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ALEX Lesson Plans


Subject: Social Studies (4), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Edible Alabama and Her Agricultural Resources
Description: This is a great culminating activity after a unit study on the natural resources of the state of Alabama. Students will investigate some of Alabama's agricultural resources and create a multimedia presentation about one of them or recipe brochure featuring Alabama resources. Students will then decorate cookies that have been cut into the shape of Alabama, with various food items to represent the agricultural resources found in Alabama.


Subject: English Language Arts (4), or Social Studies (4 - 5), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: The Underground Railroad
Description: The Underground Railroad of the 1800's inspired talented writers of all ages. This lesson will integrate some of these famous writings to encourage students to develop their questioning techniques for analysis of literature while furthering their knowledge of this era in American history. As an extension of this study, students will create a class quilt to illustrate the depth of their research.


Subject: Character Education (K - 12), or Social Studies (4), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Never, Ever Give Up!
Description: This lesson plan introduces the importance of perseverance. Students will discover that success comes through perseverance. Students will also have the opportunity to research Abraham Lincoln on the Internet to document examples of perseverance.


Subject: English Language Arts (4), or Social Studies (4), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Rabbit Tales
Description: During this lesson students will be exposed to different types of writing. Students will have the opportunity to create their own story based on the characteristics of the literature they have read. Students will also learn the history of trickster tales and their significance.


Thinkfinity Lesson Plans


Subject: Social Studies
Title: Get a "Sense" of It      Add Bookmark
Description: What would life have been like in a sod house? This group of activities will allow students to use their senses to see, smell, and feel what it would have been like to live on the prairie long ago. Included in an OurStory module, this activity is 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: Send a Lincoln Letter      Add Bookmark
Description: Writing and receiving letters is fun! In 1860, Grace Bedell wrote a letter to Abraham Lincoln and took it to her local post office to mail it. A week later, a very special letter was waiting for her when she returned! Write a letter and then take it to the post office using helpful advice in this resource from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. Included in an OurStory module, entitled A Letter to Abraham Lincoln, this activity will encourage children to write letters to friends and family as well as learn more about their local post office. 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. National Museum of American History
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4



Subject: Social Studies - Geography - Social Studies - Human Relations
Title: Genealogical Atlases      Add Bookmark
Description: This Xpeditions lesson asks students to interview their parents or other relatives about what it was like where they grew up. Students use outline maps to create genealogical atlases that illustrate the places of their ancestry and the activities in which their relatives and ancestors participated when living there.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Arts, Social Studies
Title: Harriet Tubman: Secret Messages Shared through Song      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, students are introduced to the African-American spiritual and its use of a secret language to share information within the slave community.
Thinkfinity Partner: ArtsEdge
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Reading Dakota Dugout      Add Bookmark
Description: In this activity, students will read Dakota Dugout by Ann Turner and answer questions about the book. They will then look at the image of an object that would have been important to women living in a house made of sod and try to determine what the object is. This resource is included in an OurStory module entitled Life in a Sod House.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: Darkroom Detectives      Add Bookmark
Description: What can we learn about life in a sod house by looking at photographs? In this activity, 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: 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: Arts, Social Studies
Title: Harriet Tubman: Dancing on the Freedom Trail      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, students are introduced to the emotional struggles Tubman faced as she helped slaves escape and travel north along the Underground Railroad.
Thinkfinity Partner: ArtsEdge
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Using Rice Plantation Tools      Add Bookmark
Description: In this activity, students will analyze images of tools that were used on rice plantations to determine each tool's purpose. These objects can tell us a great deal about slavery and the lives of the slaves who worked on rice plantations. It is included in an OurStory module entitled Slave Life and the Underground Railroad . OurStory is a series of modules designed by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History 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: Social Studies
Title: Document Detective      Add Bookmark
Description: Historians gather information about the past by looking at primary sources. In this activity, students will practice using primary sources by to learn about slavery and the Underground Railroad by analyzing newspaper advertisements regarding runaway slaves from the Charleston Mercury. It is included in an OurStory module entitled Slave Life and the Underground Railroad . OurStory is a series of modules designed by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History 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: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: Slave Life and the Underground Railroad Homepage      Add Bookmark
Description: Students will learn about slavery, slave life and the Underground Railroad in this OurStory module. OurStory is a series of modules designed by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History 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: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: Reading Seven Miles to Freedom      Add Bookmark
Description: Seven Miles to Freedom is a book about Robert Smalls, a man who was born a slave in South Carolina, but made a daring escape to freedom on the ship CSS Planter and joined the Union in fighting to end slavery in America. Part of an OurStory module entitled Full Steam to Freedom, this activity includes strategies that will help adults and children actively read Full Steam to Freedom together. OurStory is designed to help children and adults enjoy exploring history together through the use of children's literature, everyday objects, and hands-on activities.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: Slave Life and the Underground Railroad      Add Bookmark
Description: In this "OurStory'' module entitled "Life and the Underground Railroad'' , students will learn about slavery, slave life and the Underground Railroad. OurStory is a series of modules designed by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History 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: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: Life in a Sod House: Background Information      Add Bookmark
Description: In this reference included in the "OurStory'' module from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History entitled Life in a Sod House, students will learn about life on the prairie and in sod houses. Discussed through the use of text and photographs are the Homestead Act, everyday life on the prairie and the challenges and realities of building and living in a sod house. "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: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: Slave Life and the Underground Railroad: Document Detective      Add Bookmark
Description: Historians gather information about the past by looking at primary sources. In this activity, students will practice using primary sources by to learn about slavery and the Underground Railroad by analyzing newspaper advertisements regarding runaway slaves from the Charleston Mercury. It is included in an "OurStory'' module entitled Slave Life and the Underground Railroad.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4



Subject: Arts, Social Studies
Title: Jazz Music, Dance and Poetry      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, students will be introduced to jazz dance and jazz music. They will explore basic jazz dance movements, and will create a cinquain poem inspired by jazz music.
Thinkfinity Partner: ArtsEdge
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4



Subject: Social Studies
Title: History Explorer Podcast: Holidays on Display      Add Bookmark
Description: In this episode of the History Explorer podcast series, curator Larry Bird discusses the development of holiday parades, department store window displays, and light shows and examines larger issues in American culture in the late nineteeth through mid-twentieth centuries including urbanization, suburbanization, and consumerism. The teacher guide includes discussion questions and related resources.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8



Subject: Social Studies,Geography
Title: Rebellion: John Horse and the Black Seminoles      Add Bookmark
Description: The site explores the story of the first black rebels to beat American slavery and leaders of the largest slave rebellion in U.S. history.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8



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
Title: New York Divided      Add Bookmark
Description: This website, from the New York Historical Society, is a collection of two special exhibitions focused on slavery in antebellum New York. Both sites offer students interpretation of the people, places, and documents that define New York's experience with slavery, culminating in New York's role in the Civil War.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Arts,Social Studies
Title: Make a Mini Dance      Add Bookmark
Description: Get creative and make a dance that spells out a special word or message! Part of an OurStory module entitled An American Story in Dance and Music, this activity includes step-by-step directions, discussion prompts, 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: Social Studies
Title: Go Back in Time      Add Bookmark
Description: Travel back in time to visit five of the families who lived at 16 Elm Street in Ipswich, Massachusetts over the past 200 years in this interactive game from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. Students will match primary source materials and museum artifacts to the appropriate time period in order to learn about the everyday lives of Americans from different eras of our nation's history. This activity is one of the educational resources included in the online exhibition entitled Within These Walls .
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



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: 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: Silver Teapot made for Abigail Robinson of Newport, RI      Add Bookmark
Description: Teapots were among the fashionable items that fit many colonists' taste for stylish possessions in 18th-century British North America. Among the prosperous classes, growing numbers adopted the genteel practice of drinking afternoon tea in imitation of the English gentry. Some Americans imported ceramic tea services, while others patronized local silversmiths. Silver was intrinsically expensive, and it allowed engraved decoration and personalized initials, as on this teapot...
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Spinning Wheel      Add Bookmark
Description: Spinning wheels are believed to have originated in India between 500 and 1000 A.D. By the 13th century, they were seen in Europe, and were a standard piece of equipment for those making fiber into yarn. By the 17th century they were commonly found in homes in the colonies of North America.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Slave Shackles      Add Bookmark
Description: In the 15th century, decades before they sailed into the Caribbean, Spanish merchants, captains, and adventurers had already conquered and enslaved the people of the Canary Islands in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. On the western coast of continental Africa, the Portuguese had been cultivating a slavery-based economic policy. This legacy of conquest and slavery shaped the colonization of Puerto Rico and other islands in the Caribbean. Some of the first American encounters between Europeans, Indians, and Africans took place in Puerto Rico, and its early history of genocidal violence and physical exploitation was repeated throughout the Americas.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Treasures of American History: National Challenges      Add Bookmark
Description: The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History provides a broad and complex view of the American experience. The valuable pieces of history displayed in this section of the online exhibition entitled "Treasures of American History'' document some of the struggles, conflicts, and controversies that have shaped the nation. Students will learn that by understanding the challenges of the past, they can draw lessons and inspiration for confronting new challenges in the present and future. The topics discussed in this section are: the American Revolution; slavery; westward expansion; the Civil War, women's suffrage, the Great Depression and World War II, the Civil Rights movement and AIDS. A Spanish version of the exhibition is available on the exhibition's homepage.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Arts,Language Arts,Social Studies,Geography
Title: EDSITEment lessons on Slavery, the Crisis of the Union, the Civil War and Reconstruction      Add Bookmark
Description: This is an expansive multi-disciplinary collection of EDSITEment resources on the antebellum and Civil War era of American history.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: Slave Narratives: Constructing U.S. History Through Analyzing Primary Sources      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from EDSITEment, students research narratives from the Federal Writers Project and describe the lives of former African slaves in the U.S., both before and after Emancipation. From varied stories, students sample the breadth of individual experiences, make generalizations about the effects of slavery and Reconstruction on African Americans, and evaluate primary source documents.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 3,4,5



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: Social Studies
Title: Sewing Machine Patent Model      Add Bookmark
Description: This is a patent model of a sewing machine invented by John Bachelder of Boston, Mass., who was issued Patent No. 6439 on May 8, 1849. In his patent specification he claims "As my invention or improvement in the sewing machine is the combination, with the endless cloth-holder, of the curved bar or piece of metal v, for discharging the cloth from its points after being sewed, all as described."
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



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