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Social Studies

Classroom Activities


U.S. History Pre-1800 to Present

Building on Ground Zero
In "Learning from Disasters," students research safety feature and building code changes that were recommended in response to major disasters, including fire, hurricanes, and terrorist acts. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Great Inca Rebellion, The
In ""The Tale Bones Tell," students analyze actual data from two prehistoric communities--a hunting community and an agricultural community--to infer the impacts of diet on health. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Missing in MiG Alley
In "Changing the Face of War," students research the technological advances, tactical strategies, and roles aircraft have played in the United States' five major international conflicts of the 20th century. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Pocahontas Revealed
In "Examining an American Myth," students rewrite the story of Pocahontas based on archeological and historical evidence. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Search for the Lost Cave People
In "Material Possessions," students examine primary source documents to draw inferences about 17th century American colonists. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Secrets of Making Money
In "Bucking Trends," students design paper currency to investigate properties of different kinds of materials. Grades 6-8.

Space Shuttle Disaster
In "U.S. Space Exploration Time Line" research the progression of U.S. manned space exploration and learn the causes of the Challenger and Columbia shuttle accidents. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Sultan's Lost Treasure
In "Where, When, and Who?," students interpret four different sets of artifacts to determine the country, time period, and person associated with each. Grades 6-8.

The Spy Factory
In "National Security vs. Individual Rights," students consider the tradeoffs between fortifying national security and maintaining civil liberties. Grades 6-8, 9-12.


World History 1500 A.D. to Present

Codebreakers
In "Codemaker's Guidelines," students learn about codes and then create their own to encipher a message. Grades 6-8.

Decoding Nazi Secrets
In "Operation Decode," students experience how ciphers can conceal and protect information. Grades 6-8.

In Search of the First Language
In "Getting the Word Out," students match sources and definitions to a set of words and consider their origins. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Missing in MiG Alley
In "Changing the Face of War," students research the technological advances, tactical strategies, and roles aircraft have played in the United States' five major international conflicts of the 20th century. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Nazi Designers of Death
In "The Selection," students read a reflection of Auschwitz life by Elie Wiesel and suggest ways for gathering evidence to support the author's claims. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Secrets of the Parthenon
In "A Monumental Puzzle," use a viewing guide while watching the program about the reconstruction of the Parthenon and discuss answers to questions related to the monument after watching. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Secrets of the Samurai Sword
In "Mixed-Up Metals" students explore the characteristics of metals and produce a series of posters on different alloys, outlining their properties and how they are used. Grades 6-8.

Secrets, Lies, and Atomic Spies
In "Puzzling Messages," students break a code and explore the skills required in this form of analytical thinking. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Shackleton's Voyage of Endurance
In "Weighty Decisions," students decide what to rescue from the sinking Endurance and compare those decisions to ones made by Sir Ernest Shackleton. Grades 3-5, 6-8, 9-12.

Sultan's Lost Treasure
In "Where, When, and Who?," students interpret four different sets of artifacts to determine the country, time period, and person associated with each. Grades 6-8.

The Bible's Buried Secrets
In "Deciphering the Past," explore how linguistic analysis can be used to help identify sources of a text as well as relative time periods in which the text was written. Grades 9-12.

The Spy Factory
In "National Security vs. Individual Rights," students consider the tradeoffs between fortifying national security and maintaining civil liberties. Grades 6-8, 9-12.


World History Prehistory to 1500 A.D.

Cracking the Maya Code
In "Calendar Count" students investigate how scientists began to understand the meaning of Maya glyphs and determine their own birth date using the Maya Long Count calendar system. Grades 6-8, 9-12

Fireworks!
In "History of Fireworks," students create timelines that trace the evolution of various aspects of fireworks from their invention to today. Grades 3-5, 6-8.

Great Inca Rebellion, The
In ""The Tale Bones Tell," students analyze actual data from two prehistoric communities--a hunting community and an agricultural community--to infer the impacts of diet on health. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

In Search of Human Origins, Part I
In "Locating the Evidence," students plot and analyze locations of important African finds in the search for early human remains. Grades 6-8.

In Search of Human Origins, Part III
In "Back to the Present," students provide anthropologists of the future with clues about a 21st century classroom. Grades 6-8.

Infinite Secrets
In "Archimedes' Recipe for Pi," students duplicate the method Archimedes used to estimate the value of pi. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Lost King of the Maya
In "Calendar Count," students learn about and apply the Maya Long Count calendar system. Grades 6-8.

Lost Treasures of Tibet
In "Designing a Mandala," students consider angles and geometric shapes as they create a mandala-style piece of art. Grades 3-5, 6-8.

Mummy Who Would Be King, The
In "Matters of Mummification," students use descriptive clues to determine the culture and method of mummification of various mummies. Grades 6-8.


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Social Studies
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