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ALEX Lesson Plans


Subject: English Language Arts (2), or Social Studies (1 - 2), or Technology Education (K - 2)
Title: Mexico
Description: In this lesson, students explore Mexico by navigating the Internet and reading a variety of literature. Traditions, holidays, clothing, etc., of Mexico will be compared to American culture. A newsletter creates a way for students to share and educate family members about Mexico.


Thinkfinity Lesson Plans


Subject: Arts - Visual Arts - Science - Earth science - Social Studies - Geography
Title: Life on the Rivers of Asia      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions lesson, students examine the influence of rivers on the populations of Asia. Using the Ganges, Yangtze, and Mekong as primary examples of Asian rivers, students consider the immediate influence of the rivers in the lives of the people who live along them, as well as the larger influence of the rivers on the regions in which they exist.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: K,1,2



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: Life in a Sod House: Darkroom Detectives      Add Bookmark
Description: What can we learn about life in a sod house by looking at photographs? In this activity, from the "OurStory'' series produced by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, students will analyze two photographs of families who lived in homes made of sod in order to answer questions about these families' lives. "OurStory'' is a series of modules designed to help children and adults enjoy exploring history together through the use of objects from the Museum's vast collections, quality children's literature, and engaging hands-on activities. Ideal for afterschool use, "OurStory'' resources will allow students to think critically, to be creative, and to achieve academic standards both in and out of the classroom.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Foods from Far Away      Add Bookmark
Description: A field trip to the grocery store can give you a look at how traditional foods from around the world are now part of American culture. In this activity, students will use discussion prompts and a worksheet to make the most of their visit. This activity is part of an OurStory module entitled Coming to America. OurStory is designed to help children and adults explore history together through the use of children's literature, museum objects, and hands-on activities.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Reading Feivel's Flying Horses      Add Bookmark
Description: Use this guide to actively read Feivel's Flying Horses a picture book about an immigrant who comes to America in the late 1800's. Part of an OurStory module entitled Coming to America, this activity includes discussion prompts, a glossary, and background information. OurStory is designed to help children and adults explore history together through the use of children's literature, museum objects, and hands-on activities.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4



Subject: Language Arts - Writing (composition) - Social Studies - Economics - Social Studies - Geography
Title: Trade and Transportation in the United States      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from Xpeditions, students imagine what it would be like to operate a plane, train, or truck along a trade route across the United States. They also look at maps of major U.S. transportation networks and explain how specific products might get from one place to another.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: K,1,2



Subject: Science - Meteorology - Social Studies - Geography
Title: How's the Weather--in Africa?!      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions lesson, students describe and compare how weather affects human activity in two places on opposite sides of the world. Students first identify the seasons and weather in their community and how human activities are affected by weather. They then cross the globe and compare how the weather of northern Africa impacts human activities there. Students look for a connection between the two environments and conclude that although the weather and activities may be very different in each place, the impact of weather on human activities is a common thread in human communities all over the world.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: K,1,2



Subject: Social Studies
Title: The Culture of Puerto Rico: Make Your Own Carnival Mask      Add Bookmark
Description: In this activity, from the "OurStory'' series produced by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, students will create their own paper mache Carnival masks as a way to learn about Puerto Rico and Puerto Rican culture. "OurStory'' is a series of modules designed to help children and adults enjoy exploring history together through the use of objects from the Museum's vast collections, quality children's literature, and engaging hands-on activities. Ideal for afterschool use, "OurStory'' resources will allow students to think critically, to be creative, and to achieve academic standards both in and out of the classroom.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4



Subject: Social Studies - Anthropology - Social Studies - Geography - Social Studies - Human Behavior
Title: The Land of the Inca      Add Bookmark
Description: This lesson, from Xpeditions, introduces students to the ancient Inca people and the land on which they lived. They learn basic facts about the Inca and use a map to show where they lived. Students also look at pictures of the Andes mountains and Inca ruins and discuss the geography of the area. Finally, they talk about how the Inca lived and compare the Inca way of life to their own.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: K,1,2



Subject: Social Studies - Geography
Title: Human Migration: The Story of a Community      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions lesson, students come to understand some key concepts of human migration through the examination of maps and migration patterns. Students research and document the impact of migration on a region's cultural landscape. They examine migration patterns on a global and national scale as a class and then apply that understanding to a class project telling a migration story about their own community. Several pieces of literature appropriate for use with this lesson are suggested.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: K,1,2



Subject: Foreign Languages,Social Studies
Title: French and Family      Add Bookmark
Description: In this unit of three lessons, from EDSITEment, students learn about French families and gain a preliminary knowledge of the French language, learning the French names for various family members. After completing the lessons, students are able to locate France on a map of the world and describe similarities and differences between French and American family life.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: K,1,2



Subject: Cross-Disciplinary - History , Cross-Disciplinary - Informal Education , Cross-Disciplinary - Popular Culture , Social Studies - Current Events/Issues , Informal Education - Academic Enrichment , Informal Education - Arts and Crafts
Title: What Is a Smokejumper?      Add Bookmark
Description: Join us in Wonderopolis today for a closer look at one of the most dangerous jobs in the world!
Thinkfinity Partner: Wonderopolis
Grade Span: K,PreK,1,2,3,4,5



Subject: Cross-Disciplinary - History , Cross-Disciplinary - Informal Education , Cross-Disciplinary - Popular Culture , Arts - Architecture , Science - General Science , Science - Physics , Social Studies - Civics , Geography - Physical Geography , Informal Education - Academic Enrichment
Title: Is the Leaning Tower of Pisa Falling?      Add Bookmark
Description: No trip to Pisa, Italy, would be complete without a stop at this famous tower!
Thinkfinity Partner: Wonderopolis
Grade Span: K,PreK,1,2,3,4,5



Subject: Social Studies,Geography
Title: Time Warp Trio      Add Bookmark
Description: ' Time Warp Trio'' is an NEH-funded television program on PBS. The animated series follows three children who travel through space and time to explore world history and cultures. The website features games and lesson plans.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 1,2,3



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: What Is History? Timelines and Oral Histories      Add Bookmark
Description: This lesson, from EDSITEment, aims to help students understand history and recognize that the past is different depending on who is remembering and retelling it. There are four activities, in which students construct a timeline based on events from their own lives and family histories, construct a class timeline through comparison with each other's histories, research oral history by interviewing family members, and study primary sources to write their own history of the Great Chicago Fire.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: K,1,2



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Connecting Food and Stories      Add Bookmark
Description: Read or listen to a short news story about the food in a Japanese American internment camp, then create a meal using some of the same ingredients. Part of an OurStory module entitled Life in a WWII Japanese American Internment Camp, this activity includes links to instructions to make "Weenie Royale," discussion prompts, and background information. OurStory is designed to help children and adults explore history together through the use of children's literature, museum collections, and hands-on activities.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4



Subject: Cross-Disciplinary - Informal Education , Cross-Disciplinary - Popular Culture , Health - Environmental Health , Health - Preventative Health , Health - Research , Health - Safety , Physical Education - Outdoor Education , Science - Earth science , Science - Ecology , Science - General Science , Science - Meteorology , Science - Oceanography , Social Studies - Current Events/Issues , Informal Education - Academic Enrichment , Informal Education - Environmental Education , Informal Education - Zoo/Aquarium/Nature Center Education
Title: How Long Is the Appalachian Trail?      Add Bookmark
Description: June is Great Outdoors Month! Grab your backpack and join Wonderopolis for a walk along one of the most famous - and longest - hiking trails in America.
Thinkfinity Partner: Wonderopolis
Grade Span: K,PreK,1,2,3,4,5



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Reading Follow the Drinking Gourd      Add Bookmark
Description: In this activity, students will increase their knowledge of slavery, slave life and the Underground Railroad by answering questions about the book and song Follow the Drinking Gourd and then writing and illustrating a poem or letter playing the role of a conductor, agent or passenger on the Underground Railroad. It is included in an OurStory module entitled Slave Life and the Underground Railroad . OurStory is a series of modules designed to help children and adults enjoy exploring history together through the use of objects from the Museum's vast collections, quality children's literature, and engaging hands-on activities. Ideal for afterschool use, OurStory resources allow students to think critically, to be creative, and to achieve academic standards both in and out of the classroom.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4



Subject: Cross-Disciplinary - History , Cross-Disciplinary - Informal Education , Physical Education - Adventure and Risk Challenge Activities , Physical Education - Outdoor Education , Physical Education - Skill-Related Fitness , Science - Engineering , Science - General Science , Science - Physical Sciences , Science - Physics , Social Studies - World History , Informal Education - Academic Enrichment
Title: Do Boomerangs Always Come Back?      Add Bookmark
Description: What do you call a boomerang that doesn't come back? Find out today in Wonderopolis!
Thinkfinity Partner: Wonderopolis
Grade Span: K,PreK,1,2,3,4,5



Subject: Cross-Disciplinary - History , Cross-Disciplinary - Informal Education , Cross-Disciplinary - Popular Culture , Foreign Languages - Cultural Awareness , Foreign Languages - Speaking , Language Arts - Debate , Language Arts - Listening Comprehension , Language Arts - Phonics , Language Arts - Speech , Language Arts - Spelling , Language Arts - Vocabulary , Language Arts - Whole Language , Social Studies - Anthropology , Social Studies - Human Behavior , Social Studies - Human Relations , Social Studies - Psychology , Social Studies - State History , Social Studies - Technology and Civilization , Social Studies - United States History , Social Studies - Urban Studies , Social Studies - World History , Geography - Cartography , Informal Education - Academic Enrichment
Title: Do All Pirates Have Beards?      Add Bookmark
Description: You've probably heard of pirates such as Redbeard and Blackbeard. Why do pirates like beards so much? And do all pirates have them? Read on to find out!
Thinkfinity Partner: Wonderopolis
Grade Span: K,PreK,1,2,3,4,5



Subject: Cross-Disciplinary - History , Cross-Disciplinary - Informal Education , Cross-Disciplinary - Popular Culture , Cross-Disciplinary - Technology , Health - Body Systems and Senses , Health - Environmental Health , Health - Research , Science - Medicine , Science - Engineering , Social Studies - Social Work , Social Studies - State History , Social Studies - Urban Studies , Social Studies - World History , Informal Education - Academic Enrichment , Informal Education - Sports/Fitness/Recreation , Informal Education - Technology Training
Title: Can You Unwrap a Mummy?      Add Bookmark
Description: Happy King Tut Day! Walk (like an Egyptian) with us as we unwrap the mystery that is the mummy!
Thinkfinity Partner: Wonderopolis
Grade Span: K,PreK,1,2,3,4,5



Subject: Social Studies
Title: The Culture of Puerto Rico: Become a Collector      Add Bookmark
Description: Becoming a collector is easy and fun! By following this guide, from the "OurStory'' series produced by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, students will learn how to start their own collection after reading about Teodor Vidal, a man who collected objects from Puerto Rico. "OurStory'' is a series of modules designed to help children and adults enjoy exploring history together through the use of objects from the Museum's vast collections, quality children's literature, and engaging hands-on activities. Ideal for afterschool use, "OurStory'' resources will allow students to think critically, to be creative, and to achieve academic standards both in and out of the classroom.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4



Subject: Cross-Disciplinary - History , Cross-Disciplinary - Informal Education , Cross-Disciplinary - Technology , Physical Education - Adventure and Risk Challenge Activities , Social Studies - Civics , Social Studies - State History , Social Studies - United States History , Social Studies - Urban Studies , Social Studies - World History , Vocational Education - Trade and Industrial , Informal Education - Academic Enrichment , Informal Education - Arts and Crafts , Informal Education - Business/Entrepreneurship training , Informal Education - Community service/Leadership/Team-building , Informal Education - Drama and Puppets , Informal Education - Environmental Education , Informal Education - Health/Wellness/Nutrition/Cooking , Informal Education - Homework Help/Tutoring , Informal Education - Movement and Music , Informal Education - Photography/Digital Arts , Informal Education - School to Career Experience , Informal Education - Sports/Fitness/Recreation , Informal Education - Technology Training , Informal Education - Zoo/Aquarium/Nature Center Education
Title: Who Were the Wright Brothers?      Add Bookmark
Description: What's that way up there in the air? Is it a bird? No! It's a plane! Hop on board a flight to Wonderopolis and meet Orville and Wilbur Wright, the fathers of aviation.
Thinkfinity Partner: Wonderopolis
Grade Span: K,PreK,1,2,3,4,5



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Coming to America      Add Bookmark
Description: Almost all Americans have family histories that trace back to other countries. By using this OurStory module, children and adults can enjoy exploring the experiences of immigrants who came to America and the ways that immigration has changed life in America through children's literature, museum objects, and hands-on activities. Focused around Feivel's Flying Horses, a historical fiction picture book about an immigrant who comes to America in the 1800's, the module includes links to hands-on activities and a list of recommended readings for further exploration.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6



Subject: Social Studies
Title: The Storm That Swept Mexico       Add Bookmark
Description: A webpage for the PBS documentary, The Storm That Swept Mexico, with educational activities, interactives, resources and visuals for students and educators on the Mexican Revolution (1910).
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 2,3,4,5,6



Subject: Arts,Language Arts,Mathematics,Physical Education,Science,Social Studies,Geography
Title: Great Websites for Kids      Add Bookmark
Description: Created by the American Library Association, this portal website helps parents and children find age appropriate educational materials on the Internet.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: K,PreK,1,2,3,4,5,6,7



Subject: Cross-Disciplinary - Informal Education , Physical Education - Outdoor Education , Science - Biological and Life Sciences , Science - Biology , Science - Chemistry , Science - Earth science , Science - General Science , Science - Natural History , Science - Oceanography , Social Studies - Technology and Civilization , Social Studies - United States History , Social Studies - World History , Informal Education - Environmental Education , Informal Education - Zoo/Aquarium/Nature Center Education
Title: What Is an Iceberg?      Add Bookmark
Description: If you're sailing your shopping cart down the produce aisle, you may want to keep a lookout for rogue icebergs, but "lettuce" assure you that a collision surely won't sink you. On the other hand, the icebergs that are the subject of today's Wonder of the Day can - and did - sink the ship the world thought was "unsinkable."
Thinkfinity Partner: Wonderopolis
Grade Span: K,PreK,1,2,3,4,5



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Asian American Curriculum Project      Add Bookmark
Description: The mission of the Asian American Curriculum Project is to educate the public about the great diversity of the Asian American experience by distributing books that foster cultural awareness and to educate Asian Americans about their own heritage. AACP believes that the knowledge which comes from the use of appropriate materials can accomplish these goals. The books and other materials are for all age groups, all levels of education and all Asian ethnic groups; including and not limited to Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Hmong, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Samoan, Tongan, Thai, Vietnamese Americans and Hawaiians. Materials include literature, folk tales, posters, magazine, tapes on language and music, games, activities, teacher guides, dictionaries, bilingual materials and reference books on history, social issues and education.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Image of the Izumizaki Family, California, circa 1900      Add Bookmark
Description: This webpage, part of the National Museum of American History's America on the Move exhibition, includes an image of the Izumizaki family in a strawberry field with an apple orchard in the background in Pajaro Valley, California and information on the work of Asian laborers in California agriculture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. National Museum of American History
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: Tell a Migration Story...With Interviews      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions student activity, students become reporters for the local newspaper and conduct interviews with someone who has migrated to their community. After they finish their interviews, students share what they have learned about their interviewees experiences, memories, and feelings about coming to live in their new community.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Day of the Dead      Add Bookmark
Description: Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a day of celebration for the people of Latin America, particularly in Mexico and Central America, and more recently for Mexican Americans. This engaging online exhibition from the Smithsonian Latino Center provides a wealth of information that will help students learn the origins of the holiday, how it was been celebrated traditionally and how it is being celebrated now. The exhibition includes links to online resources as well as printable classroom-ready resources including: a fact sheet, lesson plans for grades K-2 and 6-8, and a user's guide that includes the text of the online exhibition, more lesson ideas and instructions for making decorations for the celebration. Also included is an online interactive in which students can decorate their own virtual alter.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Arts, Social Studies
Title: Shin Tanaka: Paper Toys      Add Bookmark
Description: Shin Tanaka is a Japanese artist, graffiti writer, paper toy creator, designer who has worked with some of the biggest names in street fashion and designer toys.
Thinkfinity Partner: ArtsEdge
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Manabi and Sumi Hirasaki National Resource Center      Add Bookmark
Description: The mission of the Hirasaki National Resource Center at the Japanese American National Museum is to provide access to the Museum's diverse collections related to Japanese Americans. The National Resource Center develops a collection of secondary materials that document the Japanese American experience. Access is provided not only to this reference collection, but also to the Museum's collections (primary materials) and to the institutional archives. Because education is a life-long pursuit, the Hirasaki National Resource Center is committed to providing service to all ages and skill levels.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Japanese American Digital Archive      Add Bookmark
Description: A core component of the California Digital Library, the Online Archive of California (OAC) is a digital information resource that facilitates and provides access to materials such as manuscripts, photographs, and works of art held in libraries, museums, archives, and other institutions across California.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Japanese American Citizen's League      Add Bookmark
Description: The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) is a membership organization whose mission is to secure and maintain the human and civil rights of Americans of Japanese ancestry and others victimized by injustice. The JACL has 112 chapters nationwide and eight regional districts with over 24,000 members found in twenty-three states. In addition to its national headquarters in San Francisco, the JACL has five regional offices (Los Angeles, Fresno, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago), as well as an office in Washington D.C. and an organizational newspaper, the Pacific Citizen, distributed nationally from its office in Los Angeles. In addition to legislative efforts, the organization offers educational scholarships, and has developed a curriculum and resource guide that has been adopted by the California school system and is available for purchase.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation      Add Bookmark
Description: Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation is a non-profit organization whose primary goals are to lead the effort to preserve, restore and interpret Angel Island Immigration Station, a National Historic Landmark, as the Pacific gateway for U.S. immigration; and to promote educational activities that further the understanding of Pacific Rim immigration in American history.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Arts, Social Studies
Title: Cajun Music: Michael Doucet      Add Bookmark
Description: Louisiana-based Cajun music has roots in unaccompanied, narrative ballads brought by European settlers. Sung at weddings and funerals as well as informal parties, these ballads told stories of love and death, humor and nostalgia. Cajun songs, traditionally sung in French, fused narrative balladry, Irish and Anglo-American reels and jigs, and Black and Native American folk traditions.
Thinkfinity Partner: ArtsEdge
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



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