Civics & Government Unit Studies from the LOC

The Library of Congress has loads of teaching resources, and one of them is this page of lesson plans and unit studies on American Government and Civics topics. These lessons make use of all sorts of primary resources available at the Library of Congress website, and cover a wide variety of topics. Here are some of the units you’ll find in this category:

Creating a Primary Source Archive: All History is Local

The Bill of Rights

The Constitution

The Declaration of Independence from rough draft to proclamation

George Washington’s legacy

Thomas Jefferson’s Library

Suffragists and their Tactics

… and many more.

Click Here to go to the site

Math Lessons for the fun of it

Mathematics Lessons that are Fun Fun Fun offers dozens of colorful math lessons and activities by Cynthia Lanius, from the Rice University Math Department. These very playful short lessons use some imaginative illustrations and introduce a wide variety of concepts to young students, including fractals, ratios, infinite series, calendar fun, cartography, pinwheels, polyominoes and more.

Click here to go to the site!

How to Create (& Learn From) Comics!

Are any of your kids interested in learning about cartooning and comics? Want to leverage that interest toward an educational use? Jeff Sharp at flummery.com has developed a wonderful collection of printable resources for teaching the “language of comics”. As Jeff explains: “CARTOONING is symbolic drawing. Cartoons are like the words in a sentence…the basic elements of a comic. COMICS are sequential art. Comics are like sentences…the arrangement of cartoons (and often words) within a series of panels.”

On this site, Jeff has provided links to printable guides on very basic cartooning & character creation, comic strip & comic book templates, and exercises on creating content specific comics that can teach educational concepts such as math, chemical elements, etc.

This is a great find for any beginning student who wants to learn some basics on cartooning and sequential art. They’ll love this.

Click here to go to the site!

BONUS: How to Make your own Mini-Comic! (PDF)

Teaching with Historic Places Near YOU

The NATIONAL PARK SERVICE has a site called Teaching with Historic Places which offers a series of more than 150 classroom-ready lesson plans that use different NPS historic sites as a means for exploring American history. You’ll find lessons for sites close to you, as well as just about every other state in the union.

Although designed for middle school students learning history, social studies, geography, and other subjects, TwHP lessons are easily adaptable from upper elementary through high school, and even for college courses. Each lesson includes maps, readings, and photographs, all of which are accompanied by questions. At the end, activities pull together the ideas students have just covered and require them to initiate their own research.

You can browse the collection in several ways, each of which includes a short description of every lesson:
• Location/State 
• Theme
 • Time period
 • Skill
 • Primary Source 
• National Standards for History 
• Curriculum Standards for Social Studies

Use the lessons as is, or glean what you want from them and create your own… it’s your tax dollars at work, make use of them!

Click here to go to the site

Agriculture in the Classroom x 2

Today we spotlight 2 very different sites which pretty much have the same name and focus. Both offer loads of lesson plans on agriculture topics for students of all ages, both provide completely different resources, and both are very very good:

First there’s AGRICULTURE IN THE CLASSROOM, sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom, offers a great collection of ag related lessons and resources, including math ag-tivities, barnyard math, periodic table applications unit, horses, farming, gardening and more:

Click here to go to the site!

Then there’s AGRICULTURE IN THE CLASSROOM, sponsored by the California Foundation for Agriculture in the classroom offers another collection of ag related lesson plans that also incorporate science, math, language arts, history, health and nutrition:

Click here to go to this ag lesson site!

Larry’s Animation Institute

LARRY’S ANIMATION INSTITUTE

Here, from experienced animator and instructor Larry Lauria, is a GREAT set of “how to” lessons on basic animation that any student of this artform is going to love. In the 13 hands-on lessons here, he teaches basic motion, character design, timing, posing, overlapping/repeated actions, and much more.

Click here to go to the site!

Two for Spring: Seed Babies & The Spark of Life


Seed Babies by Margaret Warner Morley (PDF ebook)

Have your children ever asked you how plants grow from tiny seeds? Or how a bird hatches from an egg? If so, you’ll love today’s resource. This is another classic “living book” by the author of “Little Wanderers”, which we featured a few weeks ago. This is a wonderful, fanciful read-aloud science book written in 1896. Two little children, Jack and Ko, discover some beans they threw to the ground have begun to sprout. And not only that, but they TALK to the children too, telling them the function of seeds and how they grow and develop into maturity. We meet different kinds of beans, peas, peanuts, nuts, and even venture into the animal kingdom and learn about coccoons, fish eggs, tadpoles, and bird eggs. Great fun and very informative!

To download today’s resource, RIGHT CLICK HERE and “save” to your computer.

Mac users, press the control button, click on the above link, then save to your computer.

THE SPARK OF LIFE by Margaret Warner Morley

The story of how living things come into the world, told for boys and girls. This is another short, sweet and delightful nature book (only 60+ pages) from the author of Little Wanderers and Seed Babies.

“No parent can truthfully say again: ‘ No one has ever told the story of life simple enough for a child to understand.’ For here it is, told as simply and beautifully as I have ever seen it told before.” – Edward Bok

To download this PDF ebook, RIGHT CLICK HERE and “save” to your computer.

Mac users: Hold down the “control” key and click the above link, then save to your mac.

Stossel in the Classroom – Free DVD

Stossel in the Classroom

John Stossel (of Fox Business Channel & formerly ABC’s 20/20) and The Center for Independent Thought have converted several of his reports into classroom teaching tools to bring lesson plans to life, and offer the DVDs free to teachers (including homeschool teachers!) to help students think critically about economics and current events.

These videos, intended for advanced middle school and high school students, are great discussion starters and are really enjoyed by students.
Here are the video segments on this year’s free DVD:
- Overregulation: When Are There Enough Rules?

- Moving Companies: Who Chooses Who Moves Our Stuff?

- Protecting Endangered Species: A Good Idea Gone Wild?

- Tough To Get a Lyft: Regulating Your Ride?

- War on Women: Fact or Fable?

- Internship Regulation: Are Unpaid Interns Exploited?

- Reputation or Regulation: Which Provides Better Consumer Protection?

- Electronic Surveillance: What’s Happening To Our Privacy?

Each of these segments runs 8-10 minutes.

To supplement the 2015 Edition video segments, they also provide a downloadable and printable Teacher Guide (available in English and Spanish) with suggested lesson plans, discussion topics, worksheets, and activities. The guides are included on the DVD, as well as being available on their Teacher’s Guides page to download.

These are totally free, even the postage. All they ask is for your feedback on the content. Hmmmm. That’s a great assignment to share with your kids, don’t you think?

CLICK HERE to go to the site!

Everyday life of the Pioneers

Screen shot 2015-03-06 at 2.54.48 PMPIONEER LIVING: Westward Expansion and Everyday Life

Here’s a great lesson guide for kids on what it was like to be a pioneer in the American west in the 1800s, published by the National Ranching Heritage Center at Texas Tech University. Sections include moving west in covered wagons, life on the prairies, the importance of the Sears catalog in the frontier, and the everyday life of pioneer children. This guide – originally created to accompany a traveling trunk exhibit of everyday pioneer tools, clothes, etc. – includes loads of hands on activities, printable games and paper dolls, cooking, mapping, and much more.

To download this ebook, RIGHT CLICK HERE and “save link” to your computer. Mac users, press the “control” key then click the link and save to your computer.