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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Two Perspectives on the Battle of Little Bighorn and Greasy Grass

Grade Range: 6-9
Resource Type(s): Lessons & Activities, Primary Source
Duration: 45 Minutes
Date Posted: 5/3/2010

Engage students in analyzing and appreciating historical perspectives on the Battle of Little Bighorn/Greasy Grass, also known as "Custer's Last Stand." Students will interpret primary sources, develop critical thinking questions about the perspec...


Understanding and Using Primary and Secondary Sources in History

Grade Range: 6-8
Resource Type(s): Lessons & Activities, Primary Source
Duration: 90 Minutes
Date Posted: 11/19/2008

Learning to use primary and secondary sources correctly takes practice. In this classroom activity, students will understand the difference between primary and secondary sources. After class discussion and a written assignment based on primary sou...


Understanding Historical Photos

Grade Range: 9-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Lessons & Activities, Reference Materials
Date Posted: 8/5/2008

This resource will help students understand how to analyze historical photos to better understand the intentions of those who took them. Every photograph is both truthful and deceptive. These images were selected to illustrate some of the int...


Unexpected Cargo: Spud Campbell, First Radio Officer

Grade Range: 6-12
Resource Type(s): Interactives & Media, Lessons & Activities, Primary Source, Worksheets
Duration: 16 Minutes
Date Posted: 4/5/2012

Spud Campbell was a Merchant Mariner who served on a Liberty Ship carrying supplies to help the Soviet Union fight Germany on the Eastern Front.  Listen to his oral history, and then study the supporting primary sources to answer the discussi...


United We Stand: Magazine Cover Analysis

Grade Range: 6-8
Resource Type(s): Lessons & Activities, Reference Materials
Duration: 70 Minutes
Date Posted: 6/3/2009

Students will analyze and interpret magazine covers from July 1942, when some five hundred publications featured the stars and stripes to promote national unity, rally support for the war, and celebrate Independence Day. Students will th...


Using Rice Plantation Tools

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

In this activity, students will analyze images of tools that were used on rice plantations to determine each tool's purpose. These objects can tell us a great deal about slavery and the lives of the slaves who worked on rice plantations. It is inc...


Van Valen’s Gold Rush Journey

Grade Range: 6-12
Resource Type(s): Worksheets, Interactives & Media, Lessons & Activities, Primary Source
Duration: 220 Minutes
Date Posted: 4/27/2010

Investigate the authentic journal of Alex Van Valen, a man who set sail in 1849 to stake his claim in the California gold fields, to discover what life was like during the gold rush. This dynamic project from the Smithsonian's National Museum of A...


Visit Your Government

Grade Range: K-4
Resource Type(s): Lessons & Activities, Reference Materials
Duration: 35 Minutes
Date Posted: 1/5/2010

Find out about your local government through planning a short field trip, and then think about how you could make a difference in your community.  The activity guide also includes tips for reviewing the experience once you're back at home or ...


Voices of Bull Run

Grade Range: 5-8
Resource Type(s): Lessons & Activities, Worksheets
Date Posted: 9/21/2010

This unit will introduce the first major clash in the Civil War--the Battle of Bull Run--and encourage students to consider the perspectives of ordinary citizens of the North and the South and the impact of this battle on their lives. The activiti...


Voting: Design for Democracy

Grade Range: 9-12
Resource Type(s): Lessons & Activities, Primary Source
Date Posted: 8/18/2008

Recent efforts to ensure each vote counts are addressed in this portion of the online exhibition entitled Vote: The Machinery of Democracy from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.  Students will study how pre...

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Featured Artifact

United States, 2 Dollars, 1776

By the time they broke with England, the thirteen American colonies had been issuing paper currency for nearly a century. Both they and the loose central government they set...