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ALEX Lesson Plans


Subject: Character Education (K - 12), or Social Studies (7 - 12)
Title: Famous Failures
Description: The students are shown a video of "Famous Failures" which provides examples of famous people who failed many times prior to becoming successful. The students are encouraged to discuss the different people in the video and are asked to think about the famous person's contributions. Was Walt Disney's impact greater than Henry Ford's? The students then (teacher facilitated) list the ten famous people they would put on a “Top 10 list." This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.


Subject: Social Studies (7 - 12)
Title: America’s Family Reunion – A Patriotic Celebration of Veterans
Description: Students will gain an understanding of the significance and meaning of National Veterans Day, the unique founder of the organization and the history created in Birmingham, Alabama for veterans across America.  Students will recognize the contributions of ordinary men and women doing extraordinary things by practicing the character education traits of America’s veterans. Specifically lesson activities will focus on citizenship, patriotism, courage, loyalty and respect for others.  The lesson will culminate with students conducting a class or school assembly, a recognition program, or an event for their school honoring veterans in their community. 


Subject: English Language Arts (7), or Social Studies (7), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: So, You Want to be a Citizen?
Description: Students work in groups to create a slide presentation in presentation software aimed at informing immigrants of the qualifications and steps in naturalization as well as the rights, responsibilities, and duties of citizens. Lesson is an interdisciplinary unit teaching publishing software.


Subject: Social Studies (7 - 12), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: So You Think You Are a Citizen?
Description: Students will learn about the status of citizenship in the United States.  Using a graphic organizer and interactive game, students will decide what it means to be a citizen and how can citizenship be obtained.


Subject: Social Studies (K - 11)
Title: African American Honorees in Alabama History
Description: Students will create a PowerPoint slide show presentation and brochure on a famous African American icon from the Alabama Calendar. Students may select famous African Americans from Alabama such as Rosa Parks, Vonetta Flowers, Dr. Mae Jemison, Joe Louis, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, Rosa Parks, Hank Aaron, Dr. Regina Benjamin, Dr. Ethel Hall, Judge Oscar Adams, Billie Jean Young, George Washington Carver, Booker T. Washington, or Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This lesson was created to accompany the Alabama African American History Calendar Project.


Subject: Social Studies (7 - 12), or Technology Education (9 - 12)
Title: The Impact of Political Debates in the Television Age
Description: This technology-based lesson encourages active engagement in the state elections process as part of a unit to prepare for debates to be held in the Fall of 2010.  The lesson may also be adapted for use as a stand alone lesson. Student groups research television debates from 1960-2008 and collaborate on a wiki to present an overview of each debate and analyze the impact of these political debates on elections. Other lessons in this unit are Why Vote?, How Do You Vote:What Do You Need to Know to Vote in Alabama?, and Analyzing Gubernatorial Debates: The 2010 Election.


Subject: Social Studies (7 - 12), or Technology Education (9 - 12)
Title: Let's Vote! What Do You Need to Know to Vote In Alabama?
Description: Registering to vote, gathering information about the candidates, and casting a vote at the polls are vital parts of the process of selecting elected officials. Students will understand how the registration process works and how to cast their votes in Alabama, thus fulfilling their responsibilities as citizens in the electorate.


Subject: Social Studies (7 - 12)
Title: What does the President of the United States do?
Description: Students will create a wiki page that reflects the President of the United States fulfilling five of his formal or informal roles.  Students will use the Internet to visit the White House Photo Gallery and capture shapshots of the President of the United States fulfilling his roles.  Students will create a Wiki page on which they display pictures of the President fulfilling his roles and identify the role being fulfilled.


Subject: Social Studies (7 - 12), or Technology Education (9 - 12)
Title: Analyzing Gubernatorial Debates: The 2010 Election  
Description: This technology-based lesson encourages active engagement in the state electoral process. Students collaborate on a wiki designed to aid in analyzing candidates' responses in a gubernatorial debate.  Pre-debate and post-debate activties are included and may be adapted for use in either 7th Grade Civics or 12th Grade United States Government. The 2010 Gubernatorial Debates will be held on September 16th at the University of Alabama and October 19th at Auburn University.  The debates will be televised and are Co-sponsored by the Student Government Associations of The University of Alabama and Auburn University, Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program, and the League of Women Voters of Alabama, Greater Tuscaloosa, and East Alabama.


Subject: Social Studies (7 - 12)
Title: Elephant or Donkey? Examining the Republican or Democratic Party Platform
Description: Students will visit the websites for the National Republican and National Democratic Party.  Students will choose topics of interest to them and compare the positions of both parties on the topic. Students will complete a graphic organizer to take notes on the party position and then use those notes to write about which party's position they personally most closely align.


Subject: Social Studies (7 - 12), or Technology Education (9 - 12)
Title: Why Vote?
Description: Students will complete a web quest that includes reading material on the expansion of voting rights, viewing video on historical events related to suffrage, and completing a multimedia project (public service announcement). An extension poster project is included.


Subject: Social Studies (7)
Title: Fact vs. Opinion
Description: This lesson is a hands-on way for students to learn how to discern between fact and opinion. This is an important skill for citizenship in that citizens should be informed about what is happening in their communities and should take credible information with them into the voting booth. This lesson overlaps with the seventh grade English curriculum, offering students a chance to write a persuasive paragraph.


Subject: Social Studies (7), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: Congress: Requirements for Office, Members Currently Serving in the United States Congress, and Characteristics and Experiences Needed for Election to Public Office
Description: The students will research and present a computer slide-show on the requirements of office of the Senate and the House of Representatives and a special focus on the two Senators and a House member from one selected state. The students will create an election brochure in which they themselves will run for one of the above offices.


Subject: English Language Arts (7), or Social Studies (6 - 7), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: Personal Heritage Project
Description: This research project requires students to connect with the past by researching both primary and secondary sources for family history. Their findings are presented in a keepsake portfolio and in a multimedia presentation comparing the historical time period of an ancestor to their own.


Subject: Social Studies (7)
Title: Democrat or Republican
Description: During this lesson, students will begin to understand the differences between the two major political parties that exist in the United States of America. Students will have the opportunity to discuss the roles of each presidential candidate and his/her political views.


Thinkfinity Lesson Plans


Subject: Social Studies
Title: Lap Blanket      Add Bookmark
Description: The American flag is a powerful symbol of freedom and independence for many activist groups who wish to claim full rights as citizens . This commercially marketed lap blanket was altered by hand to include the universal access symbol made up of stitched stars.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



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: Social Studies
Title: Freedom Riders      Add Bookmark
Description: Join the courageous band of students and civil rights activists called Freedom Riders in 1961 as they challenged segregation in the American South. An NEH-funded website from American Experience with video clips of the participants, interactive time lines, and interactive maps. A series of lesson plans are included.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 7,8,9,10,11



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



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Blog Post: Star Spangled Women: Mary Pickersgill      Add Bookmark
Description: In this post, students will learn the story of Mary Pickersgill, the woman who created the Star-Spangled Banner. Mary Pickersgill learned the art of flagmaking from her mother, Rebecca Young, who made a living during the Revolution sewing flags, blankets, and uniforms for George Washington's Continental army. Rebecca lived with Mary during the time the Star-Spangled Banner was created, but since she was 73 years old at the time, we have no idea how much she was able to contribute. We do know that Mary's daughter Caroline, her two teenage nieces Eliza and Jane, and an indentured servant named Grace Wisher did help with the onerous task of sewing the 30 × 42 foot flag. Grace was an African-American teen who had entered into a six-year indentured apprenticeship with Mary in order to learn the art and mystery of Housework and plain sewing. Written by Megan Smith, Education Specialist in the Department of Public Programming, 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: 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: 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: Got Ramps? Architectural Barriers Game      Add Bookmark
Description: This activity will help students understand how polio affected the lives of Americans throughout the 20th century. Got Ramps? illustrates the changes in architectural barriers between 1955 and 2005, before and after the Architectural Barriers Act (1968) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990). Playing the part of a wheelchair user, students choose a postcard and make the decisions required to deliver it to the post office. They can then email the virtual postcard to someone that they know. This game is part of the online exhibition, http://americanhistory.si.edu/polio/" Whatever Happened to Polio?
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Preparing for the Oath: Symbols & Holidays      Add Bookmark
Description: Discover America's key symbols and holidays through short videos, mini-activities, and practice questions in this segment of Preparing for the Oath: U.S. History and Civics for Citizenship. The seven questions included in this segment cover topics such as national holidays, the American flag, the national anthem, and the Statue of Liberty.This site was designed with the needs of recent immigrants in mind. It is written at a low-intermediate ESL level.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Preparing for the Oath: Voting      Add Bookmark
Description: Learn more about the American voting system using short videos, mini-activities, and practice questions in this segment of Preparing for the Oath: U.S. History and Civics for Citizenship. The seven questions included in this segment cover constitutional amendments about voting, political parties, and when Americans elect their president.This site was designed with the needs of recent immigrants in mind. It is written at a low-intermediate ESL level.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Preparing for the Oath: Responsibilities      Add Bookmark
Description: Explore the civic responsibilities of Americans through short videos, mini-activities, and practice questions in this segment of Preparing for the Oath: U.S. History and Civics for Citizenship. The four questions included in this segment cover taxes, selective service, jury duty, and the Naturalization Oath.This site was designed with the needs of recent immigrants in mind. It is written at a low-intermediate ESL level.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Preparing for the Oath: Rights      Add Bookmark
Description: Learn more about the rights of Americans through short videos, mini-activities, and practice questions in this segment of Preparing for the Oath: U.S. History and Civics for Citizenship. The nine questions included in this segment cover topics such as freedoms in the Constitution, the Civil Rights Movement, and rights to participate in government.This site was designed with the needs of recent immigrants in mind. It is written at a low-intermediate ESL level.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Preparing for the Oath: Famous Citizens      Add Bookmark
Description: This segment of Preparing for the Oath: U.S. History and Civics for Citizenship teaches about famous citizens of the United States through short videos, mini-activities, and practice questions. The eight questions in this segment cover individuals including Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Preparing for the Oath: The 1900s      Add Bookmark
Description: Use short videos, mini-activities, and practice questions to explore American history from the 1900s in this segment of Preparing for the Oath: U.S. History and Civics for Citizenship. The nine questions included in this segment cover topics such as World War II, the Civil Rights Movement, and September 11, 2001.This site was designed with the needs of recent immigrants in mind. It is written at a low-intermediate ESL level.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Preparing for the Oath: The 1800s      Add Bookmark
Description: Explore the history of America in the 1800s through short videos, mini-activities, and practice questions in this segment of Preparing for the Oath: U.S. History and Civics for Citizenship. The eight questions included in this segment cover topics such as the Civil War, slavery, the Louisiana Purchase, and Susan B. Anthony.This site was designed with the needs of recent immigrants in mind. It is written at a low-intermediate ESL level.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Preparing for the Oath: Establishing Independence      Add Bookmark
Description: Learn more about America's transition from colony to country through short videos, mini-activities, and practice questions in this segment of Preparing for the Oath: U.S. History and Civics for Citizenship. The eight questions included in this segment cover topics such as the Declaration of Independence, the War of Independence, and George Washington.This site was designed with the needs of recent immigrants in mind. It is written at a low-intermediate ESL level.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Preparing for the Oath: Geography      Add Bookmark
Description: This segment of Preparing for the Oath: U.S. History and Civics for Citizenship teaches about the geography of the United States through short videos, mini-activities, and practice questions. The eight questions in this segment cover topics such as, the longest rivers in the country, the oceans that border the country, and the states that border Canada and Mexico.This site was designed with the needs of recent immigrants in mind. It is written at a low-intermediate ESL level.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Preparing for the Oath: A Growing Nation      Add Bookmark
Description: Explore the history of the peopling of America through short videos, mini-activities, and practice questions in this segment of Preparing for the Oath: U.S. History and Civics for Citizenship. The eight questions included in this segment cover topics such as American Indians, British colonists, slavery, westward expansion, and immigration.This site was designed with the needs of recent immigrants in mind. It is written at a low-intermediate ESL level.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Preparing for the Oath: Presidency      Add Bookmark
Description: Use short videos, mini-activities, and practice questions to explore the executive branch in this segment of Preparing for the Oath: U.S. History and Civics for Citizenship. The ten questions included in this segment cover topics such as the powers of the presidency, the role of the Vice President, and positions within the President's Cabinet.This site was designed with the needs of recent immigrants in mind. It is written at a low-intermediate ESL level.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Preparing for the Oath: Congress      Add Bookmark
Description: Discover Congress through short videos, mini-activities, and practice questions in this segment of Preparing for the Oath: U.S. History and Civics for Citizenship. The eleven questions included in this segment cover topics such as the bicameral nature of Congress, the number of representatives in each house of Congress, and the process of getting elected to either house of Congress.This site was designed with the needs of recent immigrants in mind. It is written at a low-intermediate ESL level.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Preparing for the Oath: Courts      Add Bookmark
Description: Learn more about the judicial branch of the government through short videos, mini-activities, and practice questions in this segment of Preparing for the Oath: U.S. History and Civics for Citizenship. The four questions included in this segment cover topics such as the purpose of the Supreme Court and the number of justices that serve on it.This site was designed with the needs of recent immigrants in mind. It is written at a low-intermediate ESL level.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Preparing for the Oath: Writing the Constitution      Add Bookmark
Description: Explore Constitutional history through short videos, mini-activities, and practice questions in this segment of Preparing for the Oath: U.S. History and Civics for Citizenship. The six questions included in this segment cover topics such as the Constitutional Convention, the Bill of Rights, and amendments to the Constitution.This site was designed with the needs of recent immigrants in mind. It is written at a low-intermediate ESL level.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Preparing for the Oath: Government Basics      Add Bookmark
Description: Use short videos, mini-activities, and practice questions to explore the basic elements of the United States government in this segment of Preparing for the Oath: U.S. History and Civics for Citizenship. The ten questions included in this segment cover topics such as federalism, the Constitution, and checks and balances.This site was designed with the needs of recent immigrants in mind. It is written at a low-intermediate ESL level.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Japanese Americans and the U.S. Constitution: Justice      Add Bookmark
Description: Students will learn about the efforts of Japanese Americans to receive justice after their internment during World War II. This section of http://americanhistory.si.edu/perfectunion/experience/" A More Perfect Union , an online exhibition, uses artifacts from the Museum's collections, primary source documents, photographs and oral histories to discuss the court cases brought against the government, the formal apologies and efforts of redress by the government and the successes of members of the Japanese American community in post-war United States . Oral history transcripts are available in each subsection of this webpage.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Guidelines for Discussion about 9/11      Add Bookmark
Description: This guide from the National September 11 Memorial and Museum offers suggestions for teachers on how to prepare for and structure conversations about 9/11 with students of all ages.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: iCivics      Add Bookmark
Description: This collection of seven interactive student games encourages close examination of civics and American government. The activities present modern and historical situations which students must navigate using their knowledge of the branches of government, the Constitution, and the court system. iCivics games run from 15 to 60 minutes and appeal to students from grades six through twelve.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: First Person Account: Fred Castleberry      Add Bookmark
Description: Fred Castleberry, an US infantryman in Vietnam, tells how a Huey saved his life after he was wounded in battle.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 .
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: Ben's Guide to US Government for Kids      Add Bookmark
Description: This website, from the U.S. Government Printing Office, offers students explanations of America's founding documents, descriptions of the functions of each branch of American government, an outline of the American lawmaking process, and interactive games relating to American government and politics. Educators are given the choice to select from four different grade ranges, ensuring that students receive readings and activities that are targeted to their abilities.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Four Freedoms for the Fourth      Add Bookmark
Description: This page from EDSITEment features resources relating to freedom, and presents information and activities about Franklin Delano Roosevelt's concept of The Four Freedoms. Learn more about political speeches, freedom, and the U.S. government by visiting the EDSITEment lesson plans and EDSITEment-reviewed Web sites referenced on this page.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Geography,Science,Social Studies
Title: Responsibility and Leadership      Add Bookmark
Description: Video.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: C1,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



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