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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.


Thinkfinity Lesson Plans


Subject: Social Studies
Title: National Archives and Records Administration      Add Bookmark
Description: NARA makes available to the public the historically valuable records of the three branches of federal government: executive (including the President), legislative, and judicial. National Archives holdings include textual; audiovisual; cartographic and architectural; and electronic records.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden Resources      Add Bookmark
Description: A list of the presidents, a time line of presidential candidates, a summary of the military service of presidents as well as a bibliography and web sites related to the presidency are the resources included in the online exhibition entitled The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



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: 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



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Eli Whitney's Cotton Gin Model      Add Bookmark
Description: In 1794, Eli Whitney patented a new kind of cotton gin. His invention, using rotating brushes and teeth to remove the seeds from cotton, was quickly pirated by others. Southern plantation owners depended on slaves for labor-intensive crops such as rice, sugar, tobacco, and especially cotton. As the market demand for cotton increased in the early 1800s, the Southern cotton industry expanded dramatically, as did the system of slave labor it relied on.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Transportation Technology Videos      Add Bookmark
Description: Three short videos provide an overview of transportation technology in three eras: 1800-1900, 1900-1950, and 1950-2000. These videos are included in the online exhibition entitled America on the Move , which focuses on transportation in US history.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Marine Patent Models      Add Bookmark
Description: Students will learn about the history of maritime invention. This reference page is included in the online exhibition entitled America on the Move , which focuses on transportation in US history.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Spur      Add Bookmark
Description: This spur, worn over a riding boot, was made in Mexico in the mid-1800s. Rubbed against the animal's side, spurs are one of the instruments that riders use to direct horses. The spikes on this spur are set on a small wheel called a rowel, making this a rowel spur. Horses and good riding equipment, such as spurs, saddles, stirrups, and leather coverings, played a fundamental role in the European conquest, exploration, and settlement of wide areas of North America. Much of the technique and craftsmanship of riding culture that was found in the American West among both Native Americans and later U.S. settlers was introduced by the Spanish in Mexico within the first century of colonization (1500s). During this period, huge herds of cattle and sheep (both newly introduced species, like horses) flooded the dry grasslands of northern Mexico and were tended by men who would later be called vaqueros —cowboys. The ranching culture that they developed, as well as the ecological destruction that grazing produced, stretched from Texas to California. This economy of raising livestock on the open range was embraced by settlers coming overland from the American East along routes like the Santa Fe, Old Spanish, and Gila trails. To this day, ranching remains a vital economic and cultural force in both the American West and northern Mexico.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: The Battle Over Reconstruction      Add Bookmark
Description: This curriculum unit of three lessons examines the social, political and economic conditions of the southern states in the aftermath of the Civil War and shows how these factors helped to shape the Reconstruction debate as well as the subsequent history of American race relations.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies,Religion
Title: TeacherServe      Add Bookmark
Description: This site, from the National Humanities Center, offers teacher guides that provide balanced perspectives on a range of humanities topics. It is an interactive site offering high school English and history teachers practical help in planning courses and presenting rigorous subject matter to students. It is designed to deepen course content by providing convenient access to scholarship tailored to classroom use.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 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: 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: Was There an Industrial Revolution? Americans at Work before the Civil War      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from EDSITEment, students learn about changes that occurred in the United States during the period of industrialization before the Civil War. They then determine which facts indicate whether early industrialization was a revolutionary or evolutionary process.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Arts,Social Studies
Title: Visualizing Cultures      Add Bookmark
Description: This EDSITEment-reviewed Web site, from MIT OpenCourseWare, brings together images and commentary to illuminate social and cultural history in innovative ways. The site provides the historical significance of the images, a comprehensive curriculum and a carefully annotated digital archive of images from public and private sources. Visualizing Cultures uses Japan since the mid-19th century as a case study for gaining new perspectives on cultures, such as the cultures of Westernization, modernization, changing modes of technology and mass communication, imperialism, nationalism, militarism, racism, commercialization and consumerism.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: C1,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Daguerreotype of Unitarian Congregational Church, New York City      Add Bookmark
Description: On the Washington Square campus of the New York University, Samuel F.B. Morse and Dr. John W. Draper operated one of the first American photographic studios from 1839 to the early 1840s. Collaborating on this quarter-plate daguerreotype, the partners achieved a clear photograph of the Unitarian Congregational Church of the Messiah, on the east side of Broadway across Waverly Place, New York City, from their rooftop studio in the fall of 1839 or winter of 1840. Morse quickly refocused his professional career on the perfection of a working telegraph, while Dr. Draper continued to work in scientific photography with his sons for the remainder of his academic career at the University. National Museum of American History
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: The Federal Reserve      Add Bookmark
Description: Article. An article about the U. S.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: C1,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Transportation in America Classroom Activity Guide      Add Bookmark
Description: This activity guide accompanies the exhibition America on the Move . It delivers a variety of historical primary source materials from the exhibition directly to your classroom. Through these documents and activities, students can build a deeper understanding of how transportation shaped American commerce, communities, landscapes, and population migrations. It is one of the many resources connected to the online exhibition entitled America on the Move , which focuses on transportation in US history.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Science,Social Studies
Title: African-American Inventors I      Add Bookmark
Description: Article. Short article on prominent 18th century African American inventors.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: C1,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Edison After Forty: The Challenge of Success      Add Bookmark
Description: At the age of 40, with major inventions behind him, Thomas Edison faced a new technical world, which he had helped to create, and the challenge of competing with his own success. This online resource, from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, takes the form of a photo exhibition and chronicles the latter half of Edison's life and career. Students will learn about Edison's life in the years after he had become one of the most famous men in the world.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Cross-Disciplinary,Geography,Science,Social Studies
Title: Snow Bound      Add Bookmark
Description: Article. With minimal supplies, '' Snowshoe'' Thompson would ski across the Sierra Nevada to bring mail to the isolated town of Genoa during the winter months between 1856 and 1876.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: C1,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Music and Mobility      Add Bookmark
Description: Sstudents can learn about sheet music based on transportation themes from the collections of the Museum's Archives Center. This reference page is included in the online exhibition entitled America on the Move , which focuses on transportation in US history.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Transportation History Videos      Add Bookmark
Description: Three short videos provide an overview of American transportation history in three different eras: 1800-1900, 1900-1950, and 1950-2000. These videos are included in the online exhibition entitled America on the Move , which focuses on transportation in US history.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: History Now      Add Bookmark
Description: This EDSITEment-reviewed Web site, from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, is a quarterly online journal for teachers and students. The site features lesson plans, reflections from leading historians, multimedia interactive resources such as audio clips and slideshows and an '' Ask the Archivist'' section where teachers and students can send questions and see the answers posted on the site. Users can find information on Abraham Lincoln, national holidays, elections, voting rights, immigration, the American West, slavery, abolitionism and the Civil Rights Movement.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: Who Was Cinque?      Add Bookmark
Description: This lesson, from EDSITEment, focuses on Cinque, the leader of the 1839 Amistad revolt. The lesson draws on a variety of documentary resources to examine how he was perceived by Americans on both sides of the debate over slavery.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Maritime Nation 1800-1850      Add Bookmark
Description: The maritime history of the United States during the first half of the nineteenth century 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 shipbuilders, mariners, and maritime merchants helped the new nation defend itself and grow. Topics covered are the roles that privateers played during the American Revolution and the War of 1812, immigration, early steam travel and coastal shipping in the Atlantic Ocean, the California Gold Rush, and the life-saving technology that was used to rescue the victims of shipwrecks. National Museum of American History
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: Perspectives on the Slave Narrative      Add Bookmark
Description: This lesson, from EDSITEment, introduces students to one of the most widely-read genres of 19th-century American literature and an important influence within the African American literary tradition even today. The lesson focuses on the Narrative of William W. Brown, An American Slave(1847), which, along with the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass(1845), set the pattern for this genre and its combination of varied literary traditions and devices. Students learn about the slave narrative and its importance in the abolitionist movement, gain experience in working with the slave narrative as a resource for historical study, evaluate the slave narrative as a work of literature, examine the slave narrative in the context of political controversy as an argument for abolition, and explore themes of self-actualization and spiritual freedom within the slave narrative.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Inland Waterways 1820-1940      Add Bookmark
Description: The country's vast system of rivers and lakes has helped people settle the land and create communities. The realities of life and work on the inland waterways of the United States are 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 commerce on the Great Lakes, canals and rivers played an important role in the development of the country. They will also learn about the professions and technologies that developed to safely navigate the perils of these vital waterways. National Museum of American History
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Arts, Social Studies
Title: The Story Behind the Song: God Bless America      Add Bookmark
Description: In 1938, composer Irving Berlin dusted off an old piece of music to create a new national hit.
Thinkfinity Partner: ArtsEdge
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: Families in Bondage      Add Bookmark
Description: This two-part lesson from EDSITEment draws on letters written by African Americans in slavery and by free blacks to loved ones still in bondage, singling out a few among the many slave experiences to offer students a glimpse into slavery and its effects on African American family life. In Part I, students examine the letters of Hannah Valentine, an enslaved woman who lived on a Virginia plantation. In Part II, students read letters from a fugitive slave to his still-enslaved wife and from a black Union soldier to his still-enslaved daughters, confronting directly the anguish of separation that was a constant factor in African American family life during slave times, when children and parents, husbands and wives, were routinely sold away from one another. Students explore the emotional terrain revealed in these letters by comparing the response to separation voiced by Valentine with that voiced by the Union soldier and the fugitive slave.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Arts,Language Arts,Mathematics,Science,Social Studies,Geography
Title: The Internet Public Library       Add Bookmark
Description: The Internet Public Library, and EDSITEment-reviewed Blue Ribbon resource, offers a collection of online resources in a variety of subject areas. IPL provides dictionaries, atlases, other basic reference resources, online exhibits, texts of classic literature, links to newspapers and serials, and other resources for both adults and children. IPL also offers two ask-a-librarian services, where users can submit questions via e-mail on virtually any topic.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: The Election Is in the House: 1824 -- The Candidates and the Issues      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, one of a multi-part unit from EDSITEment, students explore changes in presidential election laws and procedures since 1796. They also examine campaign materials from 1824.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: James Madison: Internal Improvements Balancing Act -- Federal/State, Executive/Legislative      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, one of a multi-part unit from EDSITEment, students explore constitutional questions faced by James Madison. They summarize at least one event during Madison's presidency that raised constitutional questions and reflect on Madison's opinions on the questions raised.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: James Madison: Raising an Army-- Balancing the Power of the States and the Federal Government      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, one of a multi-part unit from EDSITEment, students explore the question of individual states abilities to oppose the will of the federal government with regard to certain issues. They summarize at least one event during James Madison's presidency that raised constitutional questions and discuss Madison's opinions the questions.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Golden Legends      Add Bookmark
Description: Some legendary coins represent the passionate quest for gold on the American frontier. This section of the online exhibition entitled "Legendary Coins and Currency'' teaches students how the discovery of gold, both in the southeastern United States, and later in the West, had a major effect on American ideas about the creation and use of money. This highly interactive resource, from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, allows students to rotate and zoom in on objects for detailed examination. A glossary linked to the exhibition will help students learn challenging vocabulary.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



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The Malone Family Foundation
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