Common Sense Review
Updated May 2014

Ford's Theatre

Online museum offers exhibits, resources on Abraham Lincoln, Civil War
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Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating (1 Teacher Review) 3
  • Online video gallery shows key locations and events.
  • Detailed lesson plans are provided.
  • Students can create their own videos about Lincoln to be included in the museum project.
  • Users can take a virtual tour of the Theatre.
Teachers will find lesson plans and other resources; students can explore independently to learn more about Lincoln.
There's a lot more here than it may seem at first; sifting through the resources can take time.
Bottom Line
The resources here will add depth to your teaching and boost students' interest for any study of Lincoln and the Civil War.
Ellen Holderman
Common Sense Reviewer
Common Sense Education
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

Online exhibits and a virtual tour provide access to museum artifacts and include multimedia experiences that will pique students' interest. Curricular materials are student-centered and encourage participation.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

It's a useful tool for supplemental instruction on Lincoln and his assassination. The site includes lesson plans and professional development opportunities for teachers, as well as some student-facing resources.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 3

Directions for various activities, lessons, and materials are clear. A blog provides additional tips for teaching about Lincoln. Educators will have to do some searching to access all the resources.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

The best use of the resources on the Ford’s Theatre website would be to integrate them into a unit on the Civil War. Teachers can pull content from the virtual tour or online exhibitions to supplement their own lessons on the subject. The multimedia activities in the Lincoln As a Leader and the Surrender at Appomattox sections use storytelling and primary source materials, and will definitely further understanding of Lincoln's impact on the era. A guided activity, such as a scavenger hunt, would provide focus as students view the virtual tour or online exhibitions. Finally, the My Lincoln video project could serve as a culminating activity or assessment that would require students to apply what they've learned from the unit. 

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What's It Like?

The Ford’s Theatre website provides a collection of educator resources about President Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War era. The most useful classroom materials can be found under the Education tab, which includes links to learning online, printable resources, and an education blog. A virtual tour and online exhibitions provide access to museum artifacts.

The Explore Lincoln page can be used as a primary text about the era as well as the assassination and its aftermath. This section also includes a comprehensive timeline of the Civil War era. Direct links to two multimedia lesson plans incorporate primary documents and storytelling. Instructions for how to participate in a My Lincoln video project to examine Lincoln’s legacy are also included. In addition to the free resources, a virtual field trip ($125) uses video conferencing to bring the museum into the classroom. 

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Is It Good For Learning?

If your class can’t visit the Ford’s Theatre museum in Washington, D.C., you should take advantage of the resources available on its website, which include many valuable materials sure to enhance instruction about Lincoln, his assassination, and the Civil War. Teachers can visit the site to increase their own background knowledge, access lesson plans, or take advantage of the professional development opportunities the museum offers. Students can conduct independent research, create a video honoring Lincoln, or scroll through the virtual tour and online exhibits. The site provides an interesting and effective alternative to reading from a textbook. Although some exhibits are text-heavy, the images and videos will increase accessibility for all students. 

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See how teachers are using Ford's Theatre

Lesson Plans