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When Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin was published in 1852, it ignited a great debate over the practice of slavery in America. A best seller that sold more than one million copies, the novel tells the stories of Tom, a field slave, and Eliza, a household servant, and how they dealt with the horrors of slavery....
After the Civil War, the United States government commissioned several surveys of the American West. Photography was widely used to document the region's unusual geography, and it was this visual evidence that spurred Congress to create the national park system.
All images are from the Gilder Lehrman Collection
During the time of the American Revolution, much of the land in the colonies was not mapped. In his early years, George Washington was a surveyor and measured land to figure out the location of property.Materials Rope or string measuring 10- to 12-feet long Stakes—if working on grass Tape—colored if possible Graph, centimeter, or one-inch grid...
Benjamin Franklin was a scientist and an inventor. As he got older, he noticed he needed glasses for reading and seeing things far away. Franklin solved this problem by inventing bifocals, which were glasses made with two different lenses, one for seeing things up close, and the other for seeing things far away.
Water acts just like corrective lenses made of plastic or glass. The water refracts or changes the direction of a light beam. A water lens is known as a convex lens because it curves out in the middle....
A carefully crafted lesson is structured with a well-defined focus and a clearly-stated purpose. The lesson should present the class with an issue that is phrased in the form of a problem to be solved or a question to be analyzed and assessed by the class. Effective lessons do not merely cover information; they present students with major concepts and ideas and challenge students to think critically and take positions on open-ended essential questions. Here are some examples of essential questions for students of American history:...
There certainly can’t be a greater Grievance to a Traveler, from one Colony to another than the different values their Paper Money bears.
—an English visitor, ca.1742Introduction
Students use different kinds of paper money to purchase items to learn about the problem in colonial times when each colony had its own currency. The students will find that it is nearly impossible to complete tasks due to the confusion.Procedure With student help, generate a list...
Why should we...
The best teachers of Western Civilization courses have long made use of the European fine arts—painting, sculpture, architecture, the decorative arts—to bring the subject alive to their students. It is perhaps less well recognized that there are many wonderful works of art that can illustrate American history as well. The most rewarding paintings and prints not only make historical events visible but provide students with plenty to talk about. What does the picture tell us about people’s lives, customs, family relationships, and technology...