Abraham Lincoln is typically portrayed as a gaunt, bearded man, both thoughtful and troubled. The story that goes along with this image is as familiar to Americans as any children’s fable. He was born in a log cabin. He became the 16th president. He freed the slaves and saved the Union. He was
These activities help young learners build skills in literacy, creativity, and communication while using everyday materials and exploring interesting topics. A series of five, each activity uses objects from across the Smithsonian as a jumping-off point for learning through play as well as tips for
Take a close look at propaganda cartoons and other primary sources to analyze how young Americans were mobilized for the War. 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
Maritime activity is as important as ever, and it affects the lives of people everywhere. The importance of shipping to today's global economy and the types of ships that transport goods throughout the world are the focus of this section of On the Water: Stories from Maritime America
Although many Americans are turning more and more to credit cards to buy the things they want, most Americans still handle paper money and coins on a regular basis. It is important for children (and adults!) to be comfortable counting and handling money and to think about the people and ide
This teacher's resource challenges students to think about the gold nugget that began the California gold rush as a valuable resource for understanding westward expansion and the idea of Manifest Destiny. It includes a preliminary activity intended to introduce students to doing hi
In this activity, children create top hats out of paper by reading or listening to directions that use simple terms from geometry. After making the hat, they measure their heights with and without the hat, and then take a picture wearing the hat. This resource is included in an OurStory
The national anthem describes an actual event in American history. In this classroom activity, students will be able to recite the first verse and paraphrase "The Star-Spangled Banner." Students will also be able to explain why Francis Scott Key wrote these words in 1814. This activity is include
Our Democracy: A National Youth Summit civic education series
Over the course of the 2022–2023 school year, we'll release classroom resources that address the driving question, "How do the stories we tell about our past shape our democracy?"
Each case study uses museum objects and artifacts,
Use or create maps to explore your local area, along with discussion tips for kids and families. Part of an OurStory module entitled Full Steam to Freedom, this activity includes strategies for using online maps or making your own map of a trip and tips for making the most of those exper
Drawing on Takaki's vast array of primary sources, and staying true to his own words whenever possible, A Different Mirror for Young People brings ethnic history alive through the words of people, including teenagers, who recorded their experiences in letters, diaries, and poems. Like Zinn's A Peopl
Japanese Americans reflect on their years spent in internment camps as children or young adults. They discuss the process of being forced from their homes, and their ability to make the prisons more livable despite oppressive conditions.