Examining the Climate Crisis in the Social Studies Classroom: Public Polling and Mock Trials

Matthew S. Hollstein and Alan Chu

Middle Level Learning September 2019

Teaching about Female Sports Icons and Gender Equity
Carolyn A. Weber

Jim Crow Riding Shotgun: Navigating Racial Discrimination in America
Eric Chandler Groce, Tina L. Heafner, and Margaret Norville Gregor

Making the Most of Field Trips to Historical Museums
Karen L. B. Burgard

Middle Level Learning May/June 2019

Civil War Drummer Boys: Integrating Music into Social Studies
Jing A. Williams, Deborah Check Reeves, and Paige M. Wright

Mission Impossible: Turning Essays on Enduring Issues into Respectful Ethical Debates
Jennifer Ingold

Middle Level Learning January/February 2019

Whose Responsibility is it to Protect the Amazon?

Misty Galloway Tucker

also in this issue:
Creating Anti-Bullying PSAs in the Classroom
Andrea Saltzman Martin, Valerie Ooka Pang, Eric J. Ginsberg, Jennifer M. Pang, Luke Duesbery, and Edward R. Dial

Surviving Eighth Grade
Andrea S. Libresco

Middle Level Learning September 2018

Birmingham and the Human Costs of Industrialization: Using the C3 Framework to Explore the “Magic City” in the Gilded Age
Jeremiah Clabough and John H. Bickford III

The 1848 Women’s Rights Convention: Where was Frances Seward?
Alan Singer

Middle Level Learning May/June 2018

How to Be an American
This article contains two video resources. (also linked below)

Judge Lucy Koh: “Be Fully Engaged in Democracy”

Karen Korematsu: “You Can Make a Difference”

Conflict, Service, and Civic Involvement
Sarah K. Anderson

Middle Level Learning January/February 2018

The Global Challenge of Equal Access for Girls to an Education: An Investigation Using Inquiry
Heather N. Hagan and Carolyn A. Weber

Within These Halls: In situ Primary Sources in Your Own School
Benjamin R. Wellenreiter

Middle Level Learning September 2017

Fred Korematsu Speaks Up:
Using Nonfiction with the Inquiry Arc of the C3 Framework

Kristy Brugar and Jeremiah Clabough

Middle Level Learning May/June 2017

Dialectical Discussion: A Method at the Heart of Our Democratic Process
James Massey

Breaking News! Ten Tips for How to Make Current Events Work for You
Sean McBrady

Not Yet Fully Illuminated: African American History and Washington, D.C.
Book Review by Dawn Chitty

Middle Level Learning January/February 2017

Legendary tour Guides who were Enslaved Americans
Caroline C. Sheffield and Ashley L. Shelton

Also in this issue:

Giving Up Control: Action Research in Middle School
Ron Silvis

Middle Level Learning September 2016

Immigration Today: Teaching with Film
Jeremy Hilburn and Lisa Brown Buchanan

Voting Rights and Literacy Tests
R. Z. Seitz and P. T. Chandler

Book Review: She Stood for Freedom

Erie Canal Puzzler

Middle Level Learning May/June 2016

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Memorials, and Americans with Disabilities

Eric Waples

The Erie Canal: An Early Public Works Project

S. Kay Gandy

Middle Level Learning January/February 2016

Benjamin Banneker's Letter to Thomas Jefferson

John A. Moore

Next Door to Old Smokey: Engaging in Scientific Measurements and Public Action

Bertha Vazquez, Hilary Landorf, and L. Bahia Simons-Lane

Middle Level Learning September 2015

An Emancipation Document by Ulysses S. Grant

Kenneth Anthony and Mary Katherine Morgan

Middle Level Learning May/June 2015

The Home Front during the Civil War: Embattled Lives and Endurance in Ohio

Stephen M. Charter

Using Graphic Novels to Promote Social Studies Literacy

Jeremiah Clabough and Kenneth T. Carano

Middle Level Learning January/February 2015

Preventing Bird Strikes on Windows

Steven S. Lapham

Climate Change and National Landmarks

Union of Concerned Scientists Comprehending Big Numbers

Middle Level Learning September 2014

North Platte Canteen Nebraska 1941

Eric Groce, Tina Heafner, Elizabeth Bellows, and Robin Groce

The Green Book: Finding Safe Passage in Jim Crow America

Steven S. Lapham and Calvin Alexander Ramsey

Middle Level Learning May/June 2014

Controversy Over Child Labor

Teresa G. Wojcik and Williiam Knous

Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, and the Idea of National Parks

Carol Thornton

Middle Level Learning January/February 2014

Carved in Stone: The Preamble to the Constitution

Steven S. Lapham

The Journal of an Underground Railroad Conductor

David Reader, Beth A. Twiss Houting, and Rachel Moloshok

Middle Level Learning September 2013

Life (and Strife) in an Auto Factory

Eric B. Freedman

County Names and Notable Women

Scott L. Roberts

Middle Level Learning May/June 2013

Harriet Tubman: Emancipate Yourself!

Steven S. Lapham and Peter Hanes

An Urgent Brief: Social Studies and Writing Skills

Thomas N. Turner, Jeremiah C. Clabough, and William Cole

Middle Level Learning January/February 2013

Ducks Ahoy! Plastic Debris and Ocean Currents

Caroline C. Sheffield and Ingrid S. Weiland

Middle Level Learning September 2012

Teaching About the Nanking Massacre to Middle School Students

Justin Villet

The First War Hawks: The Invasion of Canada in 1812

Steven Sellers Lapham

Middle Level Learning May/June 2012

Slavery After the Civil War The Convict-Lease System, 1866-1928

It Makes a Long-Time Man Feel Bad

Christine Adrian

The Convict-Lease System, 1866-1928 

(Three Lessons) with four readings and two worksheets


Middle Level Learning January/February 2012

Lights, Camera,…Reenaction! Creating Video as We Study the Civil War

Angela Stokes

Pairing Nonfiction and Fiction: Social Studies and Language Arts Together

Angela Falter Thomas

Candles, Flashlights, and Product Safety

Middle Level Learning September 2011

Evaluating the Social Aspects of Scientific Innovation: An Interdisciplinary Inquiry

Courtney Ferrari

Analyzing Historical Political Cartoons: Helping Students With Diverse Learning Needs Analyze Primary Sources

Grant R. Miller

GMO T-Shirts: Pro and Con Cartoons

Middle Level Learning May/June 2011

The Lower East Side Tenement Museum: A Window on Immigrant Life

Adam Steinberg and Michael J. Berson

The Assignment Journal: A Student-Created Resource and Organizing System

David W. Denton

The Centennial of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire: Teaching Resources


Middle Level Learning Jan/Feb 2011

Raise Up Your Cloth! The Woman Suffrage Movement's Second Generation

Catherine M. Carter

Winning the Vote for Women: Objection and Answer

Jenny Wei

Game Changer: Women's Basketball and Equal Opportunity

Tedd Levy

Women's Sports? Thank the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Steven S. Lapham

The Back Page: Are There Limits to Freedom?

Middle Level Learning September 2010

Turn Out Those Lights! The Merchant Marine and U-Boat Lane, 1942

Caroline C. Sheffield and Andrew J. Nichols

The Greensboro Sit-In: When Students Took Charge
of Social Change

Eric Groce, Tina Heafner, and Katie O’Connor

Is This Candy an Advertisement for Cigarettes? A Media Literacy Activity

Steven S. Lapham


Middle Level Learning May/June 2010

Primary Source of the Day:A Warm Up Activity

Amy Trenkle

Highlights in History: Teaching with Differentiated Instruction

Kay A. Chick

Racing Around the World: A Geography Contest to Remember

C. Steven Page

Racing Around the World Questions




Middle Level Learning Jan/Feb 2010

Tulipmania 1637! A Curious Event in the Dutch Golden Age

Caroline C. Sheffield, Ilene R. Berson, and Michael J. Berson

Jane Jacobs: A Citizen Fights for the Neighborhood

Book review by Wendy Ewbank

A Crossword Puzzle for Higher-Order Thinking

James Monack


Middle Level Learning September 2009

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

Peter William Moran, Kimberly Dawn Miller and Kurk Aegerter

Maps, Representations of the Earth, and Biases

Peter C. Cormas

How Politicians Gerrymander

Steven S. Lapham

Middle Level Learning May/June 2009

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

Robert J. Stevens and Jared A. Fogel

Drummer Boys: Creating Historical Fiction and Studying Historical Documents

Middle Level Learning Jan/Feb 2009

Researching Our School’s History

Amy Trenkle

Our School as Living History

Candyce Sweda

A Trash-Free Lunch Experiment

Alison Davis-Holland, Sue Annis, and Steven S. Lapham

Bears in the Air

Facing the Future

Middle Level Learning September 2008

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

Vanessa Rodriguez

Achievement and Innovation in the Middle Ages: Students
Compare Civilizations

Aaron Kaio and Katie Gilbert

The Back Page—Now and Then: A Hierarchy of Needs

Middle Level Learning May/June 2008

What Having Students “Write the Constitution” Taught Me

Thomas Ladenburg

Teaching and Learning with Timelines

Linda Tripp, Cindy Basye, Kathy Jones, and Vicki Tripp

A Novel Idea: Historical Fiction and Social Studies

Janie M. McManus

Making Choices: An Exploration of Political Preferences

Paige Lilley Schulte and Travis Miller

Student Handout: Create a Time Line of Recent History

Middle Level Learning January/February 2008

Connect-the-Dots: Making Meaning from Historical Evidence

Chris Edwards

Yellow Fever in Philadelphia, 1793 (Book Review)

Sandra W. Moss

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

Tom Carty

On the Trail of an Epidemic: Yellow Fever in New Orleans, 1845-1860

Middle Level Learning September 2007

All History is Local: Researching the Place Where You Live

John P. Dillon

Online Interactive Mapping: Using the Panoramic Maps Collection

Marsha Alibrandi and Eui kyung Shin

What’s in a Name? Investigating Whom to Memorialize

Arlene Girard and Mary Beth Henning

A Picture is Worth 20 Questions

William B. Russell III

Middle Level Learning May/June 2007

Historical Letters: Integrating History and Language Arts

Kay A. Chick

‘Tooning’ into History: Online Collections of Political Cartooons

James M. Duran

Weaving a Map: Making Global Connections Visible

Teresa Secules and Rhodis Thompson

Great Zeus! Creating Greek Myth Cards

John Marshall Carter

Middle Level Learning January/February 2007

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

Alan J. Singer

Classroom Debates Made Easy

Kathleen M. Doyle

King Coal: A Piece of Eastern Pennsylvania History

Jill M. Beccaris and Christine Woyshner

Coal: An Energy Source to be Reckoned With

Middle Level Learning September 2006

Dramatic Narratives: Capturing the Human Side of World War II

Anita Perna Bohn and Penny Britton Kolloff

Ernie Pyle:The Foot Soldier’s Reporter

Sandra B. Oldendorf

Teenage Witnesses to the Holocaust (Book Review)

Tom Kolbe The Back Page: Censorship in Times of War

Middle Level Learning May/June 2006

Linking Civics and Current Events

Melissa J. Marks

Leaders of Recent Nonviolent Revolutions

Melissa N. Matusevich

The Back Page: “Friend or Foe” Game

Middle Level Learning January/February 2006

American Revolution:Three Lesson Plans for Critical Thinking

Stephanie Wasta

Working to Improve Our Community: Students as Citizens and Town Planners

Ted Mitchell

Poems for Two Voices: An Interdisciplinary Activity

Leslie Perfect Ricklin

The Back Page: “Skin the Snake” A Colonial Children's Game

Middle Level Learning September 2005

Philip Reid and the Statue of Freedom

Eugene Walton

Casting Freedom, 1860-1862

Restoring Freedom, 1993

An Abolitionist Cartoon, 1830

Middle Level Learning May/June 2005

Gay Parents Do Exist: Letting the Rabbit Out of the Hat

Debra Chasnoff

Wireless Fever! Radio Days in the Classroom

Dan Schuchat

Design a Book: A Quest in Ancient Egypt

David Cooper

Bandwidth Problems ca. 1912: The Need for Federal Regulation

Middle Level Learning January/February 2005

Hard Times in the USA

The Great Depression “Maybe You Could Help?” Letters to Eleanor Roosevelt

Mary Mason Royal

Will the Senate Confirm “Karl B. Fennin”?

William E. Amburn

Ben Franklin’s Evolving View on Race and Ethnicity

Steven S. Lapham and Drew Saunders

The Game of History: A Creative Review Activity

Christine Bell

Your Move! History Board Games

Middle Level Learning September 2004

Lookout Point: Teaching History in a Post-Industrial Age

Ann Bianchetti

Workin' on the Railroad: African American Labor History

Rebecca C. Maher

A Union of Railroad Workers Sets the Pace

A. Phillip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum

Laying Track Over the Sierra Nevada

U.S. National Park Service

Diary of a Railroad Construction Engineer

A. N. Ferguson

Train Schedules, Standardization, and The Day of Two Noons

Steven S. Lapham

This Hammer'll Be the Death of Me: The Railroad's Hazardous Early Years

Middle Level Learning May 2004

Lookout Point: Abolitionists Among the Founding Fathers

Kevin Brady

Runaway Slave Advertisements: Teaching from Primary Documents

Tom Costa and Brooks Doyle

Teaching About Immigration, Past and Present

Susan Pass

Facts about Our Immigrants

Middle Level Learning Jan/Feb 2004

Two Words in Need of Redemption

John Hergesheimer

Lewis & Clark: An Interdisciplinary Expedition

Kristy Brugar

The Compromise of 1790: A Capital Simulation

David L. Ghere

Book Review: York's Adventure with Lewis and Clark by Rhoda Blumberg

Paul Horton

Furious and Formidable: A Lewis & Clark Bestiary

Middle Level Learning September 2003

Teaching About a Controversial Issue

Steven S. Lapham

State v. Tribe: How the Indian Gaming Controversy Began

William L. Hewitt and Barbara Beaucar

From Furs and Wampum to Slot Machines and Megadollars

William L. Hewitt

The Streets are Paved with Silver

Barbara Beaucar and William L. Hewitt

Deception and Games of Chance

Steven S. Lapham

Does Gaming Hurt or Help?

William L. Hewitt

Can You Find Me? An American Indian Guessing Game

Middle Level Learning May/June 2003

Lookout Point: Let’s Talk about Sexual Harassment in Middle School

Kimberly S. Palmer

Service Learning and Social Studies: A Natural Fit

Elizabeth A. Bloom

A Zen Garden at Tecumseh: From Mocking to Honoring

Leila Meyerratken

A Model Rivers Project: Relating Geography and Culture

Andrea Port Jacobs

Book Review: We Were There Too! by Phillip Hoose

Melinda Karnes

Book Review: Learning on Their Feet by Carol Glynn

Ronald V. Morris

Musical Shares

Middle Level Learning Jan/Feb 2003

Lookout Point: Achievement for Every Student

Hayes Mizell

Archaeology in the Seventh Grade:An Interdisciplinary Unit of Study

Marilyn J. Eisenwine

Sharing Space: Urban Wildlife and Human Society

Jane Manaster

The Caracara: Working with Birds and People

Joan L. Morrison

Life on the Wild Side

Jane Manaster

Middle Level Learning September 2002

Lookout Point: Preparing Young People for Longer Lives in an Aging Society

Donna P. Couper and Fran Pratt

Visiting and Interviewing Older Adults: Service-Learning in the Sixth Grade

Alison Parker

Using Political Cartoons: An Activity for Students of Every Ability

Dwight C. Holliday and Janice A. Grskovic

Critical Thinking and Logical Argument

James A. Duplass and Dana L. Ziedler

Book Review: The Thanksgiving Visitor by Truman Capote

Lisa L. Owens

Aging in America

Donna P. Couper and Steven S. Lapham

Middle Level Learning May/June 2002

Lookout Point: Teaching About Religion

John Hergesheimer

Dancing the Circle: An Introduction to Powwows

Karen D. Harvey

World Religions and Personal Tolerance

Sofia Udner

My Name is Osama

Sharifa Alkhateeb and Steven S. Lapham

Powerful Creatures: Native American Animal Myths

Steven S. Lapham

Middle Level Learning Jan/Feb 2002

Lookout Point: Should 9-11 Change K-12?

Tedd Levy

The WPA Slave Narratives: Teaching with Oral Histories

Paul Horton

Going Places: Geography on the Internet

Margaret Hill

Teaching with the Use of Current Issues: The Canadian Model

George W. Chilcoat, Lynette B. Erickson, and Jerry A. Ligon

Q&A about Slavery in the United States

Steven S. Lapham

Middle Level Learning September 2001

Lookout Point: Examining the Motives Behind Standardized Testing

Dianna Topper

Adobe Bricks: Building Blocks of the Southwest

Byron Augustin and Michael Bailey

Book Review: Mud Matters by Jennifer Owings Dewey

Arlene Hirschfelder

Dear Teacher: Letters on the Eve of the Japanese American Imprisonment

Yoon Pak

Tough Stuff: Social Studies and Building Materials

Steven S. Lapham

Middle Level Learning May/June 2001

Lookout Point: Putting Conflict in the Curriculum

Tedd Levy

Letter to the Editor

Andrea S. Libresco

Tracking a Hurricane: A Mapping Exercise in Real Time

Donna Kay Mau

What’s in a Name? A Whirlwind Tour of the World

Steven S. Lapham

A Mighty Storm: Galveston, Texas, 1900

Steven S. Lapham

One Step at a Time: A Landmine Removal Initiative

Mark Hyman

Young Man Survives Hurricane!

Steven S. Lapham

Middle Level Learning Jan/Feb 2001

Lookout Point: Who Influences Social Studies?

Tedd Levy

Wandering Behind: Talking About Pearl Harbor

Daniel J. Ferri

Oral History Research: Internet Resources and Report

Margaret Hill

A World War II Oral History Project for Eighth Grader

Thomas E. Gray

Book Review: Faithful Elephants

Barbara J. Holt

The Great Irish Famine: Life and Work in America

Notable Irish Americans of the 1800s

The “Name It” Game

Lou Paliani

Middle Level Learning Sept/Oct 2000

The Character of Their Content

Tedd Levy

Foreward: The Great Irish Famine

Maureen Murphy, Alan Singer, Maureen McCann Miletta, and Judity Y. Singer

A Brief History of the Potatoe in Ireland

Traces of the Written Record

The Delicious, Nutritious Pratie

From County Cork to New York

Selected References

Irish Curios & Cameos

Middle Level Learning May/June 2000

Let Me Explain: Students as Colonial History Docents

Linda L. Gesek

Take a Break: A Token Economy in the Fifth Grade

John M. Hail

The Real World: Community Speakers in the Classroom

Lindy G. Poling

Whales in Depth: An Interdisciplinary Study

Cynthia Szymanski Sunal, Gail Pritchard, and Dennis W. Sunal

Middle Level Learning Jan/Feb 2000

Team Egypt! Integrating the Disciplines

Amanda W. Greenwald

Girls Can Be President: Generating Interest in Inclusive History


Besting Testing Hysteria: Reasonable Preparation for Standardized Tests

Sherry L. Field

Revolutionary Women: Portraits of Life in the Thirteen Colonies


Middle Level Learning September 1999

Serious Fun in Social Studies for Middle Schoolers

Guest Editors: Dan Rea and Robert L. Stevens

“The War that Never Ended:” Special Education Students Write History

Diane Zigo

Freedom Train: Building an Underground Railroad

Wayne Hickman

Using Computers to Design Historical Communities

April Mock

A Walk Through Time: A Living History Project

Alice Aud, Gini Bland, Barbara Brown, and Bruce Law

Middle Level Learning April/May 1999

Shipwreck: Using Literature and Student Imagination toTeach Geography

Donna Kay Mau

What Is a Hero? Students Explore Their Conceptions of the Heroic

Joseph O’Brien and Steven H.White

My Brother and I: Brickyard Laborers in an Ohio Town

Martha I. Pallante and Christian Shively

Fostering a Critical and Caring Classroom Culture

Pamela B. Joseph and Mark A. Windschitl

Middle Level Learning Jan/Feb 1999

“Did They Actually, Really Believe This?”

Authentic Medical Documents as a Window on the Past

Julie Riley

Taking Student Government Seriously

J.R. Bolen

Acting Out History: From the Ice Age to the Modern Age

Denee J. Mattioli and Frederick Drake

Modern Times: The Industrial Revolution and the Concept of Time

Frans H. Doppen

Middle Level Learning September 1998

A Treasured Island: Human and Geographic Interaction on Cumberland

Robert L. Stevens and Julia A. Celebi

Teaching History as Perspective Taking: The Colonial Convention

Mac Duis and Sandra S. Duis

The Community as a Laboratory for Student Learning

Joseph Ciaccio

Coming of Age Ceremonies: A Mask Project

Alan Singer, Laura Gurton, Aimee Horowitz, Stephanie Hunte, Paula Broomfield, and Joanne Thomas

Middle Level Learning April/May 1998

From Château Fort to Renaissance Palace

Jennifer Rothwell

Overcoming the Odds: An Easy Interdisciplinary Activity

Tedd Levy

In From the Cold: People with Disablities in Juvenile Literature

Jane Manaster

Asia In the Classroom

Mary Hammond Bernson

Middle Level Learning Jan/Feb 1998

Using Children’s Diaries to Teach the Oregon Trail

Richard M. Wyman, Jr.

Living the Geography of Joseph and Temperance Bown

Katherine A. Young

The ABCs of Small Grant Acquisition for Social Studies Teachers

Bruce Sliger

Isomo Loruko: The Yoruba Naming Ceremony

Patricia Kafi and Alan Singer

Child Laborers in Children’s Literature

Linda Leonard Lamme

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