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ALEX Lesson Plans


Subject: English Language Arts (3), or Social Studies (2 - 3), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Exploring the world with P.W. Cracker!
Description: This lesson can be completed in a whole group or small group setting. After reading the book “P.W. Cracker Sees the World,” the students will complete an inquiry project that connects social studies/geography to what they read in their story.


Subject: English Language Arts (2), or Social Studies (1 - 3), or Technology Education (K - 2)
Title: Jet, Set, Go! Travel Google Earth in Ben's Dream
Description: This lesson uses the picture book by Chris Van Allsburg Ben’s Dream with Google Earth to highlight ten major landmarks of the world. After reading and discussing Ben’s Dream, students "travel" to each location using the free software Google Earth. Students will then be put into small groups by the teacher to research one specific landmark using the tools available on Google Earth (i.e., snapshots, Wikipedia links, etc.). Using their research skills, students locate these famous landmarks, conduct further research on them, and share that information with the class.


Subject: Science (6), or Social Studies (3 - 6)
Title: Where am I?
Description: This lesson teaches one of the geography themes called location. Students will learn about absolute location and relative location as they search the globe. This lesson plan is made possible through the ALEX and the U.S. National Park Service Partnership.


Subject: Social Studies (3), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Amazing Alabama
Description: Follow along with our roving reporters as they travel Alabama from the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains to the shores of the Gulf Coast.


Subject: Social Studies (3 - 5), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Where Am I?
Description: During this lesson students explore the 50 states through the Internet. Students discover important facts and information by navigating the World Wide Web.


Subject: Social Studies (3 - 5), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: State Jeopardy - How Much Do You Know About My State?
Description: This lesson is a distance learning collaborative project involving another school. Each school will do research on the other school's state and be able to answer questions about that state posed by the other school. Students learn not only about another state, but about their own in formulating questions to stump their opponents.


Subject: Social Studies (3 - 4), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: A Look at Our Natural Environment
Description: During this lesson students will have the opportunity to research, analyze, and collect data on how the natural environment influenced the Native Americans long ago, and how it still influences us today. Using information gathered from the Internet, each student group will create a multimedia presentation and share it with the class.


Subject: Science (3 - 4), or Social Studies (3), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Antarctic Adventures!
Description: This month-long ongoing lesson will give the students opportunities to learn more about Antarctica. They will investigate and research specific information and use it to create a notebook and an information table.


Subject: Science (3), or Social Studies (3), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: The Earth's Changing Surface
Description: During this unit, students will identify the various landforms found on the earth's surface. Also, students will describe how these landforms are created and changed by the natural forces within the earth and on its surface, as well as the unnatural impact of humans. Finally, students will create a slide presentation to display this information.


Subject: Social Studies (3), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Forces That Change the Land
Description: Students will use websites and other resources to find information about the following landforms: mountains, canyons, and valleys.


Thinkfinity Lesson Plans


Subject: Science - Earth science - Science - Space Sciences - Social Studies - Geography
Title: Martian Real Estate: A Good Investment?      Add Bookmark
Description: This lesson, from Xpeditions, has students compare the landscapes of Mars and Earth and explore why the two planets are so different. They conclude by writing letters convincing fictitious family friends that it is probably not a good idea to invest in Martian real estate.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Social Studies - Geography - Social Studies - State History
Title: Make State Maps With MapMachine      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions lesson, students compare and contrast their state with another one using observations they make from National Geographic's MapMachine. They look at their own state's maps as the teacher creates them for the class, and they then make their own maps of another state of their choice. They list their observations of the two states maps and then write paragraphs comparing and contrasting what they have seen.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Social Studies - Geography
Title: What Is Geography?      Add Bookmark
Description: This Xpeditions lesson introduces students to the five themes of geography. Students work in groups to analyze a Web site to locate information about a particular country or region, then create presentations showing how the geographic concepts described in the themes can be used to help solve environmental problems.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Social Studies
Title: The Water Nearby      Add Bookmark
Description: Do you live near the water? There is probably a body of water closer than you think! In this activity, students will use Google Maps to first find their school, and then locate and learn about the closest body of water to their school. Included in an OurStory module from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History entitled Life on the Water, this activity is intended to help children and adults enjoy exploring history together through the use of children's literature, everyday objects, and hands-on activities. National Museum of American History
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4



Subject: Cross-Disciplinary - Informal Education , Cross-Disciplinary - Technology , Science - Nanotechnology , Social Studies - Technology and Civilization , Informal Education - Academic Enrichment , Informal Education - Technology Training
Title: Can a Strait Be Crooked?      Add Bookmark
Description: In 1520, Ferdinand Magellan reached the Pacific Ocean. He didn't get there by sailing in a strait line, though!
Thinkfinity Partner: Wonderopolis
Grade Span: K,PreK,1,2,3,4,5



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Digital History      Add Bookmark
Description: This website is a comprehensive set of web based resources and activities suitable for students at every grade level. Produced through a collaborative partnership including the National Park Service, the University of Houston, The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and the Chicago Historical Society, t he site features a digital textbook with hypertext links, virtual exhibits featuring letters, artwork and artifacts, an interactive timeline, a collection of e-lectures, inquiry based learning units, and an extensive collection of online resources like maps, charts, and primary sources.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies - Geography
Title: Toot and Puddle: Exploring New Places      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions student activity, students plan a trip in which they explore a new place. They first figure out where they want to go, how to get there and what to pack. They then decide what they d like to do once they arrive.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Cross-Disciplinary,Geography,Social Studies
Title: Real-World Geography: Dr. Malcolm Rohrbough      Add Bookmark
Description: Profile of historian Malcolm J
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: C1,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Science - General Science - Social Studies - Economics - Social Studies - Geography
Title: From Boomtown to Ghost Town      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions lesson, students discuss how a specific economic activity in a region can facilitate the creation of towns, which often turn into ghost towns if the economic activity ends. They create posters or booklets showing the '' '' life cycle'' '' of a mining town, from before its foundation to its status as ghost town.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Arts - Photography - Science - Biological and Life Sciences - Science - Ecology - Science - Oceanography - Social Studies - Geography
Title: Using Photography to Help Save the Oceans      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from Xpeditions, students learn about the importance of ocean conservation. They think about how photography can help humans understand the impact they are having on the oceans by looking at the photography of David Doubilet. They look at animals that are endangered because of human behavior and choose one to study in depth. Finally, students draw the animal they chose and describe why it is in peril and how it can be protected.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Social Studies - Geography
Title: Tell a Migration Story...with Maps      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions student activity, students share information about migration in their communities by planning and creating migration maps. After learning about mental maps and mapmaking in general, they create their own maps to illustrate how migration has helped to shape their local areas.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies - Geography - Social Studies - World History
Title: Expedition to the Poles      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from Xpeditions, students pretend they've just returned from a year in the Arctic or Antarctic. They look at Web sites about these regions and expeditions to them and create posters illustrating their experiences. They conclude by writing paragraphs explaining what it would be like to visit the polar region that they did not focus on in this lesson.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Science - Earth science - Social Studies - Geography
Title: Uplink Outpost: To the Future Class of...      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions lesson, students use the interactive feature in Xpedition Hall called Uplink Outpost to discover ways to interpret geography in their community. Students create a plan for the future of their community based on geographic factors, and write a class email to the next generation of students.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Social Studies
Title: On the Road with Marco Polo: Crossing the Deserts of China      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, one of a multi-part unit from EDSITEment, students use Internet resources to learn about the Taklimakan Desert. They determine what was (and is) best way to travel from one end of the desert to the other and explore how some of the local inhabitants make a living.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Science - Earth science - Science - Oceanography - Social Studies - Geography
Title: Wave Heights      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from Xpeditions, students learn about the varying heights of ocean waves and what causes the variation. They begin by learning the parts of a wave, and then discuss the meaning of wave height and wavelength in terms of various points of reference. A demonstration sparks discussion about how geography affects wave heights, and allows students to experiment with various forces to create different sized waves. Students use the National Geographic Wave Simulator to experiment with creating different types of waves, and draw waves based on the heights and lengths of familiar structures around the school.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Social Studies - Geography
Title: Locator Booth: Mapping South America      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from Xpeditions, students visit the Locator Booth exhibit in National Geographic's Xpedition Hall and consider conditions to find places positions. Students see how human and physical factors define eight South American hot spots. Students learn new geographic terms and use context clues in their reading to decide which map has the information they need to complete an interactive activity.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Geography,Social Studies
Title: Major Languages of the Americas      Add Bookmark
Description: Activity. Students identify major languages spoken in the Americas, map them, and discuss the relationship between the distribution of languages and the colonial history of the countries.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Science,Social Studies
Title: Kalahari: Where the Lion is King      Add Bookmark
Description: This student interactive, from an Xpeditions lesson, prompts students to answer questions as they read an article about the Kalahari Xeric Savanna. In the related lesson, students study the biota-or flora and fauna-of the Kalahari Desert, and the importance of the lion s role as predator within this ecosystem.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Cross-Disciplinary - History , Cross-Disciplinary - Informal Education , Social Studies - Civics , Social Studies - Comparative Political Systems , Social Studies - State History , Social Studies - United States Constitution , Social Studies - United States Government , Social Studies - United States History , Social Studies - World History , Informal Education - Academic Enrichment
Title: Where Is the Tallest Waterfall?      Add Bookmark
Description: The closest many of us come to a waterfall is our daily shower. The showerhead can't hold a candle to Mother Nature's beauty, though. Let's learn about waterfalls!
Thinkfinity Partner: Wonderopolis
Grade Span: K,PreK,1,2,3,4,5



Subject: Geography,Social Studies
Title: province      Add Bookmark
Description: Encyclopedic entry. A province is an area of land that is part of a country, similar to a state or a county. It can also be an area of land under political control by an outside country, similar to a colony.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: C1,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Family Trip Plan      Add Bookmark
Description: In this student interactive, from an Xpeditions lesson, students use a print press tool to create a brochure or booklet highlighting a three-week U.S. travel itinerary.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Social Studies - Geography
Title: Design Your Own Suburb      Add Bookmark
Description: This lesson, from Xpeditions, asks students to think about their own perceptions of cities and suburbs and to consider the features that exist in a typical urban and suburban area. They also learn about sprawl and some of the problems associated with rapid suburban growth. They conclude by designing their own suburbs.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Mathematics - Applied Mathematics - Social Studies - Geography
Title: Geography of Pizza      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from Xpeditions, students analyze Earth's surface according to the spatial elements of points, lines, and areas, and use a simple map to identify features in terms of spatial elements. This lesson uses a pizza restaurant to introduce these components to students, e.g., the location of a restaurant (point), roads and sidewalks (lines), and the city blocks or the region served by a restaurant (area).
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Geography,Social Studies
Title: Geographic Groceries      Add Bookmark
Description: Activity. Students explore the regions of a grocery store to see which foods are grouped together and why.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Arts - Photography - Social Studies - Geography - Social Studies - Human Behavior
Title: Jimmy Chin's Adventure in Extreme Photography      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions lesson, students explore how culture and experience influence people's perceptions of places and regions. They explore the photography of National Geographic Emerging Explorer Jimmy Chin and discuss how adventure travel differs from regular tourism.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Science - Earth science - Social Studies - Geography
Title: Be a Geography Detective      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions lesson, students become geography detectives, learning about geography and the relationship human beings have with the land. Students apply the six essential elements of geography as they make observations and draw conclusions about historical landscapes. They demonstrate their understanding by writing journal entries, sketching landscapes, and making mental maps.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Science - Biology - Science - Ecology - Science - Oceanography - Social Studies - Geography
Title: What's Happening to the Emperor Penguins?      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from Xpeditions, students learn about emperor penguins habitat and behaviors through Web sites such as National Geographic's Creature Feature. Students illustrate a map to show what they have learned, view pictures of icebergs that are affecting penguin colonies, and consider what impacts these icebergs might have on the penguins. Finally, students write paragraphs describing the maps they have illustrated.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Science - Earth science - Science - Ecology - Science - Meteorology - Social Studies - Geography
Title: Antarctica: A Cold Desert Ecosystem      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from Xpeditions, students construct a rough map of Antarctic ecosystems and explore relationships among the creatures that populate them. This lesson can be adapted to focus on other regions, including the one in which you live.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Science,Social Studies
Title: Folktales and Ecology: Animals and Humans in Cooperation and Conflict      Add Bookmark
Description: In this unit of three lessons, from EDSITEment, students study relationships between humans and animals in folktales in order to highlight issues concerning ecology and the environment. They explore the ways in which animals and humans help one another and consider the efforts of humans to protect endangered species.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Social Studies - Anthropology - Social Studies - Geography
Title: Nomads: Where Boundaries Move      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions lesson, students explore nomadic pastoralism. Focusing on Central Asia, students investigate the way humans have adapted to regions that do not sustain communities through agriculture and the influence this has both on how they live and on how they view the boundaries of their homes.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: Where I Come From      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from EDSITEment, students take research into their heritage a step beyond the construction of a family tree, traveling through cyberspace to find out what's happening in their ancestral homelands today and explore their sense of connection to these places in their past.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Social Studies
Title: What They Left Behind: Early Multi-National Influences in the United States      Add Bookmark
Description: The four lessons in this unit, from EDSITEment, are designed to help students make connections between European voyages of discovery, colonial spheres of influence, and various aspects of American culture. They map 18th-century Europe's influence on what is now the U.S., list remnants of European influence that still remain today, and connect marks of European influence with specific explorers.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Traces: Historic Archaeology      Add Bookmark
Description: In this unit of five lessons, from EDSITEment, students recover and analyze artifacts from sites in use from the settlement period to the second half of the 19th century. They look for similarities and differences among the artifacts and the lives they reveal. In conclusion, students look at today's eventual artifacts of the future and consider how we may be viewed.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Science, Social Studies
Title: Global Breakfast      Add Bookmark
Description: The purpose of this Science NetLinks lesson is to look for evidence of global interdependence in the foods that we eat. Students recognize the fact that many of the foods that they eat, and the ingredients that go into making them, are produced in other countries. They speculate about why certain foods are produced in different regions of the world, and what might happen if the production and/or distribution of these goods was to stop.
Thinkfinity Partner: Science NetLinks
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Social Studies
Title: America's Story      Add Bookmark
Description: This website, from the Library of Congress, was designed especially with young people in mind, but there are great stories and information for people of all ages. Through the use of short essays, biographies, interactive games and activities, students can explore every era of American history and learn interesting facts about all 50 states. This is a wonderful resource for any teacher of American history and geography.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Science,Social Studies
Title: Desert Islands      Add Bookmark
Description: Article. The Mandrean Archipelago is a series of unique mountaintop habitats.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: C1,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Western Museums Association      Add Bookmark
Description: The Western Museums Association challenges the diverse museum community of the West, empowering individuals to cultivate leadership and enable institutions to remain relevant in a dynamic world. We provide opportunities for learning and personal interaction to enhance the creative skills and enrich the lives of individuals who do museum work.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Association of Midwest Museums      Add Bookmark
Description: The Association of Midwest Museums was founded in 1927. It is a non-profit membership organization that provides resources to museums and cultural institutions and services to museum professionals in an eight-state region in the Midwest, including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Through its programs and activities, AMM encourages professional standards for all areas of museum administration and provides cutting-edge information and resources to museums and cultural institutions in the Midwest and the greater museum community.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Southeastern Museums Conference      Add Bookmark
Description: Southeastern Museums Conference (SEMC) members include museum staff, corporate partners and other individuals, who benefit from the networking opportunities provided through this website, Members represent museum interests throughout the Southeastern United States.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Cross-Disciplinary - Informal Education , Cross-Disciplinary - Technology , Physical Education - Outdoor Education , Science - Chemistry , Science - Earth science , Science - General Science , Science - Geology , Science - Natural History , Science - Oceanography , Science - Paleontology , Science - Physical Sciences , Social Studies - World History , Informal Education - Zoo/Aquarium/Nature Center Education
Title: Where Do Diamonds Come From?      Add Bookmark
Description: If you were born in April, your birthstone is the diamond, which symbolizes innocence. Join us for a trek around the globe in search of this most precious of minerals that can cut glass and melt hearts.
Thinkfinity Partner: Wonderopolis
Grade Span: K,PreK,1,2,3,4,5



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums      Add Bookmark
Description: The Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums is a non-profit membership organization, founded in 1945. The organization represents museums professionals, organizations, institutions and museum service providers. The website is a forum to enhance the image of museums and educate individuals on an array of field specific study and programs. The association chiefly represents those museum interests in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Science - Earth science - Social Studies - Geography
Title: World Viewer      Add Bookmark
Description: This Xpedition Hall interactive allows visitors to view six different kinds of information in spatial terms, distributed on a world map. Click on the right circle in Room I to view this interactive.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: New England Museum Association      Add Bookmark
Description: The New England Museum Association's goal is to strengthen member museums in the region. NEMA fosters communication and ethical conduct; provides professional development; promotes excellence in museum operations; and encourages support for the museum community.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Science - Earth science - Social Studies - Geography
Title: Comparing the Continents      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions lesson, students examine a map and globe to compare the physical features of Earth's continents. They play the GeoSpy continents game and manipulate an online map to compare the continents climates. Students conclude by writing paragraphs comparing and contrasting two continents.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: science, social studies
Title: Americas MapMaker Kit      Add Bookmark
Description: MapMaker Kit. Download, print, and assemble maps of North and South America in a variety of sizes.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Science,Social Studies,Geography
Title: National Geographic Education      Add Bookmark
Description: Cultural, educational, and informational resource for teaching geography, as well as world history.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies - Geography
Title: How Crowded Are Our States?      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from Xpeditions, students combine information from statistics and maps to find out about world and national population characteristics. They determine which countries and states appear to be particularly crowded and which states are sparsely populated. They conclude by discussing what it might be like to live in a very crowded or a very sparsely populated state.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Science - Biological and Life Sciences - Science - Oceanography - Social Studies - Geography
Title: The Water Column: Where Do Ocean Animals Belong?      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions lesson, students learn about three broad ocean habitats--the intertidal zone, the open ocean, and the abyss--and find out about some specific adaptations animals have made in each of these regions. They conduct Internet research and list some of the things they notice about animal adaptations in the ocean. Students conclude by designing games to help other students match species and their adaptations to appropriate parts of the ocean.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 3,4,5



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