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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 (11), or Technology Education (9 - 12)
Title: News Flash: The End of the Cold War
Description: This lesson is an inquiry into events that occurred during the Cold War era. It is a technology-based project on one event that occurred during the Cold War(1945-1991). The Cold War describes the tense and hostile relationship between the Soviet Union and the U.S. between 1945 and 1992. The communist government of the Soviet Union wanted to convert other countries to communism. The U.S. pledged to support free countries so they could resist communism. Both countries had nuclear weapons and were capable of launching a nuclear war. Other countries took sides in this international conflict. Many Western European countries sided with the U.S. to form NATO (National Atlantic Treaty Organization) in 1949. Eastern European countries signed the Warsaw Pact and formed an alliance with the Soviet Union.


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: Blog Post: Collecting the Presidential Campaigns      Add Bookmark
Description: In this post, students will learn how political history curators collect campaign memorabilia Democratic and Republican National Conventions. S ince the late 1980s, they have collected more than 150,000 objects. In this video, the curators give a show and tell of some of the artifacts they collected from the 2008 campaigns. 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: 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: The September 11 Digital Archive      Add Bookmark
Description: The September 11 Digital Archive uses electronic media to collect, preserve, and present the history of September 11, 2001 and its aftermath. The Archive contains more than 150,000 digital items, a tally that includes more than 40,000 emails and other electronic communications, more than 40,000 first-hand stories, and more than 15,000 digital images. Produced by the Center for History and New Media and American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning, students can use the archive to browse, research and share their memories of the tragic event by uploading images, documents, and other digital files. strong Some of the material included in the archive may not be suitable for young children. strong
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: History Explorer Podcast: Objects from September 11      Add Bookmark
Description: In this episode of the History Explorer podcast series, James Gardner, Former Senior Scholar and Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs, discusses the Museum's collection efforts and object stories following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The resource includes a teachers guide and student worksheet.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Blog Post: Collecting September 11: One Curator's Story      Add Bookmark
Description: In this post, students will learn about the work the Museum is doing to preserve the history from September 11, 2001. Students will hear an insider's perspective on the decision-making process, and discover what it's like to sort and collect important objects that will help tell the story for generations to come. Written by Peter Liebhold, Chair and Curator of the Division of Work and Industry, 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: September 11: Photographers and Their Stories      Add Bookmark
Description: In this post, students will learn about the work at the Museum to collect both professional and amateur photographer's images of the September 11 tragedy, as well as the stories told by the photographers. More than 2000 images and several cameras were collected for the Smithsonian from 25 photographers. Each of the photographers had a unique story to convey with their donation to the collection. Written by Michelle Delaney, Director of the Smithsonian's Consortium for Understanding the American Experience and former curator of photography, 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: Manpack Global Positioning System (GPS) Receiver      Add Bookmark
Description: The Global Positioning System (GPS) consists of NAVSTAR satellites in earth orbit that send signals to receivers on land, sea, or in the air. The system became operational in 1978. Its military usefulness was demonstrated during Operation Desert Storm (1991), when coalition troops with receivers were able to navigate quickly and with great precision in the relatively featureless desert, thus having a significant tactical advantage over Iraqi forces.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



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: HIV and AIDS Thirty Years Ago      Add Bookmark
Description: This online exhibition examines the public health, scientific, and political responses in the early phase (1981-87) of the global HIV and AIDS pandemic. The website features photographs, magazine covers and public health information pamphlets from AIDS service organizations.HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that produces AIDS by impairing the human immune system and allowing diseases such as pneumonia and various cancers to take hold. AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is the term for the combination of infection with HIV, a reduced number of specific immune system cells (ones with CD4 surface proteins), and the illnesses associated with HIV.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 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 - Economics - Social Studies - Geography - Social Studies - United States History
Title: Human Migration Within and Into the United States      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions lesson, students analyze 1980 and 1990 demographic data from the U.S. They determine net migration for the southern, northeastern, western, and midwestern regions of the United States and analyze the impact of migration shifts in these regions.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Arts,Social Studies
Title: A Nation Goes to War      Add Bookmark
Description: Video. On September 11, 2001, the United States was attacked by a terrorist group known as al Qaeda. Al Qaeda's members are based primarily in the region known as the Middle East, or West Asia, which typically includes the countries between Egypt and Afghanistan.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: C1,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Flight 93 National Memorial      Add Bookmark
Description: This site from the National Park Service provides information on the memorial design; guides for parents, children, and young adults designed to facilitate conversation about the events of 9/11 and the meaning of the memorial; a video of interviews with former students from Shanksville-Stonycreek School, near the crash site; a virtual tour; and visitor information.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Pentagon 9/11 Memorial      Add Bookmark
Description: The Pentagon Memorial Fund's Web site offers an interactive map of the memorial, a video and other information about events on 9/11 both at and beyond the Pentagon, a space to read and share personal stories, and links to related organizations.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 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: Students Response to 9/11: A Documentary Report      Add Bookmark
Description: Have students document the national response to the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001 using polls, comment cards from teenagers, and their own recollections. This lesson plan (which includes background information and full-color primary sources) was produced to accompany the exhibition "The Price of Freedom: Americans at War,'' by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. National Museum of American History
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 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: The Curator's Challenge: Life in a Post-September 11 World      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, students will learn the story of September 11 and the process for building a collection at the Museum by listening to curators discuss collecting objects to represent the September 11 terrorist attacks, interviewing family or community members who remember the events of that day, and developing recommendations for objects to be included in the national collection and a small exhibit on September 11.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Environmental Button      Add Bookmark
Description: This button depicts the ecology symbol, a small letter "e'' inside the larger letter "O,'' the letters standing for "environment'' and "organism.'' Cartoonist Ron Cobb invented the symbol in 1969. The ecology symbol appeared in a green U.S. flag for the first time in the April 21, 1970 issue of Look magazine. 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: New American Roles      Add Bookmark
Description: With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the cold war in 1989, the United States stood alone as a military superpower. Americans struggled to define the roles they should play in the community of nations and fought to defend their interests against threats at home as well as abroad. In this section of The Price of Freedom: Americans at War, an online exhibition from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, students will learn about American involvement in the Persian Gulf War, the global war on terrorism that began with the attacks on September 11, 2001 and the invasion of Iraq.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: The Origins of the Cold War, 1945-1949      Add Bookmark
Description: In this unit of three lessons, from EDSITEment, students explore the origins of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. Students study international relations just after World War II, with particular attention to the Yalta and Potsdam Conferences, the U.S. strategy of containment, the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, the Berlin Airlift and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Apple "Classic'' Macintosh Personal Computer      Add Bookmark
Description: The Apple Macintosh introduced a graphic user interface (GUI) to the Apple line of computers. The idea had originated at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center in the 1970s, but Xerox was slow to commercialize it. Apple proved far more successful when it introduced the Macintosh in January 1984. After selling hundreds of thousands of units, Apple discontinued the "Mac Classic'' line of computers in April 1986. 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: 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: Social Studies
Title: Voting: Punch Card Democracy      Add Bookmark
Description: The impacts on voting due to social and technological advancements in the United States during the second half of the twentieth century are addressed in this section of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History's online exhibition Vote: The Machinery of Democracy . Students will learn how reforms, such as the Voting Rights Act and the 26th Amendment, led to vote recording systems that could tap the processing power of computers. New technologies marketed to improve and accelerate the reporting of election results.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: The National September 11 Memorial      Add Bookmark
Description: The National September 11 Memorial is a tribute of remembrance and honor to the nearly 3,000 people killed in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center site, near Shanksville, Pa., and at the Pentagon, as well as the six people killed in the World Trade Center bombing in February 1993.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: C1,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Pentagon Memorial Fund      Add Bookmark
Description: Coming soon: Working in partnership with Verizon Foundation the Pentagon Memorial Fund will launch a new Pentagon Memorial Web site in the spring of 2010. The new site will provide teachers, school groups, parents, families and friends with free online resources that will teach them about the memorial and its significance in our nation's history. These online resources will cover the history, design and construction of the memorial.
Thinkfinity Partner: Verizon Thinkfinity
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



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: September 11: Bearing Witness to History      Add Bookmark
Description: This online exhibition from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History commemorates the tragic events of September 11, 2001. It includes highlights of the exhibition that was on display at the Museum from September 11, 2002 until July 6, 2003, including selected objects, photographs, personal stories and a specially produced video by the late Peter Jennings of ABC News. Students can also search over 100 objects related to the event from the Museum's collections, listen to oral histories of curators as they tell stories about collecting the objects, and have the opportunity to link to the September 11 Digital Archive in order to read unedited first-person accounts of the events of September 11 and then share their own memories. Some of the material included in the archive may not be suitable for young children. 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: Teaching 9/11      Add Bookmark
Description: This site from the National September 11 Memorial and Museum provides links to all of the educational materials from the museum, including commemorative materials for students in upper elementary grades through high school, which focus on ways people chose to respond to 9/11 through art; two short films, 9/11 Stories of Survival and Loss and The Spirit of Volunteerism: 9/11 and Beyond; guidelines for discussing 9/11 in the classroom; and a teaching guide with lesson plans on conducting oral history and learning from objects and memorials.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Museum of the Moving Image      Add Bookmark
Description: The Living Room Candidate, funded through a grant from the Verizon Foundation, contains a comprehensive online collection of political television advertisements from every Presidential election since 1952. It is a signature program of the Museum of the Moving Image, the only museum dedicated to the art and industry of all of screen culture, from the earliest silent films to today's video games.
Thinkfinity Partner: Verizon Thinkfinity
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Photographing History: Fred J. Maroon and the Nixon Years, 1970-1974      Add Bookmark
Description: The images included in this online resource from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History offer a powerful record of an unsettling time in American History. Photographer Fred Maroon was granted unusual access to the Nixon White House to document the 1970 reelection campaign as well as the major events of the Watergate controversy. Students will learn about Nixon's presidency as well as the importance of photojournalism through the use of behind-the-scenes photographs and oral history interviews with Fred Maroon. A timeline of events covering the years 1968-1974 is also included.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



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