At-Home Learning Activities for High School

If you’re teaching American history or government to high school students, 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. We also have resources for prepping for the AP US History exam this year!


The Legislative Process: Congress at Work

The Legislative Process Activity

In this activity on, students analyze historical documents of the House and Senate to understand the sequence of steps in the legislative process. They reflect on how the process of legislation enables Congress to fulfill its constitutional role of representing the American people.

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

The War in Vietnam – A Story in Photographs

Photograph from the Vietnam War

In this activity on, students analyze photographs from the Vietnam War. Then they categorize the photos by topic and write captions in preparation for a photography exhibit that “tells the story of the young men and women who fulfilled their duty to their country by serving in the war.”

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

The Impact of Bloody Sunday in Selma

Selma activity

In this activity on, students examine the FBI case file about Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama.

They answer questions to show understanding of the events that took place, and how the spread of information about Selma impacted the Civil Rights Movement.

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


Nixon Visits China: The Week that Changed the World

Nixon visits China activityIn this activity on, students analyze images from President Nixon’s visit to China in 1972. They determine the sequence of events and learn more about American and Chinese cultural differences.

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


The Space Race: Project Mercury

Memorandum on the Exchange of Visits with Russian AstronautsIn this activity on, students analyze a memorandum from the seven Mercury astronauts to the Mercury director encouraging an exchange with astronauts from the Soviet Union.

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


More Activities on DocsTeach…

Getting Started with DocsTeach. A new series of 20-minute mini-webinars. Wednesdays at 2 pm ET, beginning April 15. Open to teachers and parents of all grade levels.Find 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 high school civics activities here.

Access high school history activities for post WWII here.

You can also create a free account to log in and find activities created by educators all over the world, as well as to create your own primary source-based online activities for your students. If you’re new to DocsTeach, check out our Getting Started page — and join us for our new series of upcoming mini-webinars beginning April 15.


Lesson Plans from the Truman Library

Map with stringThe Truman Library lists lessons for teachers and parents to use at home.

For example, in The Whistle Stop Tour, The Electoral College, and Demographics, students complete a set of analytical questions using primary and secondary map resources, then reflect on the Electoral College and demographics.

Find more resources on the Harry S. Truman Library & Museum website.

High School Curricular Resources from the Kennedy Library

Map showing missile rangeLesson plans and online resources are available for topics from the The Cold War – including Cuba, space, the Test Ban Treaty, and Vietnam – to civil rights and civic education.

Examples include:

Find more resources on the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum website.

Primary Source-Based Curriculum from the Reagan Library

Ronald Reagan giving a speechCurriculum units are designed to provide you with standards-based content and activities, using non-fiction texts from the archives: letters to the president, White House meeting minutes, cables from foreign leaders, and more.

Examples include Presidential Speechmaking and Speechwriting: The Great Communicator Files and President Reagan and the Cold War: Picturing the Presidency.

Find more lessons on the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum website.


Document Analysis Worksheets

Magnifying glass on documentDocument analysis is the first step in working with primary sources. Teach your students to think through primary source documents for contextual understanding and to extract information to make informed judgments.

Use these worksheets — for photos, written documents, artifacts, posters, maps, cartoons, videos, and sound recordings — to teach your students the process of document analysis.

You can also use our Analyzing Documents tool on to create interactive online document-analysis activities.

Google Arts & Culture

Split television screen Nixon on the phone and astronautsStudents can explore online exhibits on a variety of topics and visit the Presidential Libraries of the National Archives.

Topics include:

eBooks and Exhibit Guides

Representing Congress eBook

We’ve created a variety of eBooks available for PC, Mac, and mobile devices.

eBooks include, among others:


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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