History Teacher Resources

Find History educational ideas and activities

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What is an oral history interview? What goes into the planning and what should be said? Why is it important that we know and learn from oral history? This is an excellent worksheet to support your young historians as they conduct interviews and gather first-person accounts of historical events. Beginning with a description of an oral history interview, the worksheet includes instruction on how to choose the interview subject, introduce yourself as an interviewer, design appropriate questions to acquire details, and design questions for follow-up. The resource also explains an interview's ability to add a personal dimension to the study of the past and provides key tips for actually conducting the interview.
Using places can help students identify with the history-making women associated with them.
Is there a relationship between mathematics and history? In this video, Jean-Baptiste Michel explains how our technological advancements will afford many opportunities for mathematics to play an integral role in revealing key trends in our history. This could be a great start to an interdisciplinary project, or prompt a simple discussion on how mathematics can possibly help us to answer questions about where mankind has been and the decisions it will make in the years to come. 
Compare and contrast old and modern historical accounts of the life of Thomas Jefferson. Learners begin by evaluating the responsibilities of history textbooks in reporting historical events, people, and eras. Next, they discuss how new information should be used to enhance the information contained in standard texts. This exercise could be used as a critical thinking activity for your class.
The history of the northern states' involvement in the slave trade is not widely known. This resource uses the PBS documentary, Traces of the Trade, and the nonfiction book, Children of the New England Slave Trade, to examine this aspect of slavery in the US. Both works are the result of the author's accidental discovery that an ancestor, living in the North, was a slave holder. After discussing the issues raised by these texts, individuals are encourage to search their own family trees to uncover stories in their family histories. 
Students consider how we learn about the past and discuss how the framing of history is always done by the person who is telling it. They construct a personal and class timelines, compare two or more accounts of the same event and record oral histories from members of their family.
Teachers can use these art history lesson plans as a way to get students to look at art in a new light.
African-American history is an integral part of what America is. Learners examine important events, read informational texts, and create quilts depicting specific eras in African-American history. Each image created for the quilt will be followed by a written explanation of its significance. This is a great lesson plan, it is appropriate for any time of the year.
By discussing the history of photography, students can learn about this art and its importance in recording major events.
Peek into the art and history of ancient Mexico by analyzing the artifact Stone Serpent Heads. Learners examine images of the piece, discuss its origin, history, and significance. They experience the carving process by creating similar pieces from clay or soap. The instructional activity culminates in a creative writing project where they write from the perspective of a carver from Tenochtitlan.
Economic principles and world history are beautifully woven together in this history presentation on medieval Indian Ocean trading. The narrator discusses the unprecedented self-regulation executed by merchants along the Indian Ocean trade routes, as well as reviews the importance of monsoon winds and the spread of products, ideas, and the religion of Islam. 
Using individual computers, class members read a story and listen to oral histories of Madison County. They then conduct a scavenger hunt to locate items on the list. Although designed for Madison County, North Carolina, the approaches detailed here could be used for any area to model for learners how locate the geography reflected in oral histories.
"To understand the present, we have to imagine the future." In his final video in the series, the narrator discusses an array of considerations tied to globalization, such as the implications of individualism, our impact on the environment and unsustainable use of the planet's resources, and the world's recent dramatic ideological shift in a turn toward democracy. He is able to weave a general reflection of global history into a powerful consideration of humans as historical forces, and prompts learners to see our decisions in a broader context.
For such a complex and lengthy topic, Mr. Green does a great job of introducing and/or quickly summarizing the major tenets of Indian cultural and religious history, as well as the origins of Buddhism. Topics covered in this episode include the Vedas, caste system, Dharma, the Bhagavad Gita, Siddhartha Guatama, and the Eightfold Path.
In this episode of Crash Course History, John Green whips through the evolution of communism in twentieth-century China. He covers topics from Sun Yat Sen's founding of the Republic of China to Mao Zedong's democratic dictatorship and cultural revolution. Be aware that this really is a "crash course", and very complex historical events are summarized in brief.
"Is capitalism competition natural and good, or should there be systems in place to check it for the sake of our collective well-being?" Explore the complexity and history behind capitalism and socialism in Crash Course World History #33. Though he presents information quickly, Green also extensively dissects these broad economic concepts, highlighting key personalities in their development, terms such as industrial and mercantilism capitalism, as well as class struggle and communism. Tip: Have learners watch the videos once with one central question in mind, and then re-watch the video stopping at various points for class to take notes and discuss concepts.
Bring U.S. history to your language arts class with this lesson. Middle schoolers complete an interview for an oral history project, and discuss the importance of oral histories - and how they embellish written accounts. They write questions, interview, and write a report analyzing their findings, connecting with the era of the person interviewed.
Students explore women's history through films and filmaking. They explore various websites, conduct research on a famous woman, and in small groups write and produce a screenplay based on an autobiographical narrative.
Black History Month is a time to recognize the achievements of our civil rights heroes while looking toward the future with a vision of equality for all.
In this lesson students research an important event in American history and use drama, art, music, and dance to express their findings. Suggested activities include illustrating a time line, decorating a shoe box, reciting a speech, putting on a play, or singing a traditional song from a particular time period.