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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Lesson Plans

One of Teaching with Historic Places' primary offerings is a series of classroom-ready lesson plans. Created by National Park Service interpreters, preservation professionals, and educators, these lessons use historic sites to explore American history.

All of the lessons are available free of charge on the Web. On-line lesson plans are ready for immediate use in the classroom. They can be used directly on the computer or they can be printed out, photocopied, and distributed to students.

You can browse the collection in four ways, each of which includes a short description of every lesson:

* Location/State;
* Theme;
* Time period;
* Skill;
* National Standards for History;
* Curriculum Standards for Social Studies.

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.

Each TwHP lesson plan links both to relevant United States History Standards for Grades 5-12 and also to relevant Performance Expectations for Middle Grades from the national Curriculum Standards for Social Studies. For more information about the National Standards for History, please visit their website. To learn more about the national Standards for Social Studies, please visit the National Council for the Social Studies website.

All lessons are based on sites listed in the National Register of Historic Places, which include historic units of the National Park System, National Historic Landmarks, and places with state and local significance. Lessons plans that feature units of the National Park System, National Historic Landmarks, and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Sites are noted in each categorized index. National Historic Landmarks are nationally significant historic places designated by the Secretary of the Interior because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States. Designated by the World Heritage Committee, UNESCO World Heritage Sites are cultural and natural heritage sites around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.

We welcome your comments and suggestions on how you've used the lesson plans, what's good about them, and how they could be improved.

In the fall of 1998, TwHP and the National Park Foundation created a curriculum kit that brought stories from six of our national parks into the classroom. While the original boxed kits, funded by Target Stores and The Eureka Company, were all distributed at Target stores, TwHP has posted much of that material on this Web site.

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