This site provides a lesson plan that explains latitude and longitude. Links provide activities needed for the lesson as well as a link to online map creation (OMC) with directions for students to create maps online.
1. Why is knowledge of latitude and longitude necessary for the study of geography?
2. When could early explorers have benefited from the knowledge of latitude and longitude?
Geography – EnchantedLearning.com (SOL USI.1g ; USI.2a, b, c)
A collection of maps, activities and quizzes include information on continents, oceans, regions of North America and latitude/longitude. Quizzes and maps may be printed for student use.
1. Why is it important to learn how to use a map in your daily life?
2. How can learning latitude and longitude be relevant in your study of maps?
This site provides cultural views of early Native Americans including information and pictures of clothing, games, homes, and food. It provides a link to poetry and stories from Native American cultures.
1. How did early Native Americans interact with their environment to meet their daily life needs?
2. What similarities and differences can one find among various tribes from different regions?
The Age of Exploration and Curriculum Guide (SOL USI.4a)
A curriculum guide from the Mariners Museum (Newport News) on the Age of Exploration provides information on explorers as well as student activities.
1. How did the Age of Exploration lead to the founding of colonies in America?
2. What obstacles would an explorer encounter in his journeys, and how would he deal with them?
West African Societies (SOL USI.4c, 2c)
Students research topics that relate to the West African Societies as well as the slavery in America.
1. What were the major reasons for the trade that built the wealth and power of the West African Kingdoms of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai?
2. What is the importance of the “Land of Gold “ and the “King of Gold”?
The Jamestown Online Adventure (SOL USI.5a 1)
This interactive site allows students to assume the role of a Jamestown colonist. The students make decisions as to location, building houses, and planting crops. He/she may ask advice from a colonist, Native American, or check the charter. Decisions are critiqued and compared to actual events.
1. What factors should you consider as you decide on a place to begin building your new settlement in the New World?
2. How will you provide necessities such as food for your fellow travelers?
The 13 American Colonies (SOL USI.5 a-b, 2c)
This site includes three sections about the original thirteen colonies. Students can find information about the settlers coming to all areas, characteristics of the colonies, and a look at daily life. A map with links to information about the colonies is available.
1. How did geography create differences in the development of each colony?
2. What characteristics did settlers develop that enabled them to create a new life in the colonies?
Plymouth, Massachusetts (SOL USI.5a)
Information covers the founding of Plymouth, reasons for settlement and people who lived there, including Native Americans. A link provides a virtual tour of Plymouth Plantation.
1. How did Native Americans of Massachusetts have an impact on the Pilgrims and their settlement in Plymouth?
2. What is the historical significance of the Mayflower Compact?
Jamestown Rediscovery (SOL USI.5a)
This interactive site on Jamestown allows students to view modern excavations and related illustrations to gain background information on the history of Jamestown. Students can see artifacts that have been excavated with research on their uses. The history section provides links to biographies of prominent people associated with Jamestown and correlates well with the study of Jamestown.
1. How can archaeologists cause history to be viewed differently?
2. What role did Jamestown play in the development of North America?
A Colonial Family and Community (SOL USI.5 a-b, 2c)
Students can be detectives and investigate a colonial family carrying out their daily activities in Connecticut. Because students have to answer questions to move forward, this activity gives them a quick introduction into daily life.
1. Compare life today with colonial life.
2. How did historians learn about the daily life of people in Colonial America?
The Development of the 13 Colonies (SOL USI. 5a)
An overview of the thirteen colonies can be viewed as text (with highlighted terms linked to a glossary) and can be heard as an audio recording of the text. Students access graphic organizers, maps and information on the two major concepts: economic systems and regions. This site provides excellent material to compare the colonies.
1. Which of the three regions of the thirteen colonies would have afforded the colonists the greatest religious freedom and why?
2. What environmental factors allowed the middle colonies to become known as the “breadbasket” colonies?
The Terrible Transformation (SOL USI.9a)
A history of slavery in America starts with 1450 and goes to 1865. It includes people and events, historical documents and views of modern historians on slavery topics. Many American history topics are presented from the perspective of African American slaves. A teacher’s guide provides instructional techniques that can be used without viewing the PBS series, Africans in America.
1. How did the early slave trade lead to a new social and economic system in America?
2. What challenges did African Americans face during the American Revolution?
Liberty! The American Revolution SOL USI.6a
This interactive site provides a game on the Road to Revolution, which engages the student in question format. As the student answers the questions on factors leading to the American Revolution, he is given the answers as well as information about the event.
1. Why were the colonists dissatisfied with conditions in the colonies prior to the revolution?
2. How did Great Britain provoke the colonists to rebel against their authority?
History Central: Revolutionary War (SOL USI 6.c)
This comprehensive site covers all aspects of the Revolutionary War including the causes, battles and main events, and biographies of key people involved in the war. A teacher’s guide includes activities related to categories previously stated. A book list includes a guide for related reading.
1. How did Thomas Paine’s writings contribute to the American Revolution?
2. Which event leading to the Revolutionary War had the greatest impact on the colonists?
ConstitutionFacts.com (SOL USI 7 a, b)
Topics covered include the text of the Constitution with additional facts; the text of the Declaration of Independence; the Bill of Rights; Facts and Landmark cases of the Supreme Court and information about the Founding Fathers. Teachers have access to quotes, crossword puzzles, and tests on the Constitution.
1. How did the case of Marbury v. Madison establish the role of the Supreme Court?
2. In what ways did the “Founding Fathers” help to shape our nation?
Archiving Early America (SOL USI. 5d, 6a,b)
View early American documents of the time period such as maps, documents, magazines, and pamphlets. Students are given background information as well as primary source documents.
1. What benefit can one gain from the use of primary sources in the study of history?
2. How do primary sources give one a better understanding of American history?
Virtual Tour of the American Revolution (SOL USI.6c)
While information is given on causes, the main focus is on campaigns of the American Revolution from 1777 to Valley Forge. Also included are interactive maps, a concise timeline of the war, audio music, and a couple of games.
1. Why can Valley Forge be considered a turning point of the war even though no battle was fought?
2. What would have been the outcome of the war if the Conway Cabal had succeeded in removing George Washington from power?
Ben’s Guide to U.S. Government for Kids (SOL USI.7a, b)
This is a fantastic site to teach students civics. With Ben Franklin, as a guide, leads students through facts on the U.S., individual states, and historical documents relating to government, branches of government, and a glossary of terms. This site provides interactive and printable games about government.
1. Why should each citizen have an understanding of our system of government?
2. Why should every citizen take an active role in participation in our government?
Historical Documents Scavenger Hunt (SOL USI.6b, USI.7a-b)
A scavenger hunt directs students to a review of U.S. historical documents such as the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, Constitution, Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address. Links take the students to information about each document to enable them to answer questions for the hunt.
1. Which document had the greatest impact on setting up our government, as we know it today?
2. Why did George Washington consider the government created by the Articles of Confederation to be “little more than the shadow without the substance?”
You Be The Judge (SOL USI.7 a-b)
A lesson plan on the Supreme Court directs students to sites for research. Students analyze historic Supreme Court decisions and argue their own cases. Information on individual judges is also accessible.
1. What effect can the Supreme Court have on the daily life of Americans?
2. How could a specific judge (choose one) have had an impact on past court decisions?
A Very Taxing Situation (SOL USI.6a)
Students use links to research information relating to the taxation of American colonists prior to the Revolutionary War. An activity sheet can be downloaded to guide them in the research of primary sources for a debate on both sides of the issues.
1. What effect did the Sugar and Stamp Acts have on American colonists?
2. Why did colonists feel “taxation without representation” was not to their advantage?
Spy Letters of the American Revolution (SOL USI.6c)
Students view the American Revolution through a collection of spy letters with links to stories, methods, people, spy routes and a timeline. Teachers have access to classroom activities, the interpretation of primary sources and student questions. This is an excellent site for the study of the American Revolution.
1. How did spies of the American Revolution affect the outcome of the war?
2. Why is there a need for spies in any war?
Birth of a Nation Exhibit (SOL USI.6 b, c)
An interactive site that covers the birth of our nation allows students to study documents and information from the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution. A timeline of key events from 1754 to 1770 is also available.
1. How did the Magna Carta have an impact on the writing of our Declaration of Independence?
2. How did Shays Rebellion eventually lead to the writing of the Constitution?
The PBS Kids Democracy Project (SOL USI.7 a-b)
This site allows students to explore how government affects them, the history and effect of voting, and being president for a day. This is an interactive site that gives students exposure to governmental processes in a simplified way.
1. How has the right to vote changed from the 19th century to present day?
2. How did the Founding Fathers ensure that power would be shared in the government?
PBS Liberty News (SOL USI. 6 a-d)
This interactive site about the Revolutionary War is connected with the PBS series Liberty’s Kids; however, there is enough information to be used without the series. Sections include a comprehensive site for background information, activities, and a section that compares present day to the Revolutionary War and audio clips.
1. Why do the colonists resent “taxation without representation?”
2. Why do the battles of Lexington and Concord produce “the shot heard round the world?”
History Wiz: The American Revolution (SOL USI. 6 a-d)
A multimedia presentation of the Revolutionary War starts with prewar events and goes through the surrender at Yorktown. This gives a good overview of the war and has a puzzle activity.
1. How did Benjamin Franklin have an influence on the repeal of the Stamp Act?
2. Why did colonists object to “taxation without representation”?
http://wae.com/freedom/exhibits.html (SOL USI. 6b, 7a,b)
Students study the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights as well as the Magna Carta and its link to American documents. They can link to biographies of the Founding Fathers grouped according to states. Information is also provided on the Articles of Confederation and the plans that evolved from the Constutional Convention.
1. Why did the Founding Fathers feel a need for secrecy as they developed the Constitution?
2. How did the Magna Carta of 1215 have an impact on America’s Constitution?
The American Presidency (SOL USI.7d)
A comprehensive guide to the presidents allows students to find information on issues facing these leaders in addition to facts about their lives prior to and after the presidency. A gallery of drawings is available along with the specific concerns of each president.
1. What can be considered the legacy to the U.S. left by each of the first five presidents?
2. What qualities do you think a person should possess to assume the role of president?
The War of 1812 (SOL USI.7d)
This interactive site allows students to pursue different topics of the War of 1812 including people, events and issues of war. There is access to maps, drawings, stories, portraits, and a comprehensive quiz that tests students’ knowledge of the war from the website.
1. If you were a war hawk, what argument would you present for pursuing the war?
2. Why was the Native American choice of joining the British in the war a tragic decision?
Mt. Vernon (SOL USI.7d)
This site gives aspects of George Washington’s life including biographical facts, his involvement with slavery, electronic trading cards with images, an online quiz, and activity suggestions.
1. Why was George Washington considered a “reluctant president?”
2. How did George Washington’s attitude change toward slavery, as he got older?
You Decide: Jefferson or Hamilton? (SOL USI.7c)
This interactive site introduces students to opposing views of Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. Students are led through questions with prompts from both men’s viewpoints. An interactive timeline guides the students along four different themes. NOTE: This site may be better suited for an advanced sixth grade class.
1. How did Hamilton differ in his views from Jefferson on the role of the government?
2. Which man’s vision has endured into today’s world? Explain.
Presidents of the United States (SOL USI. 7d)
This site covers all US presidents from biographical background to historical events associated with their presidencies. Links provided with each president allows students to form a picture of the man and the events of his time periods.
1. How did the Whiskey Rebellion under George Washington lead our government to our present day democratic society?
2. How did the XYZ affair under John Adams bring France and the United States to the brink of war?
National Geographic: Lewis and Clark (SOL USI.7c, d)
Four lessons on the Lewis and Clark Expedition give links to maps and activities needed for each lesson. Students connect to primary documents, photographs of sites along the expedition, and places to visit.
1. Why was land important to a growing nation?
2. If you were president, how could you justify sending explorers into an unexplored land?
PBS : Lewis and Clark film by Ken Burns (SOL USI.7c, d)
This site gives a complete background on the Lewis and Clark Expedition with information on every member of the Corps, preparations for the journey and information on every Native American tribe encountered. Archives give access to journal entries, a timeline and options to listen to or read interviews with experts. An interactive game is included as well as 17 lesson plans with reproducible student activity sheets.
1. Why could Jefferson’s expedition be considered a visionary project?
2. How could the knowledge acquired from the expedition add to the potential for the United States to become a powerful nation?
Teacher Guide: Causes of the American Civil War (SOL USI.8d)
A tour of the virtual museum of the Civil War leads one to an exhibit on abolitionists. A timeline allows students to explore abolition, sectionalism, and causes of the war. Many links provide students primary sources for their research.
1. How did the abolitionists’ contributions to the Civil War have an effect on the outcome of the war?
2. What methods of the abolitionists were the most effective for achieving their goals?
Alamo Images (SOL USI.8 a-b, 2c)
This interactive site allows students to gain information, view drawings and read about people from both sides involved in the Battle of the Alamo. Past and present pictures of the Alamo along with student activities can be used in conjunction with the site.
1. Why did the Battle of the Alamo capture the imagination of Americans to become a legendary battle?
2. Why is the Alamo considered a symbol of courage?
This research site accesses information about inventions and inventors during the 1700s. Other links on this site provide sources for topics such as explorers, geography, and transportation during the industrial revolution.
1. How did the cotton gin revolutionize the cotton industry?
2. Why would James Hargreaves’ invention, the spinning jenny, have made local spinners fearful?
The Underground Railroad (SOL USI.8d)
An interactive site on the Underground Railroad allows students to make decisions as they journey on the railroad. Students are given factual information at each stop along with introductions to the abolitionists involved in the movement. In addition to the interactive journey, there are maps, timelines and ideas for classroom use.
1. How did you feel, as a slave, taking the journey on the Underground Railroad?
2. What characteristics would an abolitionist need to work on the Underground Railroad?
PBS Kids: Rivers and Roads (SOL USI.8c)
This animated site shows the impact of transportation on rivers and roads in the 18th and 19th centuries. Topics include the Erie Canal and the building of the first steamboat. Students can access video and slide clips and activities that relate to transportation.
1. How did the building of the Erie Canal open the west to increased settlement?
2. How did the invention of the steamboat change travel in America?
The Cherokee Trail of Tears (SOL USI.8 a-b, 2c)
Links provide research into the background of the Trail of Tears as well as a look at today’s sites that honor the trek. Students can access a timeline, maps, and stories of participants.
1. What can be learned from studying the Cherokee removal called the Trail of Tears?
2. Why was this removal referred to as “the Trail of Tears?”
Sacramento Bee: The Gold Rush (SOL USI.8 a-b, 2c)
This site gives a history of the settlement of California connected to the gold rush. Maps, drawings, and artifacts help students gain an understanding of the time period from 1848 – 1850.
1. How was the Gold Rush different from other westward migration?
2. How were people changed by this migration?
The Erie Canal Online (SOL USI.8c)
Information on the Erie Canal includes facts and an audio clip of “The Erie Canal Song”. Students can access a timeline of the building of the canal and the story of a young girl traveling along the canal in pre-Civil War days.
1. What effect did the building of the Erie Canal have on westward expansion?
2. What problems would travelers on the canal have encountered in the pre-Civil War period?
The Alamo (SOL USI.8 a-b, 2c)
View the history of the Alamo in light of its involvement in the Texas Revolution. All of its defenders are listed with information on each person and a virtual tour of the Alamo and the battlefield.
1. How was the defense of the Alamo key to the defense of Texas?
2. Why is the Battle of the Alamo remembered today?
History of Agriculture and Farm Machinery (SOL USI.8c)
Through agriculture and farm innovations, students link to farm machinery and transportation in the 1700s and 1800s. Profiles on Eli Whitney, Cyrus McCormick, John Fitch, and Robert Fulton provide information on their inventions.
1. What impact did the cotton gin and reaper have on the southern economy?
2. Why did Robert Fulton become known as the “father of steam navigation” when John Fitch was the first inventor of steamboats?
Inventors of the Industrial Revolution (SOL USI.8c)
This unit on the Industrial Revolution leads students through the reason for inventions, the inventions themselves, and information on the inventor. Areas include inventions in agriculture, textiles, steam, steel, transportation, and technology.
1. How did the increase in the farm production of cotton lead to inventions in the textile industry?
2. What effect did the steam engine have on transportation?
All about the Oregon Trail (SOL USI. 8 a-b, 2 c)
Students travel the Oregon Trail by accessing audio clips from historians and interactive maps that view sections of the trail from Missouri to Washington. Primary Sources such as diaries and letters give students further historical views of the trail experience.
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (SOL USI. 8d)
Students view slavery’s past through a timeline in America, people’s stories, the Underground Railroad, and maps with information on states that were involved. There are links to other Underground Railroad sites and links for teachers to lesson plans and Web Quest units.
1. How did ordinary individuals change the course of history by serving as conductors on the Underground Railroad?
2. Why was the symbolic term “Underground Railroad” chosen for this flight to freedom?
Civil War History and Projects (SOL USI.9a, b-e)
This site provides a picture of the Civil War including events leading up to the war as well as the war battles. It deals with sectionalism and compromises as well as a look into the daily life of a soldier, his weapons, slang expressions, and other related topics. Visuals are excellent.
1. What factors influenced the development of sectionalism in the United States in the early 1800s?
2. What impact did the abolitionist movement have on the outcome of the Civil War?
Civil War and Reconstruction (SOL USI.9f, 10 a-b)
Students receive an overview of reconstruction as well as access to primary sources like s photographs, interviews, and documents. Links provide Civil War sites as well as the Reconstruction sites.
1. What difficulties were faced by the south during the Reconstruction period?
2. How does the use of primary sources enable one to better understand this period?
Causes of the American Civil War- Virtual Museum (SOL USI.8d)
A tour of the virtual museum of the Civil War leads to an exhibit on abolitionists. A timeline project allows students to explore abolition as well as sectionalism and causes of the war. Links provide students primary sources for background research.
1. How did the abolitionists’ contributions to the Civil War have an effect on the outcome of the war?
2. What methods of the abolitionists were the most effective for achieving their goals?
To Be a Slave (SOL USI.9a)
Five activities relate to slavery prior to and during the Civil War. Students complete tasks for each activity related to the book To Be a Slave by Julius Lester, which could be used as a reading source.
1. How did many slaves manage to break the chains of slavery?
2. To a slave, how could freedom represent opportunity?
Library of Congress Civil War Pictures (SOL USI.9 b-e)
Students, using selected photographs from the Civil War, analyze using provided questions and links to information. Additional photographs provide them with insight into the war and its link to industrial development in America.
1. How did the resources of both the Union and the Confederacy affect the course of the Civil War?
2. How did innovations in technology during the war have an impact on daily living after the war?
John Brown’s Holy War (SOL USI.9a)
An in-depth-look at John Brown covers his life and his involvement in Bleeding Kansas and the Raid at Harper’s Ferry. Interactive features give students images associated with his life and events. While this site can be used with PBS film, it has enough features to be used alone.
1. How did John Brown’s actions bring the United States closer to involvement in the Civil War?
2. How were John Brown’s actions not typical of most Americans of the time?
Pictures of the Civil War from Mathew Brady (SOL USI.9 b-e)
This interesting approach to the Civil War allows students to read the poetry of the Union and Confederacy and the music from both sides with audio clips. Photographs with images of the war by Mathew Grady can be viewed also.
1. Of what benefit is it to study the war through music and poetry?
2. How did Mathew Brady bring the reality of war to the public?
Teaching the Civil War (SOL USI.9a, 9b-e)
Students explore the cultural differences between the North and South prior to and during the Civil War. Information includes events that led to sectionalism, events/battles, leaders and the aftermath of the war. Activities give students opportunities to respond to questions with access to answers and explanations. This is an excellent interactive site to use for pre Civil War preparation as well as the war itself.
Africans in America (SOL USI.9a, 9b-e)
This history of slavery in America starts with 1450 and goes to 1865. It includes people and events, historical documents and views of modern historians on topics of slavery. Many topics of American history are given from the perspective of African Americans as slaves. A teacher’s guide provides instructional techniques that can be used even without viewing the PBS series, Africans in America.
The American Civil War – The Struggle to Preserve the Union (SOL USI.9 b-e)
This Civil War site examines the causes, and leaders from both sides and battles. Students view maps, photographs and primary sources to gain an overview of the war and find biographical information on northern and southern leaders.