An Invitation to Field Test New Civil War Learning Lab

Today’s post comes from Megan Nobriga, intern in our Education and Public Programs division.

We’re looking for DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia educators to field test a new one-hour document-based learning lab that focuses on aspects of the Civil War.

Student "Archivist" in Learning Lab

A student “archivist” during the Constitution-in-Action learning lab at the National Archives.

It was designed for high school students and takes place at the Boeing Learning Center at the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC.

In the new learning program, “The Civil War: Commemorate or Celebrate?,” students are presented with the task of making a recommendation to Congress on the creation of a new holiday to remember the Civil War. Students will help decide if this holiday should be celebratory or commemorative in nature.

The lab features primary source documents that focus on different aspects of the Civil War. Students are organized into small groups to analyze different documents based on these aspects:

  • Government,
  • Technology and Tactics,
  • Ideology,
  • Civilians,
  • Soldiers, and
  • African Americans.

Each student will analyze one document and decide whether to celebrate or commemorate the war. The students will discuss and debate their documents and decisions in their groups.

After, a large group discussion and debate will focus on how the different aspects of the Civil War support either a commemoration or a celebration.

Let us know if you’re interested in bringing your students to help field test this program! We are looking for groups that can help provide feedback as we develop this program.

Leave a comment below or contact Amber Kraft (amber.kraft@nara.gov 202-357-7496) or Megan Nobriga (megan.nobriga@nara.gov) to reserve a time and date in February for your students to come and try out our new learning lab program!

 

The Boeing Learning Center is made possible in part by the Foundation for the National Archives through the support of The Boeing Company and the William Randolph Hearst Foundation.

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The Roosevelts and Race: A Distance Learning Program

Registration is now open for two programs on February 18th: “The Roosevelts and Race in the 1930s and 40s” at 10:00–10:50 a.m. and 2:00–2:50 p.m. CST.

Despite overwhelming support from the African American electorate, FDR’s fear of losing the support of long-serving southern Democrats in Congress kept him from becoming a champion of civil rights.

This session will explore the Roosevelt record on race by highlighting three specific events: Mrs. Roosevelt’s 1939 resignation from the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR); Executive Order 8802, which ended discrimination in the defense industries; and the creation of the all-black 99th Pursuit Squadron, the “Tuskegee Airmen.”

People Gathered to Hear Singer Marian Anderson in Potomac Park

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt worked to arrange this concert; 75,000 people gathered to hear Marian Anderson sing after she had been denied the right to perform at Constitution Hall.

“The Roosevelts and Race in the 1930s and 40s” is presented by the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum as part of the Presidential Primary Sources Project (PPSP).

The Presidential Primary Sources Project offers a series of free, 50-minute, interactive videoconferencing programs to students all over the world. PPSP is a collaboration between the National Park Service, U.S. Presidential Libraries and Museums, other cultural and historic organizations, and the Internet2 community.

Students will interact live with presidential historians at museums and Presidential Libraries and park rangers at our National Presidential Historic Sites to explore historical themes and events. This year’s PPSP theme is “Human and Civil Rights.” In addition to live interactive discussion, primary source documents will be used extensively during the presentations. Each program will also be live streamed (no registration required) and archived for on demand viewing.

Watch the archived program “President Truman and Civil Rights,” presented by the Harry S. Truman Library & Museum from February 4, 2015. The presentation examined primary sources from the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum and evaluated Truman’s response to the mistreatment of African American veterans.

Look for “Segregation and a Controversial Tea Party at the White House” presented by the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and The White House Historical Association coming up on March 13.

See the list of presentations by our Presidential Libraries on www.archives.gov/education/distance-learning and the full presentation schedule from PPSP.

You can learn more about PPSP at http://k20.internet2.edu/presidents or on the PPSP Facebook page.

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Recorded National History Day Workshops

Today’s post comes from Elizabeth Dinschel, education specialist at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, and NHD webinar coordinator.

Do your students need help with research or polishing up their National History Day (NHD) project?

The National Archives and Records Administration, with National History Day, the White House Historical Association, and the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, held several online workshops to help students navigate National History Day.YouTube playlist

The workshops were recorded and are available on our website along with more NHD resources.

The latest, “Ask an Archivist,” covered key components to wrapping up research and projects. Students will learn how to frame reference questions so that archivists and professional staff can assist them with research. The webinar also features important guidance for visiting a historic site, conducting oral history interviews, asking experts for advice, and refining a thesis statement.

Screen Shot from Using Primary and Secondary Sources

Using Primary and Secondary Sources,” geared towards NHD students and their teachers, leads off with a message from the Archivist of the United States. This important webinar can help your students understand the complexities of primary and secondary sources, which improves their annotated bibliographies. If a student is struggling with their bibliography, this webinar can walk them through the differences between primary and secondary sources.

All of the NHD workshops can be found at www.archives.gov/education/history-day/workshops.html or on YouTube.

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A Legacy Ended too Soon: The Mystery of Amelia Earhart

Today’s post comes from Chelsea Tremblay, former social media intern in our Education and Public Programs division.

Amelia Earhart prior to last takeoff, ca. 1937. Archives Identifier 670861

Amelia Earhart prior to last takeoff, National Archives Identifier 670861

This year’s National History Day theme, Leadership and Legacy in History, opens the door for millions of topics that span world history. Today we shine a spotlight on a legacy that ended too soon, but one with a story that has not yet ended.

In 1937, Amelia Earhart embarked on an aerial adventure around the world. For years she dreamed of this adventure; she even wrote to President Roosevelt asking for help making her dream a reality.

Letter from Earhart to Roosevelt

Page 1 of Letter from Earhart to Roosevelt, National Archives Identifier 6705943

On July 2nd, as her circumnavigation was just beginning, she and her navigator, Fred Noonan, mysteriously disappeared over the Pacific ocean. According to these navy records, Earhart began signaling distress around 11 a.m. after her departure from New Guinea, communicating that “failure of the flight was imminent.”

When searchers finally reached Earhart’s supposed location the next morning, the weather conditions were too poor to see anything, so they were forced to return to their bases. At the bottom of the following document, you can see Lieutenant Harvey’s description of the dismal conditions.

U. S. Navy Report of the Search for Amelia Earhart. Archives Identifier 305240

U. S. Navy Report of the Search for Earhart, National Archives Identifier 305240

Neither a plane nor bodies were found after the sudden disappearance. The two were never seen or heard from again.

Multiple theories have circled over the years: that Earhart’s plane crashed into the Pacific, resulting in her and Noonan’s death; the two traveled safely back to the United States and lived peacefully with secret identities; she was really a spy and was shot down by enemies of the US; and that the two landed on an abandoned island and lived out the rest of their days there.

The last theory is one popularly defended by The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR). They believe she and Noonan spent the last of their days on an uninhabited island south of Hawaii called Nikumaroro. According to this Huffington Post article, several items have been found on the island to suggest that Earhart was there, but there’s never been concrete evidence.

Until last October.

On October 25, 2014 TIGHAR published an intensive theory about a seemingly unimportant piece of metal found on Nikumaroro in 1991. According to their research, the metal sheet was used as a makeshift patch over a rear window of Earhart’s plane. If this is true, it would would be the first piece of Earhart’s vanished plane ever found.

This discovery comes at a great time for students who are deciding on National History Day topics. This year’s theme, Leadership and Legacy, has led numerous kids to think more about Amelia Earhart and her impact on society. She was an inspirational, powerful female figure and even once said to FDR, “Like previous flights, I am undertaking this one solely because I want to, and because I feel that women now and then have to do things to show what women can do.”

Those researching her can look through the report mentioned above, and even trace the military’s search pathway to see if they agree with TIGHAR’s Nikumaroro theory.

Find more resources for National History Day on our website!

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100 Leaders in World History

Our partner National History Day (NHD) invites students and people of all ages to think about the idea of leadership through their 100 Leaders in World History project at www.100leaders.org.

NHD 100 Leaders Image 1

Vote — and involve your students in voting — for your favorite leaders. Or, if you think a leader is missing, add to the list!

NHD developed the 100 Leaders in World History project in conjunction with this year’s NHD annual contest theme, Leadership and Legacy in History, to help future leaders better understand leadership.

You can use our special DocsTeach NHD page to get your students thinking about leadership and legacy in our history, through online activities and primary sources. Or use our main online catalog to locate primary sources related to specific leaders such as Eleanor RooseveltMao ZedongNelson MandelaFidel CastroAlbert EinsteinThurgood Marshall, or Thomas Jefferson.

NHD 100 Leaders Image 2

The 100 Leaders in World History project looks at past leaders who have made a significant impact on the world and examines how studying their experiences can help the next generation of leaders think about the role of leadership today and the type of legacy they want to leave behind. Through the project, NHD encourages students to identify those leaders whom they should emulate and those they should revile.

History is filled with leaders from around the world who have made a significant impact on the present. “We need leaders,” said NHD Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn. “More specifically, we need moral and dedicated leaders who will wisely guide the next generation of world leaders.”

NHD 100 Leaders Image 3

For this project, 20 teachers, historians, and students met, debated, and agreed upon a list of 100 Leaders in World History. The list is not inclusive of every leader in history, but contains people whose actions impacted the world.

See the full Leader Gallery, vote, check out “Who’s Trending Now?,” and find classroom resources at www.100leaders.org.

And find even more NHD resources from the National Archives on our website at www.archives.gov/education/history-day.

Images from the NHD 100 Leaders in World History site depict Napoleon Bonaparte, Aung San Suu Kyi, Joan of Arc, Sitting Bull, Leonardo da Vinci, Rachel Carson, Hammurabi, Nelson Mandela, and Christopher Columbus.

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Congress Creates the Bill of Rights: iPad App and Educational Resource

Congress Creates the Bill of Rights, our new mobile app for iPads, is an interactive learning tool that allows students to explore the proposals, debates, and revisions that shaped the Bill of Rights. In addition to the app, we’ve also created a series of activities to analyze the app in your classroom.

Close-up on Compromise in Bill of Rights App

By using our app and accompanying activities, students will study the featured document, Senate Revisions to the House Proposed Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, and go inside the First Congress as Madison and the leaders of rival political factions worked in the House and Senate to formulate amendments to change the recently ratified Constitution.

Unlocking the App, Activity 1

Divide the class into small groups. Each group will analyze the featured document using the app or facsimile, Worksheet 1, and Worksheet 2. After the members of each group have completed the worksheets, each group will discuss the following questions:

  • What was the purpose the featured document?
  • What is the historical significance of the featured document?
  • What insight does it lend into the time in which it was created?

When each group has finished sharing and discussing, each group will select a spokesperson to share the group’s results with the class.

Unlocking the App, Activity 2

Divide the class into small groups. Use Worksheet 3 to analyze one issue from the Issues and Positions feature of the app.

Unlocking the App, Activity 3

Divide the class into small groups or have them work individually. Use Worksheet 4 to analyze the First Amendment (House Proposed Articles Three and Four) at each step of its revision in Congress as detailed in the Close Up on Compromise feature of the app. When the students complete the worksheet direct the class to compare and contrast the versions of the proposed amendment at each date reflected.

  • At which date was the proposed amendment the most different from the final text of the First Amendment?
  • Which additional changes in wording (if any) would make the First Amendment a better match for today’s world?

Unlocking the App, Activity 4

Divide the class into small groups or have them work individually. Assign each group an amendment as detailed in the Amendments in Process feature of the app. Use Worksheet 5 to analyze each assigned amendment. Use Worksheet 6 to detail whether the proposed idea changed or stayed the same at each step of its progress. (Attach additional pages as needed.) Use Worksheet 7 to reflect on how Congress changed the amendment from its proposal to its final condition.

Reflection

These questions provide an opportunity to reflect on four important historical issues about the First Congress and the Bill of Rights. They can be considered before or after exploring the app, and they can be addressed individually or in a group discussion.

Many feel that without James Madison’s leadership there would have been no Bill of Rights. At the same time, the Bill of Rights that was created was not exactly what Madison had originally proposed.

  • Taking stock of Madison’s leadership and achievement in proposing amendments, how successful was he as a leader in the creation of the Bill of Rights?
  • If Madison had not provided leadership on amendments, and if the First Congress had not started the process of creating the Bill of Rights, how might the history of the early republic have been different?

Anti-Federalist leader Aedanus Burke (SC) dismissed James Madison’s proposed amendments as “little better than whip syllabub, frothy, full of wind, formed only to please the palate.”

  • Why might an Anti-Federalist have expressed this opinion?
  • Did his assessment have some validity?

Following the suggestion of Roger Sherman, Congress decided to attach the Bill of Rights to the end of the Constitution rather than accepting James Madison’s approach to change the text of the document itself.

  • How might the Constitution and Bill of Rights have been affected by following Madison’s approach instead of Sherman’s?

Creating the Bill of Rights was one of the early accomplishments that demonstrated that the First Congress could serve as a forum to resolve important national issues.

  • How did the legislative process by which each amendment was considered bring different points of view to bear upon the amendments and allow different voices to shape each of them?

See this lesson online for more information on using it in your classroom.

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A Variety of Resources for Educators

Today’s post comes from Chelsea Tremblay, former social media intern in our Education and Public Programs division.

On November 13, we hosted our first Educators’ Open House. Educators from various grade levels came to learn what the National Archives has to offer. Snacks were served, laughs were had, and resources were shared!

Here are just some of our programs that we featured:

Distance Learning

Videoconferences and webinars are a great way to utilize our resources without having to travel. Educators' Open House

We offer both videoconferences for students and professional development webinars for educators. Visit our website to learn more and request programs.

The Constitution-In-Action Learning Lab

This fun, hands-on activity available for student field trips takes place in our replica “stacks” (where documents are stored) and research rooms. Groups of 12-36 participants can sign up for this simulation with an in-depth focus on the U.S. Constitution.

Educators' Open House

Student groups focus on different parts of the Constitution while helping the president’s “press secretary” organize a mock Constitution-in-Action campaign. As “archivists” and “researchers,” they must demonstrate why the Constitution is important and how it has been influential throughout history.

The lab is free but a reservation is required. Visit our website for more information.

Bill of Rights eBook and iPad App

The Center for Legislative Archives, part of the National Archives, launched a free mobile app and eBook called Congress Creates the Bill of Rights, in honor of the 225th anniversary of the Bill of Rights’ proposal, on Constitution Day (September 17). Both describe the tedious process of writing and agreeing upon the first 10 Constitutional Amendments, and why they were necessary.

Educators at Open HouseThe eBook and app are available for free at the iTunes store and the webpage of the Center for Legislative Archives.

Online Resources

DocsTeach — Our online tool for teaching with documents from the National Archives offers tools for building online activities using digitized primary sources. An entire section of this website is dedicated to National History Day. Other special DocsTeach Pages can be found on our website.Founders Online

Founders Online — Our searchable archive of the correspondence and other writings of six of the Founding Fathers.

Our main online catalog — Our database provides the most expansive access to our millions of digitized primary sources.

Exhibits

During the Open House, we extended our museum’s exhibit hours so that visitors could see the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights and our permanent and temporary exhibits. You can visit them yourself seven days a week, 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m. (except Thanksgiving Day & Christmas Day).

Check out images from our Open House on Flickr and keep your eyes peeled for our fall 2015 Educators’ Open House!

 

The Educators’ Open House was made possible in part by the Foundation for the National Archives through the support of the William Randolph Hearst Foundation.

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Primary Sources With Some Help from Historypin

Today’s post comes from Kris Jarosik, education specialist at the National Archives at Chicago.

When funds for field trips are sparse or non-existent, turn to the next best thing – combining primary sources and geography using technology.Historypin app screenshot

During a recent teacher workshop, we partnered with the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County and used a website and app called Historypin to help teachers learn about the origins of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a New Deal program, and the lasting impact in our community.

Historypin brings you out into a community and allows you to see changes in the landscape with primary sources, such as photographs, overlaid or “pinned” on Google maps.

You can do the same for your students, whether it’s creating your own Historypin tour or collection, or using pre-existing samples.

Chicago CCC Workshop ParticipantsIn the case of our workshop, we decided on a local topic that would benefit from a visual treatment to help students learn about change over time and cause and effect. The remnants of the McDowell Grove CCC camp offered lessons not only about the scope of this New Deal program, but also about changing values in natural resource management (the conservation movement and today’s environmentalists).

With these objectives in mind, we identified historical photographs from the National Archives, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, and other local repositories. Scanning these images, uploading to Historypin, and crafting captions came next.  Historypin has created a downloadable guide and a set of “how to” video clips on YouTube to help.  We used a Historypin collection for our McDowell Grove exploration since most of the camp remains are not currently available on Google Street View.

Taking a tour and viewing historic photographs on-site with mobile devices and the Historypin app can allow you to see something like in these screenshots captured by one of the teachers who participated in our workshop.

[slideshow_deploy id=’2928′]

But if on-site, smartphone traversing is not feasible, head to the Historypin web site and have your students explore inside.  The tour option works exceptionally well for a computer experience.  For example, have students learn about the tumultuous 1960s with the National Archives’ 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago tour.

Thousands of cultural institutions and individuals around the world, including the National Archives and the Forest Preserve District of Du Page County, have Historypin profiles with tours and collections.  Have fun and help your students connect with history by using primary sources and geography to travel back to the past.

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National Archives Documents in New iPad App–The New Immigrants: NYC 1880-1924

The New Immigrants: NYC 1880-1924

Over thirty National Archives documents are part of a free educational app for the iPad called the New Immigrants: NYC 1880-1924. Created by the New York City Department of Education (via app developer Vanguard Direct), the app includes photographs, written documents, graphs and charts from the National Archives related to the topic of New York City immigration near the turn of the 20th century.

In addition to the 100+ images from National Archives, the app brings together primary sources from the Museum of the City of New York, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, and the Museum of Jewish Heritage—a Living Memorial to the Holocaust.     Each partner provided about 25 documents from their collections that they felt would help students and teachers at all levels (Elementary, Middle, and High School) engage in the study of immigration.  Educators from these institutions then met with teachers and staff from across the five boroughs of New York City for 2 days at the National Archives to begin the process of analyzing, sorting, and creating questions for these primary sources.

In New York City public schools, immigration is taught during 4th grade, 8th grade and 11th grade units of US History.  While the New Immigrant’s intended audience are those specific classrooms, the diverse collection of primary sources provides teachers, students, and history buffs in general with resources that could help foster a deeper understanding of this complex topic. The app could be used by teachers to engage students in a dynamic class discussion, by students to create their own collections or respond to an assignment, or by the general public to intrigue them to learn more about some of the stories behind these images.

The New Immigrants: NYC 1880-1924 Themes

Documents are organized into topic areas that touch on important themes in teaching immigration–including the Migration Process, Tenement Life, and Nativism.

The New Immigrants: NYC 1880-1924 The Migration Process

A quick swipe of a finger allows the user to browse thumbnails of related documents.  For example, in the section titled “Earning a Living,” photographs of children working in tenements, an article from the Brooklyn Standard Union about the role of immigrants in certain industries, and a protest following the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire are available.

The New Immigrants: NYC 1880-1924 Earning a Living

Click on any of these documents thumbnails, and a document detail page loads providing background information about the document.  On this page, users can also zoom in and crop the document, find text-based questions for a variety of grade levels and even add the document to their own collections.  The document detail page also provides Tags that link to other related documents. For example, the Passenger arrival manifest of the SS Nevada, the first ship processed at Ellis Island on January 1, 1892, is tagged with terms such as Arrival, Ellis Island, and Push-Pull Factors.

New Immigrants Document Detail

For teachers using the app, each document has several text-dependent questions that require students to analyze and look deep within the document for answers.  With the photograph of demonstration protesting and mourning the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, questions tiered for all grades are provided.

Photo Oct 27, 4 52 31 PMJust a quick tap on the plus sign on the document details page allows teachers and students to create their own collections of related documents.  These collections can then be explored by within the app itself or shared via email with others (including non-iPad users) as a downloadable PDF.  For example, users could create and share a collection of just the National Archives documents included within the app to have their students gain a better sense of the changing Federal role in immigration during this time period.

The New Immigrants Collections

For teachers that want their students to explore the topic of immigration through a deeper Document Based Question (DBQ), several are provided for each grade level that focus on a specific theme in the study of immigration.  For each of these DBQs, related historical thinking skill standards and Common Core State Standards strands are provided.  In the performance task designed for 8th graders titled “The Immigrant Experience on New York’s Lower East Side”, students are given 10 documents from the collection and are tasked to write a newspaper article that cites specific evidence from at least four of these documents to explain the opportunities and challenges of the immigrant experience.

The New Immigrants: Teaching ImmigationEach activity also includes a short “Ken Burns” style documentary narrated by Historian Edward T. O’Donnell to provide some historical context and educational scaffolding to the primary source documents.

The New Immigrants: Teaching Immigration

 

Reviews and comments in iTunes for the app have been overwhelmingly positive with 23 five star reviews.  User nwonderful resource for teachers, students and history buffs. It’s amazing to have all of these primary documents literally at your fingertips.”  And Missbiss1980 called it an “inspiring teacher resource” that led her to develop a new project for her students to analyze primary sources and create documentaries using iMovie.

Download it today!: The New Immigrants: NYC 1880-1924 on the App Store on iTunes.

 

 

 

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Voting Rights Today Contest for Texas 12th Graders

The LBJ Foundation invites all 12th-grade Texas students to enter the 2015 “Voting Rights Today” Essay and Documentary Contest to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act.

The focus of this year’s essay and documentary contest is “Voting Rights Today.” The Voting Rights Act was passed as a result of the widespread disenfranchisement of countless Americans who were denied the right to vote based on their race, gender, or class. This act enforced the right to vote nationwide guaranteed by the fifteenth and nineteenth amendments.

Submissions will be accepted January 1–26, 2015.

Prizes include:

  • $2,500 first place award, plus travel for the winner and his/her parent to attend the award ceremony in April 2015
  • $1,000 second place award
  • $1,000 award to first place student’s sponsoring teacher, plus travel to attend award ceremony

For full contest details, including eligibility and requirements, visit the LBJ Library’s Voting Rights Today page.

Download the 2015 Voting Rights Today Contest Flier (PDF).

Flier2015_Page_1

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