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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.


Thinkfinity Lesson Plans


Subject: Social Studies
Title: America on the Move Homepage      Add Bookmark
Description: This online exhibition explores the role of transportation in American history. Students will learn about communities wrestling with the changes that new transportation networks brought; how cities change, suburbs expand, and farms and factories become part of regional, national and international economies; and hear the stories of people who travel for work and pleasure, and move to new homes.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



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: Asian American Studies Center, UCLA      Add Bookmark
Description: Since its founding in 1969, the UCLA Asian American Studies Center has documented, analyzed, and forecasted the contemporary, historical, and future experiences and concerns of people of Asian and Pacific Islander heritage in the United States through an array of scholarly, policy-oriented, applied, and creative forms of inquiry. It fulfills this mission through sponsored research projects; the development of affiliated research institutes; support for individual faculty members; collaborative research and creative projects with campus and community organizations, museums, and leaders; publications and other media; archival and data-collection activities; and the training of new scholars, policy analysts, and creative artists.
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: Souvenir of the Opening of the East River Bridge, May 24, 1883      Add Bookmark
Description: By the late 19th century, the United States had established itself as a world leader in the area of civil engineering. Perhaps no project better symbolized America's technical prowess than the awe-inspiring Brooklyn Bridge, which connected the nation's largest and third largest cities—New York and Brooklyn, respectively—in 1883 across the turbulent tidal strait known as the East River. The main 1,600-foot (490-meter) of this towering suspension bridge exceeded the world's longest by fifty percent...
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: United States, One Dollar, Pattern, 1879      Add Bookmark
Description: United States Mint, Philadelphia. Obverse: Young head of Liberty, facing right; date below. Reverse: Eagle, facing left; denomination below. The piece was designed by George T. Morgan, and, while no more successful than any of his other designs, stands in marked contrast to them. Because of the youthful appearance of the Liberty head, this pattern was dubbed the "Schoolgirl" dollar, perhaps as early as the 1890s...
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



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: Trains.com      Add Bookmark
Description: Trains.com is a website dedicated to those who love everything about railroading and model trains. It contains the latest railroad news, and allows students to explore the history of railroading and the hobby of model trains. The website is the home of five railroading-related magazines: Model Railroader, Trains, Classic Toy Trains, Garden Railways and Classic Trains.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: 1848 Gold Nugget      Add Bookmark
Description: This small piece of yellow metal is believed to be the first piece of gold discovered in 1848 at Sutter's Mill in California, which launched the gold rush. 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: 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: Geography,Social Studies
Title: After the Gold Rush      Add Bookmark
Description: Article. Short article on the aftermath of the California Gold Rush.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: C1,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Chinese-American Shop Sign      Add Bookmark
Description: This sign was purchased by a North Beach second-hand shop from a proprietor in the neighboring Chinatown district of San Francisco. It is said to date from between 1890 and 1910. It is likely that the language is Cantonese, the dialect used in Southern China, which was engaged in foreign trade long before military oppression and American labor recruitment in the mid-19th century brought immigrants to "Gun San'' or the "Land of the Golden Mountain,'' as the Cantonese referred to the West Coast of the United States. National Museum of American History
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



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: The Lynch Family: Immigration and the Industrial Revolution      Add Bookmark
Description: In the 1870s and 1880s, Catherine Tracy Lynch, an Irish immigrant, and her daughter, Mary, rented one side of the Ipswich, Massachusetts house that is the focus of Within These Walls, an online exhibition from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. Catherine took in laundry and Mary was one of hundreds of workers employed by Ipswich Mills. Renting meant sharing space with boarders, other renters in the house, and probably relatives recently arrived from Ireland. Students can learn about the Lynches and the realities of life for many Americans during the Industrial Revolution by examining a map and description of their apartment, a page from an 1885 account book, and objects from the period.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Western Indian Wars      Add Bookmark
Description: In the decades following the Civil War, the U.S. Army fought dozens of engagements with Indians in the West. This website explores Federal Indian policies and conflicts that arose as Americans flooded west into the Great Plains. Through the use of images and objects from the Museum's collections, students will learn about: Sitting Bull, George Custer and the Battle of Little Bighorn; the massacre at Wounded Knee; the resistance of Geronimo and the Chiricahua Apache; buffalo soldiers; and the realities of life on Indian Reservations. A non-flash version of the site is available: http://americanhistory.si.edu/militaryhistory/printable/section.asp?id=6" Western Indian Wars .
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: World War I Overview      Add Bookmark
Description: Overview of the First World War, taken from news reel footage. Includes the declaration of war and invasion of Belgium by Germany, U Boats and naval warfare, trench warfare, United States entrance and end of war.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: Geography,Social Studies
Title: Gold Fever      Add Bookmark
Description: Article. Short article on the discovery of gold in California that sparked the California Gold Rush.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
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: Arts,Social Studies,Geography
Title: Western History: The Photography Collection      Add Bookmark
Description: Created through the joint efforts of the Western History/Geneology Department of the Denver Public Library and the Colorado Historical Society, this site is an archive of more than one million images documenting the history of Colorado and the American West.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: C1,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Treasures of American History: American Identity      Add Bookmark
Description: Many of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History's treasures give insight into what it has meant to be an American. In this section of the online exhibition entitled "Treasures of American History'' , students will explore the diverse roots of American culture as well as common experiences shared across lines of race, ethnicity, and region. They will learn how culturally, Americans have defined themselves in many ways; through artistic expression, ethnic traditions, work and play, and home and community life. A Spanish version of the exhibition is available on the exhibition's homepage.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



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Alabama Virtual Library

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The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The Malone Family Foundation
The Malone Family Foundation
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