This activity is designed to encourage students to practice their critical reading and historical comprehension skills by reading about the primary source document entitled the “Development of Freedom Summer.” Key questions are posed after the reading to gauge students’ understanding of the
Gear and Lever voting, meant to ensure the confidentiality and efficiency of the election process, is the focus of this section of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History’s online exhibition entitled Vote: The Machinery of Democracy. Students will learn about the
This object-based learning activity revolves around the gold nugget that began the California gold rush. In this resource, students will learn how examining the gold nugget can help them understand the story of the gold rush and its importance to the story of westward expansion. After explor
This object-based learning activity revolves around the desk on which Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence. Students will learn how the Jefferson desk can help them understand the meaning of the Declaration, both at the time that it was written as well as to future g
This object-based learning activity revolves around a dress that connects the lives of Mary Todd Lincoln and Elizabeth Keckley, a popular African-American dressmaker who lived in Washington, D.C at the time of the Civil War. Students will learn how one object can tell many different stories.
The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s tackled many problems facing African-Americans at the time. This collection offers a brief video introduction into the March on Washington in 1963, which brought national attention to many of these issues, and asks students to analyze a photograph
Through discussion and brainstorming, students will learn about the destructive impact of environmental factors on man-made artifacts and structures in this classroom activity. Upon completion of one or more activities, students will gain a concrete understanding of the complexity of the science
The National Youth Summit brings middle and high school students together with scholars, teachers, policy experts, and activists in a national conversation about important events in America’s past that have relevance to the nation’s present and future. Mark your calendars for the next
This resource includes an introductory essay entitled Looking at Artifacts, Thinking about History, 6 sections that each focus on an object from the collections of the Museum, an archive of curator commentary, and an online tool with which students can create virtual exhibits. Also inclu
Alan Harvie and John “Sarge” Ransome served about the SS Honomu sailing the Murmansk Run to the Soviet Union. Listen to their story, and then study the supporting primary sources to answer the discussion questions. This resource is part of a series called “Maritime Voices: Merchant Ma
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.