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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: English Language Arts (11), or Social Studies (10 - 11), or Technology Education (9 - 12)
Title: The Challenges and New Inventions of the Great Plains Farmer.
Description: Students will work in groups of four to create presentations using their research on a particular farming invention that was created from (1837-1867) and also research specific elements about life on the Great Plains. Each group's presentation will be merged into a final class presentation.


Subject: Social Studies (11)
Title: Experiencing Ellis Island - An Interactive Immigration Project
Description: Make Ellis Island come alive for U.S. history students by processing younger students in a recreation of the immigration center. Recreate the uncertainty, fear, and confusion many immigrants experienced by arranging a variety of stations in a large open space.  Then open Ellis Island to visitors and allow time for reflection and discussion after all immigrants have been processed.


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: Toy Fire Engine      Add Bookmark
Description: Cast-iron toys are essentially American. Small foundries and factories were mass-producing them towards the close of the 19th century. These toys were sold in novelty stores, department stores, or mail order catalogs. One can follow along with shifts in technology by recognizing the changes in the different models of Sears toys...
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: Science, Social Studies
Title: Immigration      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, students will explore some of the effects that immigration in the United States has had on immigrants and American society as a whole.
Thinkfinity Partner: Science NetLinks
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation      Add Bookmark
Description: Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation is a non-profit organization whose primary goals are to lead the effort to preserve, restore and interpret Angel Island Immigration Station, a National Historic Landmark, as the Pacific gateway for U.S. immigration; and to promote educational activities that further the understanding of Pacific Rim immigration in American history.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Sheet Music-"The Battle of the Sewing Machines"      Add Bookmark
Description: The Battle of the Sewing Machines" was composed and arranged by F. Hyde for the piano, and was published in 1874 by Wm. A. Pond Co. of 547 Broadway, N.Y., N.Y. The lithograph by R. Teller of 120 Wooster St., N.Y., N.Y., illustrates a "battle" of sewing machines. The Remington "army" is marching towards the fleeing Singer, Howe, Succor, Weed, and Willcox Gibbs sewing machines. The soldiers are riding the Remington treadle machines like horses and are carrying Remington rifles. The Remington No. 2 sewing machine had just come out to market in June 1874. The family treadle machine with a drop-leaf table and two drawers would have cost $75.00.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: Creating Stories Activity Kit      Add Bookmark
Description: In this activity kit, students will use primary and secondary sources, and conduct oral history interviews to construct a family immigration or migration story. The kit contains step-by-step instructions, sample interview questions, and research guidance. The kit can be used in conjunction with a 28 minute streaming video called http://americanhistory.si.edu/onthemove/learning/AOTM_education_2.wvx" Creating Stories: America on the Move Electronic Field Part 2 . It is included in 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: Social Studies
Title: Making Sense of "Failed" Car Technology      Add Bookmark
Description: Students can learn about the history of experimentation and innovation in the design of steam-powered, internal-combustion, electric, and solar-powered automobiles. 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: 1880s Agricultural Nation Classroom Activity Guide      Add Bookmark
Description: In this set of classroom activities developed for the exhibition America on the Move , students will use visual, analytical, and interpretive skills to examine primary sources including historical maps to answer questions about farming, transportation, immigration, and racism in the 1880s, and will answer questions about the history and impact of railroads on 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 and help students develop and strengthen map-reading skills and the ability to 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: Arts,Cross-Disciplinary,Social Studies
Title: The Chicago Fire of 1871 and the 'Great Rebuilding'      Add Bookmark
Description: Article. Article on the 140th anniversary of the Chicago Fire focusing on city planning and the '' Great Rebuilding.''
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: C1,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Lighting a Revolution      Add Bookmark
Description: In this online resource from the Smithsonian students will explore the process of invention and compare Thomas Edison's well-known work on the electric light bulb a century ago with several modern lighting inventions. They will look at the process of innovation as a sequence of five steps: preconditions, invention, promotion, competition and consequences. A guest lounge and library include 2 photo galleries, scripts and curator notes for the exhibition, a mystery object, technical reference and historical overviews.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: United States Entry into World War I: Some Hypotheses About U.S. Entry      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, one of a multi-part unit from EDSITEment, students explain what the most compelling reasons were for the U.S. to enter World War I. Students create a hypothetical justification for U.S. involvement in World War I, supported by specific evidence.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Cuban Missile Crisis      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson plan students will examine primary sources to determine the level of threat caused by the buildup of Soviet nuclear missiles and weapons sites in Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis and will analyze President Kennedy's response. style="mso-spacerun: yes;" This resource 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: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: The Feather Trade and the American Conservation Movement      Add Bookmark
Description: The 19th-century vogue for feathers as fashion adornments threatened many bird species with extinction, and socially prominent Bostonians began a campaign for tough new laws to preserve the nation's wildlife. Through this online resource, from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, students will learn how the popularity of birds and their feathers as fashion accessories led to the creation of conservation societies, such as the Audobon society, as well as the passage of laws intended to prevent certain species of birds from extinction due to the tastes of America's upper class.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



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: 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: Japanese Americans and the U.S. Constitution: Immigration      Add Bookmark
Description: Students will learn about the experience of Issei, the first generation of Japanese immigrants to the United States, through the use of artifacts from the Museum's collections, primary source documents, photographs, and oral histories. This section of the http://americanhistory.si.edu/perfectunion/experience/" A More Perfect Union , an online exhibition, discusses how Japanese Immigrants to Hawaii and mainland United States faced severe racial prejudice and the restrictive laws that specifically limited the rights of Asian immigrants to own property and to become citizens. Oral history transcripts are available in the subsections http://americanhistory.si.edu/perfectunion/non-flash/immigration_issei.html" Issei: First Generation and http://americanhistory.si.edu/perfectunion/non-flash/immigration_mainland.html" U.S. Mainland .
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



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: At Home in the Heartland Online      Add Bookmark
Description: This site, an EDSITEment-reviewed Blue Ribbon resource, contains in-depth materials on the history, culture, and family life in Illinois from 1700 to the present. Designed as a classroom resource for teachers and students, the site provides a unique educational experience through the use of objects, stories, and activities relating to the people who have settled in the nation's heartland over the last 300 years. The site provides information and comparison of various facets of Illinois history, including French settlers, African slaves, and Native Americans.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: FDR and Polio      Add Bookmark
Description: When Franklin Roosevelt contracted polio in 1921, at age thirty-nine, it inspired his interest in medical philanthropy. Students will learn about his efforts in the fight against polio including the founding of the Warm Springs Foundation in Warm Springs, Georgia and the Birthday Ball fundraisers that later became the March of Dimes philanthropy. FDR and Polio is part of the online exhibition, http://americanhistory.si.edu/polio/" Whatever Happened to Polio?
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: America on the Move Exhibition - Section 5: People on the Move      Add Bookmark
Description: In this online exhibition from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, students will discover how American History was shaped by the journeys of people who immigrated to the United States, migrated within its boundaries, and even by those who returned to their native lands. Travel changed their lives and influenced communities and culture.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies - Geography - Social Studies - World History
Title: Migration Station: Should We Stay or Should We Go?      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from Xpeditions, students take a virtual visit via the Migration Station, part of National Geographic's Xpedition Hall, to European countries that have been impacted by immigration or emigration. Students write and perform scenes in which a family member must convince others that it is time to migrate.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies,Geography
Title: Women of the West Museum      Add Bookmark
Description: Online exhibits about the experiences of women in the American west.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: C1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: From Ellis Island to Orchard Street      Add Bookmark
Description: This online exhibition, produced by the Tenement Museum, allows students to play the role of an immigrant to New York City in the early twentieth century. Students will learn about the immigration experience by creating an indentity and making decisions about making a living and making a living in the Lower East Side. Video clips of an an actress playing the role of an immigrant add context and give students helpful advice. Panoramic photographs of rooms in a tenement apartment give students a unique perspective into the lives of immigrants in the early twentieth century. This website was a 2009 Museums and the Web Best of the Web Award nominee.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 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: West Virginia Encyclopedia (The)      Add Bookmark
Description: This collection of free, authoritative source information about the history, politics, geography, and culture of the state of West Virginia is updated regularly to ensure that its contents are accurate and accessible. The editors are continually adding new entries, photographs, and maps so check back frequently to see what's new.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: C1,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Transportation Infrastructure Videos      Add Bookmark
Description: Three short videos provide an overview of the history of America's transportation infrastructure 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: Adam Stephen's Waistcoat and Gorget      Add Bookmark
Description: Uniform waistcoat worn by Lieutenant Colonel Adam Stephen during the French and Indian War. Stephen was George Washington's second-in-command of the Virginia Regiment. A gorget is part of the full dress uniform. It is a vestige of plate armor, symbolizing rank and authority. 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: American Masters      Add Bookmark
Description: An ongoing series of award-winning primetime specials examining the lives, works, and creative processes of America's most outstanding cultural artists.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: C1,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



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