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FREE Resources: A Baker's Dozen for Social Studies

More than 30 Federal agencies formed a working group in 1997 to make hundreds of federally supported teaching and learning resources easier to find. The result of that work is the FREE web site. FREE stands for Federal Resources for Educational Excellence. The web sites listed below are excerpted with permission from the FREE web site. This month, we highlight 10 web sites for social studies; in future months, we will feature other subject areas.

Constitution Resources features tools for learning about the U.S. Constitution. Meet the 55 delegates who gathered in Philadelphia in May 1787 to rewrite the Articles of Confederation. Learn what issues they faced. Discover the sources that inspired them. Read the essays printed in NYC papers urging ratification of their proposal. Explore a 200-year timeline showing the impact of their work, the Constitution, on our history. Search the Constitution and see explanations of 300 topics. (Department of Education)

1492: An Ongoing Voyage — Exhibit examines the rich mix of societies coexisting in the New World before Europeans arrived. It looks at what was life like here before 1492; how Europeans, Africans, and Americans reacted to each other; and the immediate results of their contact. (Library of Congress)

1900 America: Historical Voices, Poetic Visions — Lesson, Learning Page
A lesson plan in which students create their own multi-media epic poems about the year 1900. Walt Whitman’s "Song of Myself" and Hart Crane’s "The Bridge" serve as artistic models for students, who also draw on life histories, sound recordings, and other primary resources. (Library of Congress)

A Life Apart: Hasidism in America
A documentary on this movement within Orthodox Judaism. The Hasidic ideal is to live a hallowed life in which even the most mundane action is sanctified. Hasidim live in tightly-knit communities centered around a rebbe, the community's political and religious leader. Most of the 200,000 American Hasidim live in NYC. This website provides the film script, reviews, a discussion forum, and 15 essays on Hasidism. ( Alternative Media Information Center, supported by National Endowment for the Humanities)

The Aaron Copland Collection: Ca. 1900-1990 — American Memory features music manuscripts, diaries, photos, and biographical materials of this 20th century composer who created distinctive "American" music. (Library of Congress)

Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress — American Memory presents Lincoln's draft of the Emancipation Proclamation, his second inaugural address, an 1864 memo expressing his expectation of being defeated for re-election, and more than 70,000 other images and transcriptions of letters, speeches, and writings from the 1850s through his presidency (1860-65). (Library of Congress)

Activities and Readings in the Geography of the United States: (ARGUS) offers resource materials for teaching geographic perspectives in various academic subjects. Materials include print activities, a text which contains 26 case studies that illustrate major geographic concepts, transparency masters, a teacher's guide, and an interactive CD. (Association of American Geographers, supported by National Science Foundation)

Adeline Hornbek and the Homestead Act: A Colorado Success Story explores how Adeline Hornbek, single mother of four, defied traditional gender roles to become the owner of a successful ranch under the Homestead Act. (National Park Service, Teaching with Historic Places, National Register of Historic Places)

Affidavit and Flyers from the Chinese Boycott Case introduces students to one instance in which immigrants overcame the ramifications of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 through the U.S. judicial system. This lesson correlates to the National History Standards and National Standards for Civics and Government. It also has cross-curricular connections with history, government, language arts, and math. (National Archives and Records Administration)

The African American Odyssey: A Quest for Full Citizenship — American Memory showcases the African American collections of the Library of Congress. Displaying more than 240 items, including books, government documents, manuscripts, maps, musical scores, plays, films, and recordings, this is the largest black history exhibit ever held at the Library of Congress. (Library of Congress)

African American Perspectives: Pamphlets from the Daniel A. P. Murray Collection, 1818-1907 presents a review of African-American history and culture as seen through the practice of pamphleteering. The site includes sermons on racial pride and essays on segregation, voting rights, and violence against African-Americans. (Library of Congress)

African Voices explores the diversity and global influence of Africa's cultures on work, family, community, and the natural environment. Sculptures, textiles, and other objects are included, as are video and audio interviews, literature, proverbs, prayers, folk tales, songs, and oral epics. ( National Museum of Natural History, supported by Smithsonian Institution)

The African-American Experience in Ohio, 1850-1920 — American Memory explores the diversity and complexity of African-American culture in Ohio. These manuscripts, texts, and images focus on themes that include slavery, emancipation, abolition, the Underground Railroad, the Civil War, Reconstruction, African Americans in politics and government, and African-American religion. (Library of Congress)