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ALEX Lesson Plans


Subject: Social Studies (5)
Title: Labor Systems in Colonial America
Description: In this unit, the students will learn about the economic life and labor systems during colonial times in North America. The students will learn about the inequalities individuals faced during that time period, and the inequalities that we face today. The big idea is that the students will understand that discrimination is when people are treated differently based on some characteristic.


Subject: Social Studies (5)
Title: "Tools of the Trade"
Description: Students will research tools that were used in Colonial tradeshops to determine how the tools were used during the 18th century. During the lesson, the students will have the opportunity to work together with their peers to conduct their research and to share their opinion with their classmates.


Subject: English Language Arts (5), or Social Studies (5)
Title: Using Primary Sources to Uncover the True Thanksgiving Story
Description: This is an interdisciplinary inquiry-based lesson that focuses on critical thinking.  Students are introduced to the true story of the first Thanksgiving with the reading of a NCSS Notable Trade Book Thanksgiving:  The True Story.  Working in cooperative learning groups, students use primary sources to evaluate the accuracy of the Thanksgiving story currently told in many history textbooks.  This lesson teaches students the importance of using primary sources to construct accurate understandings of historical events.  Extensions in this lesson also integrate science and technology.


Subject: Social Studies (5), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Life in Colonial America
Description: This lesson presents an explanation about who the early colonists were and why they came to America. Students will explore their lives and the economy by navigating the Internet. Students will conclude the lesson by completing a WebQuest about colonial life.


Thinkfinity Lesson Plans


Subject: Social Studies
Title: Explore PA History      Add Bookmark
Description: Demonstrates the rich historical importance of Pennsylvania via maps, timelines, essays, primary documents, and lesson plans.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies,Science
Title: Exploring the Sky Homepage      Add Bookmark
Description: People around the world have studied the stars and shared stories through constellations and astrology. By using this OurStory module from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, children and adults can enjoy exploring history together through children's literature, everyday objects, and hands-on activities. Focused around "Maria's Comet'' , a work of children's literature about a young girl who longs to study the stars, 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



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies,Science
Title: See the Stars      Add Bookmark
Description: Find out about the sky through a field trip! In this activity, children will determine the best way to observe the night sky (through a visit to a planetarium, using a telescope, or a trip outside in the evening) and discuss what they see. The activity guide includes printable tip sheets tailored to each type of experience. Included in an OurStory module from Smithsonian's National Museum of American History entitled "Exploring the Sky'' , this activity 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: Social Studies
Title: Mount Vernon      Add Bookmark
Description: This is a link to the official website of George Washington's famous Virginia home. The site presents information about life at Mount Vernon, as well as detailed information about Washington himself. For teachers and students wishing to learn about George Washington, this website is a good place to start. Students can take an online tour of the Mount Vernon plantation, and there are ready-made lesson plans for teachers to use with their classes. Information about slave life at Mount Vernon is also readily available.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Worlds in Motion: American Indians on the Colonial Frontier      Add Bookmark
Description: The Worlds in Motion Web site, created by the http://heinzhistorycenter.org/" Senator John Heinz History Center , a Smithsonian Affiliate in Pittsburgh, is designed for use by educators teaching about American Indians on the Colonial Frontier and the French and Indian War. It contains extensive and comprehensive lesson plans for students of all grade levels. The lessons expand perceptions of Eastern American Indians and their role in colonial-era history. Each lesson includes grade level recommendations, a lesson abstract, an activity with process guidelines and tips, and evaluation tools. The lessons are based upon student use of primary artifacts and documents, literature, and the visual and performing arts.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



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: Religion,Social Studies,Geography
Title: Prince Among Slaves: The Cultural Legacy of Enslaved Africans      Add Bookmark
Description: Website for the award-winning NEH-supported documentary film, Prince Among Slaves: The Cultural Legacy of Enslaved Africans. With the goal of deepening public understanding about the impact and legacy of American cultural and religious history in the antebellum era, and its influences on our pluralistic society today, the website features rich content expanding on three theme areas: identity, Muslims in early America, and the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Lessons included.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: C1,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Portrait Medal of James Smithson      Add Bookmark
Description: James Smithson was born in 1765, the illegitimate son of Sir Hugh Smithson, later known as Sir Hugh Percy, Baronet, 1st Duke of Northumberland, K.G., and Elizabeth Hungerford Keate. Elizabeth Keate had been married to James Macie, and so Smithson first bore the name of James Lewis Macie. His mother later married Mark Dickinson, by whom she had another son. When she died in 1800, he and his half-brother inherited a sizable estate. He changed his name at this time from Macie to Smithson...
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Within These Walls Homepage      Add Bookmark
Description: Within These Walls... tells the stories of five families who lived in this house over 200 years and made history in their kitchens and parlors, through everyday choices and personal acts of courage and sacrifice. In this online exhibition from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, students will learn how the Smithsonian acquired the house at 16 Elm Street, Ipswich, Massachusetts and saved more than a dozen family stories and 200 years of American social history. They will also learn some of the methods historians and curators used to learn about this house's past, the ways that it changed over time, and the people who lived in it.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Science - Biological and Life Sciences - Social Studies - Current Events/Issues - Social Studies - Geography
Title: People and Endangered Species      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from Xpeditions, students examine some endangered species and the ways that human activities contribute to species endangerment. Students are asked to devise their own species protection plans.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 3,4,5



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
Title: Old Sturbridge Village      Add Bookmark
Description: This website allows students to take a tour of Sturbridge village, a living history museum that replicates rural live in the nineteenth century. Students who use this site will gain an understanding of early rural American life by navigating an illustrated map, searching an online artifact collection featuring over 60,000, and participating in online educational activities. The site also includes professionally developed lesson plans for teachers, over 500 primary source documents, a graphics database, and a collection of recipes from the past. The Kids Zone includes activities, puzzles and games for younger students.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Massachusetts, 20 Shillings, 1690      Add Bookmark
Description: Called upon by the British government to help fight the French in Canada in 1689, Massachusetts authorities were hard-put to comply, because official money was unavailable. The Hull/Sanderson mint, which had created Pine Tree Shillings and other coins, had been closed on Crown orders years before, and all coinage was now in extremely short supply. Then someone had an idea: Why not issue paper certificates to pay for the supplies and troops that Massachusetts was expected to contribute?...
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Massachusetts, Pine Tree Shilling, "1652" (struck 1667-1674)      Add Bookmark
Description: As early as 1650, the colony of Massachusetts Bay was a commercial success. But an inadequate supply of money put its future development in jeopardy. England was not inclined to send gold and silver coins to the colonies, for they were in short supply in the mother country. Taking matters into their own hands, Boston authorities allowed two settlers, John Hull and Robert Sanderson, to set up a mint in the capital in 1652. The two were soon striking silver coinage-shillings, sixpences, and threepences. Nearly all of the new coins bore the same date: 1652. This was the origin of America's most famous colonial coin, the pine tree shilling...
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: American Colonial Life in the Late 1700s: Distant Cousins      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from EDSITEment, students explore daily life and its influences in the late 1700s for two families in different colonies: Delaware and Massachusetts. Students use maps to consider the historical and geographical factors in the development of different colonies, research life in two such colonies by investigating artifacts, and write letters to each other from the perspectives of children in the Ipswich, Massachusetts colony and the Mill Creek, Delaware colony.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
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: 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: Living in the Atlantic World 1450-1800      Add Bookmark
Description: The web of maritime connections between Western Europe, western and central Africa, and the Americas that made up the Atlantic world is the focus of this section of On the Water: Stories from Maritime America, an online exhibition from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. Students will learn how Atlantic-based trade shaped modern world history and life in America. Topics covered are the tobacco and sugar trades, the Middle Passage and the transatlantic slave trade, and the piracy that plagued the Caribbean Sea and North American coast during this period. National Museum of American History
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 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: Jamestown Changes      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson from EDSITEment, students study census data showing the names and occupations of early settlers of the English settlement at Jamestown, Virginia, to discern how life changed in the Jamestown settlement in the first few years after it was founded. The goals of this lesson plan are to gain experience gathering information from primary sources, to examine changes over time in conditions at Jamestown as revealed in primary documents from early years in the colony, and to organize a statement of findings.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Cross-Disciplinary - History , Cross-Disciplinary - Informal Education , Social Studies - Anthropology , Social Studies - Civics , Social Studies - Current Events/Issues , Social Studies - Human Behavior , Social Studies - Human Relations , Social Studies - Social Work , Social Studies - State History , Social Studies - United States History , Social Studies - World History , 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: What Is an Almanac?      Add Bookmark
Description: If you've ever seen a copy of The Old Farmer's Almanac, you may have wondered what the little hole in the corner is for. Today's wonder gives you the "hole" story.
Thinkfinity Partner: Wonderopolis
Grade Span: K,PreK,1,2,3,4,5



Subject: Social Studies - Geography - Social Studies - World History
Title: Pirate Map      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions lesson, students learn about the geographical areas that pirates frequented and the relationship between piracy and the slave trade. Students visit Web sites to find out more about pirates and then draw their own pirate map.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture: New York Library      Add Bookmark
Description: The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is a national research library devoted to collecting, preserving and providing access to resources documenting the history and experiences of peoples of African descent throughout the world. Their website features online access to digitized images, texts, manuscripts, and archival finding aids. This site is a great for students researching any topics having to do with African-American history.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Massachusetts Pine Tree Shilling, 1652      Add Bookmark
Description: Boston authorities allowed two settlers, John Hull and Robert Sanderson, to set up a mint in the capital in 1652. The two were soon striking silver coinage-shillings, sixpences, and threepences. Nearly all of the new coins bore the same date: 1652...
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



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: 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: 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: Social Studies - Geography
Title: Spices in Your Favorite Foods      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions lesson, students discover the importance of spices in history and focus on the significance of spices in the foods they eat. They research spices in their favorite foods and conclude by planning meals that use these spices.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 3,4,5



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