Lessons & Activities

A complete listing of all the standards-based educational resources designed to be facilitated by a teacher or parent.


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Building a Sod House

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Lessons & Activities, Interactives & Media
Date Posted: 6/10/2008

In this interactive activity, students will attempt to build a sod house by making choices regarding the construction of their house. Too many wrong answers and the house will collapse! This engaging and lighthearted activity will help students un...


Building Beautiful Buildings Homepage

Grade Range: K-4
Resource Type(s): Lessons & Activities
Duration: 120 Minutes
Date Posted: 6/30/2013

Architects design the buildings we use every day. Their designs solve problems, like how to make a sturdy building, and reflect their ideas about beauty and history. By using this OurStory module from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American ...


Camera Creativity and Collaboration

Grade Range: 2-4
Resource Type(s): Lessons & Activities, Primary Source
Duration: 25 Minutes
Date Posted: 3/8/2012

Take a close look at a famous picture of Martha Graham, then grab your camera and make your own dance photo with a friend or family member. Part of an OurStory module entitled An American Story in Dance and Music, this activity includes a...


Celebrate Community Helpers

Grade Range: K-4
Resource Type(s): Lessons & Activities, Primary Source
Duration: 40 Minutes
Date Posted: 3/5/2012

When bad things happen, community helpers are there to keep people safe! Find out who helps in your community and celebrate them with a special certificate. Part of an OurStory module entitled  September 11, 2001, this activity includ...


Changing Gender Roles on the World War II Home Front

Grade Range: 6-12
Resource Type(s): Lessons & Activities, Primary Source
Duration: 45 Minutes
Date Posted: 5/6/2010

Kick-off a research project on gender roles on the World War II home front with two brief video clips and a selection of primary sources. Once students have analyzed the photographs and wartime advertisements, begin a research project on women dur...


Chicago, the Transit Metropolis

Grade Range: 9-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Lessons & Activities, Reference Materials
Date Posted: 7/7/2008

In this online reference page, students can learn how public transportation shaped the development of Chicago. This resource is included in the online exhibition entitled America on the Move , which focuses on transportation in US history....


Children Write to the President

Grade Range: K-4
Resource Type(s): Lessons & Activities, Primary Source
Date Posted: 6/10/2008

What would you say if you wrote a letter to the President? In this activity, students will analyze primary source letters that were written to Presidents by children and answer questions based on what they have read. This activity provides a uniqu...


Comic Book Hero

Grade Range: 3-5
Resource Type(s): Lessons & Activities, Primary Source, Reference Materials
Duration: 30 Minutes
Date Posted: 1/5/2010

Do you have what it takes to be a comic book hero? Take a close look at a comic book from  the 1950s and 60s  about nonviolence in the civil rights movement and think about ways those tips could help you today. Included in an OurStory mo...


Coming to America

Grade Range: K-6
Resource Type(s): Lessons & Activities, Reference Materials, Worksheets
Duration: 90 Minutes
Date Posted: 3/9/2012

Almost all Americans have family histories that trace back to other countries. By using this OurStory module, children and adults can enjoy exploring the experiences of immigrants who came to America and the ways that immigration has changed life ...



Comparing Confederate and Union Soldiers in the Civil War

Grade Range: 6-9
Resource Type(s): Lessons & Activities, Primary Source
Duration: 90 Minutes
Date Posted: 5/3/2010

Use primary sources as the inspiration for comparing and contrasting the soldiers on either side of the Civil War. After examining uniforms and viewing two short video clips, students will develop questions and perform short research projects to u...

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Featured Artifact

The Three Kings

On the Catholic calendar, the Three Kings are celebrated on the 6th of January. On this date Puerto Rican children traditionally expected their Christmas gifts, not from...