Teacher Review for Smithsonian's History Explorer

Fantastic Primary Sources and Artifacts

Keith S.
Classroom teacher
Bedminster Township School
Bedminster, United States
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My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies
My Rating
Learning Scores
Setup Time More than 15 minutes
Great for Further application
Knowledge gain
Small group
Teacher-led lessons
Whole class
Great with Advanced learners
How I Use It
As an ELA teacher, my main interest is in connecting Language Arts to History, and this is one of the key goals of this site. My students explored the Civil Rights Movement by learning about how blacks and their white supporters took a stand against Jim Crow laws by sitting down at lunch counters and other establishments in the South of the 1950s. Fantastic videos, electronic field trips, book tie-ins and more allow the teacher build one or even several lessons around a theme. Again, top rate resources, frequently updated, but you'll need time to discover what is there.
My Take
I chose more than 15 minutes for set-up as this site is so full of resources! Whereas there are sections and resources designed for student interaction, teachers should preview the site to plan their students' use of its images, articles, and artifacts. In addition to a wonderful series of learning modules called OurStory which feature key moments and movements in American history, the site is now beta testing a 3D section (works best in Chrome) which allows students to view mammoth skeletons, Native American clothing, pottery, fossils, and more by moving all around the artifact.