At-Home Learning Activities for Middle School

If you’re teaching civics or American history to Middle School students (or have a middle schooler at home with you!), check out these online activities and lesson plans from around the National Archives and Presidential Libraries. History activities map to WWII and later in the American history curriculum.

 

The Legislative Race

The Legislative Race board game

By playing this downloadable board game from the Center for Legislative Archives, students will experience the law-making process designed by the Founders and incorporated into the Constitution. The game is intended to introduce students to the important role Congress plays in our republic.

Find more lessons and teaching tools from the Center for Legislative Archives.


Checks and Balances in Action

DocsTeach Activity

In this activity on DocsTeach.org, students analyze documents that span the course of American history to see examples of “checks and balances” between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches in action.

Students match the documents they have examined with an appropriate description of the branches of government involved in the action.

Click the “Start Activity” button to launch the interactive student activity.

 


Three Branches of Government Interactive Teaching Unit

Capitol Building, White House, and Supreme CourtStudents can complete this unit from the Truman Library over three weeks or in a condensed project format. This series of activities allows students to gain basic information about the three branches of government and to complete tasks that relate to each branch. Included are research links, worksheets, a How A Bill Becomes A Law game, and a Government Crossword Puzzle.

Find more online resources for at-home use on the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum website.


A President’s Day

John F. Kennedy meeting with Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Maxwell D. TaylorIn this lesson plan from the Kennedy Library for grades 5-8, students examine a day in the President’s life to identify the specific roles of the Chief Executive of the United States.

They review what the Constitution says about the president’s job, consider how it’s changed, and collect information on the presidency today.

Find more lessons on the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum website. (Image: John F. Kennedy meeting with Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Maxwell D. Taylor. Available on DocsTeach)


We Shall Overcome: March on Washington

Girl at March on Washington

In this activity on DocsTeach.org, students examine a photograph from the March on Washington, discover the reasons behind the March, and analyze the impact and consequences on the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.

Click the “Start Activity” button to launch the interactive student activity.


Analyzing a Letter to Congress About Bloody Sunday

SelmaIn this activity on DocsTeach.org, students will focus on a letter written to Congress about Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama. The author was aware of the events because of television coverage. Students will look at the author’s tone and word choice to discern the kinds of images shown on television.

Click the “Start Activity” button to launch the interactive student activity.


Introduction to the Domino Theory and Containment Policy in Vietnam

Poster with a vulture and skullIn this activity on DocsTeach.org, students analyze a propaganda poster to better understand propaganda techniques and the perceived threat of communism in the 1950s. They will be introduced to the domino theory and the implementation of the U.S. containment policy in Vietnam.

Click the “Start Activity” button to launch the interactive student activity.


More Activities on DocsTeach…

DocsTeach Bring History to Life National ArchivesFind even more online teaching activities on DocsTeach, our interactive website where students can investigate historical documents and photographs to make sense of the past.

Access middle school civics activities here.

Access middle school history activities for post WWII here.

 


Online Student Programs with the Presidential Libraries and National Archives

Distance Learning for students from the National Archives

We also offer free, online interactive learning programs!

Join the Presidential Libraries and National Archives weekly for programs for preschool through grade 12.

Learn more.

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