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ALEX Lesson Plans


Subject: Character Education (K - 12), or English Language Arts (6), or Social Studies (6), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: What Makes a Good or Bad Leader?
Description: After deciding on the criteria of a good leader, students research either a good or bad leader, create a class presentation of that person which focuses on his/her impact on history. Students then write and perform a three to four minute skit to illustrate the leader's impact on American life.


Subject: English Language Arts (6 - 8), or Information Literacy (K - 12), or Social Studies (6 - 7), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: Whose Voice Guides Your Choice?
Description: In this one-two week unit, students explore the role media has in influencing public opinion. Students analyze advertising in print, video, and online formats. An optional visit to the Museum of Television and Radio via distance learning videoconferencing helps students examine the extent to which they are influenced by propaganda.


Subject: English Language Arts (4 - 5), or Social Studies (6), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Who Will Be President?
Description: This lesson will allow students to experience the election process of an American President through a mock election. Students will learn the steps that must be followed in order to have an election. This is a great way to get students motivated to be involved in the election process.


Thinkfinity Lesson Plans


Subject: Social Studies
Title: America on the Move Classroom Activity Guide - Unit 5: 1970s - 2000 The World's People and Products on the Move - Taking a Deeper Look      Add Bookmark
Description: In this classroom activity from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, students will examine primary sources from the 1970s through 2000 to learn about the impact of global migrations of workforce. The activity provides opportunities for historical analysis, interpretation, evaluation, analyzing cause/effect relationships, understanding multiple points of view, performing original research, debating and persuasive writing.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Blog Post: Essential Questions for Teaching September 11      Add Bookmark
Description: This post helps teachers understand how to both memorialize September 11 and contextualize the history of the day through five essential questions. Targeted toward secondary students, the questions can help teachers and students compare aspects of September 11 to other events in American history and teach them throughout the year. Written by Joan Brodsky Schur, a panelist for the Smithsonian's September 11: Teaching Contemporary History forum, this post is published on the Museum's "O Say Can You See?" blog.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Blog Post: Stories of the Mexican Revolution      Add Bookmark
Description: In this post, students will learn about the interdependence and interconnectedness of Mexico and the U.S., especially during the late 19th and early 20th century and its impact on the Mexican Revolution. The Revolution spanned twenty years, involving two nations and several colorful public figures. The Revolution encouraged the development of music and culture, changed the everyday lives of people, and had political and social repercussions that continue today. Protection of economic and political interests drove the U.S. to intervene in Mexico both politically and militarily. The rural Mexican poor wanted redistribution of land, while others in Mexico called for a more even distribution of wealth. The resulting violence caused mass migration from Mexico to the U.S., creating strong communities of Mexicans and Mexican Americans. Written by L. Stephen Velasquez, Associate Curator in Division of Home and Community Life, this post is published on the Museum's "O Say Can You See?" blog.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: American Writers      Add Bookmark
Description: A permanent archive for educators, researchers, and everyone interested in the writers featured in the C-SPAN series.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 6,7,8,9,10,11



Subject: Social Studies
Title: History Wired      Add Bookmark
Description: This is an experimental program through which you can take a virtual tour of selected objects from the Museum's collections. The website links to 450 objects from the found on a customizable map that can be used to group objects in different ways. By voting for your favorite objects, you can change the map to reflect which objects have the most popular appeal.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: The Disability Rights Movement      Add Bookmark
Description: This website includes information and objects that will help students gain perspective on civil rights, public involvement and the power of protest in the United States through the lens of the disability rights movement.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: PBS American Experience: The Presidents      Add Bookmark
Description: This website, related to the award-winning broadcasts of Presidential biographies, provides a wealth of excellent material related to Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan and George H. W. bush. Students can view individual chapters from each documentary and listen to podcasts that discuss the presidency in depth. Teacher's materials related to the documentary films are also available.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: POTUS.com      Add Bookmark
Description: POTUS.com consists of detailed biographies of every president from George Washington to George W. Bush. Each president has a comprehensive individual section devoted to them specifically. In each section teachers and students can find a great deal of information about the (residents, including dates, cabinet members, general information, video and audio media resources. In addition, the site offers links to other helpful internet resources for each individual president. The site is a great starting point for students wishing to begin researching a specific president.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: The Presidency: All the President's Children      Add Bookmark
Description: How would you like to be a kid living in the White House? In this activity, students will match clues with images of children who lived in the White House in order to learn about their lives as they lived in the presidential mansion. As part of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History's online exhibition "The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden'' , this activity will help students understand more about the Presidency and life in the White House.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4



Subject: Social Studies
Title: American Presidents: Life Portraits      Add Bookmark
Description: This website was originally designed to complement C-SPAN's 20th Anniversary Television Series, American Presidents: Life Portraits, which debuted in 1999. The American Presidents website, created for the television series, contains a complete video archive of the series, additional resources of biographical facts, key events of each presidency, presidential birthplaces, libraries, and gravesites, as well as reference material. The site is a great starting point for students researching a specific president.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Presidential Manuscripts: Library of Congress      Add Bookmark
Description: The Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress is the nation's oldest and most comprehensive presidential library. Although the website is older, it provides valuable images of original primary source documents related to 23 presidents, each paired with contextual information. This is a fantastic teaching resource for teachers who want their students to learn about the presidents and events in American History through the use of primary source documents.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery      Add Bookmark
Description: The Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery tells the story of America through the individuals who have shaped U.S. culture. Their official online website features links to current, past, upcoming and online exhibitions, a collections search and educational resources including an The Great History Mystery, an interactive activity that focuses on great Americans as well anecdotal information that can be learned by examining their portraits. This important website will allow students and teachers to learn American history in a unique and interesting way.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: The White House Historical Association      Add Bookmark
Description: This website is a must-visit for students and teachers studying the history of the White House, or the presidency itself. The site contains timelines, historical photographs, historical tours, as well as links for further research. In addition, the site has entire sections devoted to students and the classroom. Information found on this site is likely not easily accessible elsewhere. It truly is a treasure-trove of information for students and teachers alike.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Project HOPE: Forty Years of American Medicine Abroad      Add Bookmark
Description: In this online exhibition, students will learn how Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere), an American medical philanthropic organization, has impacted global health care. Currently, Project HOPE's education programs in southern Africa, Latin America, Central Europe and disadvantaged areas of the United States ensure that hundreds of thousands of people have access to basic medical services.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: History and Politics Out Loud      Add Bookmark
Description: History and Politics Out Loud is a searchable archive of politically significant audio materials of politically significant audio materials for scholars, teachers, and students. Speeches from the likes of twentieth century American Presidents, Supreme Court Justices, and major twentieth century political figures can be found on this site.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



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: Social Studies
Title: Looking Back on Brown vs. Board of Education      Add Bookmark
Description: This National Public Radio Website about the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court Ruling is a great resource for both students and teachers. The website contains audio excerpts from various NPR programming on the topic of segregation in schools. Inlcuded are a rare interview with Thurgood Marshall, letters that were written to President Eisenhower about the ruling and a Tavis Smiley interview entitled School life, Before and After Brown.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Brown v. Board of Education at 50      Add Bookmark
Description: This website, sponsored by the Howard University School of Law, is the homepage of the celebration and commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court Ruling in 1954. Howard University and the Howard University School of Law played historic roles leading to the decision in Brown and afterwards in realizing its promise. This website contains information relating to the people and the historic events leading up to and following Brown.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Historical Census Browser: University of Virginia      Add Bookmark
Description: The University of Virginia Library developed and maintains this website that allows teachers and students to examine state and county census data from 1790-1960. The data and terminology presented in the Historical Census Browser are drawn directly from historical volumes of the U.S. Census of Population and Housing.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: The National Highway System      Add Bookmark
Description: The National Highway System website is run by the United States Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration. The website offers teachers and students detailed maps of the nation's highway system, which are broken down by state. The site also contains information about the history of the National Highway System and details the very basis for its existence.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Library of Congress      Add Bookmark
Description: The Library of Congress, established in 1800 serves as the research arm of Congress and is recognized as the national library of the United States. Its collections comprise the world's most comprehensive record of human creativity and knowledge. Open to those above high school age without charge or special permission, it is the world's largest library and a great resource to scholars and researchers.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Association of American Railroads      Add Bookmark
Description: The AAR Website promotes the utilization of freight rail as a viable, eco-friendly, alternative to trucks when hauling freight across the United States, and all of North America. AAR members include the major freight railroads in the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as Amtrak, and are based in Washington, DC.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Satellite Lunch Box      Add Bookmark
Description: The Soviet launch of the Sputnik satellite in late 1957 sparked interest in the United States in science education even among elementary school children.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: 1970s-2000 Global Economy Classroom Activity Guide      Add Bookmark
Description: In these classroom activities, developed for the exhibition America on the Move , students will use visual, analytical, and interpretive skills to examine primary sources including a historical map and answer questions about them to learn more about global consumption, production, and transportation and the impact of globalization in their own communities. The activities provide opportunities for historical analysis, interpretation, evaluation, analyzing cause/effect relationships, understanding multiple points of view, performing original research, debating and persuasive writing will help students develop and strengthen map-reading skills and identify issues and problems in the past and connect the past to the present.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: First Person Account: Clarence Sasser      Add Bookmark
Description: Vietnam veteran and Medal of Honor recipient, Clarence Sasser recounts his war experience. This video is part of the Price of Freedom learning resources package for use with the The Soldiers Experience lesson plan. It was produced to accompany the exhibition The Price of Freedom: Americans at War , by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Join the Student Sit-Ins Classroom Videos      Add Bookmark
Description: In this series of five short videos, students can watch a museum theater presentation. During the presentation, a fictional composite character from 1960 is conducting a training session for people interested in joining a student sit-in to protest racial segregation. The student speaks about the recent protests in Greensboro, North Carolina, and coaches members of the audience in the philosophy and tactics of non-violent direct action.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: The Presidential Timeline of the Twentieth Century      Add Bookmark
Description: This resource, designed by Learning Technology Center in the University of Texas at Austin College of Education, features an interactive timeline that tells the stories of the American presidents of the twentieth century, from Herbert Hoover to William Jefferson Clinton. Each presidents biographic information is included along with interpretation of the major issues and events of their presidencies. The site also allows students to view special exhibitions relating to twentieth century events like the Great Depression and the Vietnam War, and a gallery of personal images from the lives of each of these twelve presidents.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Teatro Campesino Poster      Add Bookmark
Description: The Teatro Campesino was founded by Luis Valdez in 1965 to energize the political message of the United Farmer Workers of America using song, music, and drama. Modern, bicultural, and socially aware, the street theater of the Teatro Campesino is a touchstone of Chicano art. At first taking their performances to the fields, Teatro Campesino actors and writers used the language and stories of working men and women to advance the civil rights of Mexican Americans and to celebrate and reengage with their history and popular traditions. Like many Chicano art forms...
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Yo-yo Maraca      Add Bookmark
Description: The yo-yo maraca is a Puerto Rican novelty that unites both a spinning top and a musical instrument of native origin called a maraca. The name "yo-yo" is a misnomer...
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: The Bracero Archive-Learning From Documents      Add Bookmark
Description: In this activity, one of three on the Bracero Archive website, students will examine two public laws and other primary resources related to the Bracero worker program and apply their knowledge to evaluate whether the program was carried out as intended.The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History is part of a consortium of museums, universities, and cultural institutions documenting and preserving the history of the bracero program, a little-known chapter of American history in which an estimated two million Mexican men came to the United States between 1942-1964 on short-term labor contracts.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: The Bracero Archive-Learning From Photos      Add Bookmark
Description: In this activity, one of three on the Bracero Archive website, students will discuss their thoughts on immigration, learn about the Bracero labor program, and use photographs to develop deeper understandings of the Bracero labor program.The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History is part of a consortium of museums, universities, and cultural institutions documenting and preserving the history of the bracero program, a little-known chapter of American history in which an estimated two million Mexican men came to the United States between 1942-1964 on short-term labor contracts.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Bracero History Archive      Add Bookmark
Description: This website provides online access to a collection of oral histories, photos, documents, and objects related to bracero history. Students can browse the archive, use social bookmarking tools to share resources, add their own notes and make a poster using items from the archive, and contribute to the archive by adding their own stories about the bracero program. The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History is part of a consortium of museums, universities, and cultural institutions documenting and preserving the history of the bracero program, a little-known chapter of American history in which an estimated two million Mexican men came to the United States between 1942-1964 on short-term labor contracts. The Bracero History Project has recorded more than 600 oral histories and has collected many objects.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Julia Child's Pyrex Measuring Cup      Add Bookmark
Description: The well-known cookbook author and television cooking show star Julia Child had a number of the most commonly used American kitchen measuring devices in her kitchen. Now in the collections of the National Museum of American History, Julia's Pyrex glass one- and two- cup measures, are marked in both English measurements (1 cup; 8 oz.) and in metric (250 ml). National Museum of 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: Smithsonian National Museum of American History      Add Bookmark
Description: The Web site for the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History features virtual exhibits, background on the museum, and an overview of the museum's collections. Also included are resources for teachers, the Smithsonian Store, and details regarding internships, workshops, and other opportunities to get involved.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Arts,Foreign Languages,Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: EDSITEment Websites      Add Bookmark
Description: This page from EDSITEment provides links to top humanities sites on the Web. All sites linked to EDSITEment have been reviewed for content, design, and likely impact in the classroom. They cover a wide range of humanities subjects, from American history to literature, world history and culture, language, art, and archaeology, and have been judged by humanities specialists to be of high intellectual quality. EDSITEment is the product of a partnership forged among the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Council of the Great City Schools, WorldCom Foundation and the National Trust for the Humanities and is a member of the MarcoPolo consortium.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Geography,Mathematics,Science,Social Studies
Title: density      Add Bookmark
Description: Density is the number of thingswhich could be people, animals, plants, or objectsin a certain area
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: C1,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Health,Social Studies
Title: AIDS Memorial Quilt      Add Bookmark
Description: This panel from the AIDS Memorial Quilt honors activist Roger Lyon, who died of AIDS in 1984. Shortly before his death, Lyon testified before Congress to appeal for funding to combat the growing epidemic.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Historic Maps in K-12 Classrooms      Add Bookmark
Description: This EDSITEment-reviewed Web site, from the Newberry Library, provides historically significant map documents for K-12 teachers and their students. Illustrating the geographical dimensions of American history, the maps are accompanied by lesson plans written for four grade levels and designed to support a variety of social studies, history and geography curricula.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Podcast: James McLurkin explores robot communities      Add Bookmark
Description: In this podcast from the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention & Innovation at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, a young MIT researcher, James McLurkin, explains how his robots work like a group of ants.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Science,Social Studies
Title: nuclear energy      Add Bookmark
Description: Encyclopedic entry. Nuclear energy is the energy in the nucleus, or core, of an atom. Nuclear energy can be used to create electricity, but it must first be released from the atom.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: C1,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: JFK Analysis      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Science Update, from Science NetLinks, you'll hear atmospheric chemist Ken Rahn describe how he and a ballistics specialist have re-analyzed the data from two major forensic studies of the John F. Kennedy assassination. The analysis showed that despite apparent chemical differences, the tiny bullet fragments recovered from the president's limousine matched the larger bullets found in his body, making the chance that there were two shooters as little as a million to one. Science Updates are audio interviews with scientists and are accompanied by a set of questions as well as links to related Science NetLinks lessons and other related resources.
Thinkfinity Partner: Science NetLinks
Grade Span: 6,7,8,9,10,11,12



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