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This site is jam-packed with lessons that are ready for you to teach. Everything is standards-based and labeled as such, which gives you more time to pick the most appropriate lessons for your students. Students can also explore the site on their own; it's an ideal source for research report material or an in-class presentation.Continue reading Show less
Smithsonian's History Explorer is a website developed by the National Museum of American History that offers online resources for teaching and learning American history. There's no log-in or way to save data, but you can browse all that the site has to offer and use the content you find in the classroom. The home page includes a Featured Artifact, Featured Resources, and a rotating board of highlighted material. Search-wise, you can filter content by grade, resource type, historical era, and cross-curricular connection. Resource types span from Artifacts (selected from the Museum's more than 3 million items) to Lessons/Activities to Interactives/Media, and the 10 eras include Beginnings to 1620 and 1968 to the Present. Once you've chosen your filters, you'll receive a list of resources, such as All Aboard the Train, a lesson plan about American train travel. The standards it meets appear below a brief description; hit Get Resource, and the content is yours.
It's outstanding. Aside from its great search function and excellent selection of lessons and activities, the site is beautifully designed and a pleasure to browse. Kids can learn about particular areas of history, or they can get a broad overview of an era. Some artifacts are classics, like Dorothea Lange's iconic Depression-era photograph Migrant Mother, but kids can also take a look at the history behind lesser-known aspects of American culture, like the Hamons Court neon sign, an example of roadside culture in Oklahoma.