New Learning Resources In Social Studies

February 17, 2003

Social studies

“President’s Day: United in Service” was unveiled February 14, 2003, at the White House website for kids. This new feature includes web-exclusive videos, presidential biographies developed with help from area 5th- graders, coloring pages by a White House artist, & resources on volunteer service, history, & civics. In web videos, “Lord of the Rings” actor Sean Astin, Arizona Diamondback Luis Gonzalez, & former Washington Redskin Darrell Green discuss the importance of volunteer service. (WH)

“Attu: North American Battleground of World War II” is the site of the only land battle on the North American continent during World War II. In June 1942, Japanese forces invaded Attu & other Aleautian islands. Americans feared the islands would be used as a staging area to attack the mainland. The U.S. had to regain the Aleutians at all costs. (NPS,NRHP)

“The Battle of Oriskany: Blood Shed a Stream Running Down” tells how long-standing prejudices & the Revolutionary War unleashed massive bloodshed among inhabitants of New York’s Mohawk Valley. Located in rich farmland & at a strategic point in a fur trade route, the valley had been settled by Dutch, German, Irish, Scotch, & British immigrants who had prospered from productive farms & lucrative trade. As war broke out, everyone had to choose sides: Rebel or Tory. It was not easy for many, including the Iroquois Confederacy, which could not agree. Five hundred years of unity among the Six Nations was broken. On August 6, 1777, as Rebels crossed a ravine preparing to attack a British camp, they were ambushed by Seneca Tories. Thus began the battle where neighbor fought neighbor & a quiet ravine became a bloody slaughterhouse. (NPS,NRHP)

“Chicago’s Columbus Park: The Prairie Idealized” presents the story of Jens Jensen, who immigrated from Denmark to the U.S. in the 1880s, took a job as a Chicago street sweeper, was promoted to gardener, & rose to renown as a landscape architect. Jensen aimed to portray “the soul of the landscape” & developed the “Prairie style,” incorporating regional trees & flowers in idealized settings of groves, streams, limestone outcroppings, & flat fields. His crowning achievement was Columbus Park, a 150-acre park of wildflowers, waterfalls, stepping stone paths, & a river 7 miles from downtown Chicago. (NPS,NRHP)

“Coffeyville, Kansas: The Town That Stopped the Dalton Gang” recounts the bank robbery attempt that made Coffeyville famous in 1892. Bob Dalton’s gang had been robbing trains, stealing horses, & looting gambling houses in the Midwest. But Dalton wanted more. He claimed he would “beat anything Jesse James ever did — rob two banks at once, in broad daylight.” This is the story of his attempt to do so & the response he met from the citizens of this small southeastern Kansas town. When the dust had settled, more than half a dozen citizens & four of the five outlaws lay dead. (NPS,NRHP)

“The Freeman School: Building Prairie Communities” examines a once common feature on the American West landscape: the one-room schoolhouse. This particular one-room school, originally known as the Red-Brick School House, served the community of Blakely Township, Nebraska, from 1872 to 1967. When closed, it was the oldest continuously used one-room school in Nebraska. It served not only as a school, but also as a church, meeting hall, polling place, & social & political center of the community. (NPS,NRHP)

“Going-to-the-Sun Road: A Model of Landscape Engineering” was the first highway by which visitors could see the lakes, glaciers, alpine peaks, & meadows of Glacier National Park. Work on the 50-mile route, which connected the east & west sides of the park & crossed the Continental Divide at Logan Pass, began in 1921. The high technical standards of the Bureau of Public Roads (later the Federal Highway Administration) needed to be balanced with the commitment of the National Park Service to minimize damage to the landscape. This website tells how those goals were pursued & why this road served as a model for subsequent road construction in national & state parks for more than 25 years. (NPS,NRHP)

“Hardin County, Iowa” presents 26 historic places — barns, civic buildings, churches, railroad depots, schools, & libraries — that depict the history of this county, known as the “Heart of the Heartland.” (NPS,NRHP)

“Hispano Ranchos of Northern New Mexico: Continuity & Change” features the small subsistence farms, or ranchos, created by “Hispanos,” early Spanish settlers of New Mexico, during the 1800s in the mountain valleys of the Pecos & Mora rivers. Houses were built from the same adobe used to construct Indian pueblos & Spanish missions, with decorative details added based on architectural fashions brought to New Mexico after it became a U.S. territory in 1851. Irrigation ditches were dug & regulated by rules dating back centuries. The website provides an historical view of this region during the 19th century & of the Hispanos’ cultural heritage & how they adapted to change. (NPS,NRHP)

“Hopewell Furnace: A Pennsylvania Iron-making Plantation” focuses on one of the 65 small ironworks operating in southeast Pennsylvania during the American Revolution. The Hopewell Furnace, located in forested hills & valleys along French Creek in Berks County, operated from 1771 to 1883. The furnace was the center of a self-contained hierarchical community of 200-300 people, all of whose work was related to the production of iron. Hopewell produced shot & cannon for Continental forces during the Revolution; between 1825 & 1844, it supplied various iron products to eastern cities, including the popular “Hopewell Stove.” This website offers a glimpse into the early days of the iron & steel industry, which played a central role in the growth of America as an industrial nation. (NPS,NRHP)

“Joseph Bellamy House: The Great Awakening in Puritan New England” examines the life & times of the Reverend Joseph Bellamy (1719-1790), a leading preacher, author, & educator in New England. At the age of 20, Bellamy became the minister in Bethlehem, Connecticut, in 1740. He & other ministers, including Jonathan Edwards, spent most of 1741-1742 riding about New England delivering impassioned sermons to bring sinners back to the fold of the church. The movement, known as the Great Awakening, appealed particularly to working class people & spread throughout the northern & central colonies. Through his sermons & writings, Bellamy linked traditional Calvinist doctrine with reformers’ belief that the “call of the gospel was to everyone without exception.” He molded religion to fit people instead of vice versa — an approach many of his colleagues opposed vehemently. (NPS,NRHP)

“Lexington, Kentucky: The Athens of the West” highlights 29 places that illustrate the transformation of the city from a small frontier post during the Revolutionary War into a center of economic, intellectual, & political activity. Photos, maps, & essays are included. (NPS,NRHP)

“Memories of Montpelier: Home of James & Dolley Madison” describes the setting, main house, & grounds of the home of our fourth President & “father” of our Constitution. It also looks at daily life in this 19th century home on a 5,000-acre plantation in the Piedmont of Virginia. The Madisons received many visitors. In fact, it was not uncommon for them to have as many as 25 guests requiring both room & board. (NPS,NRHP)

“Springwood: Birthplace & Home to Franklin D. Roosevelt” is the only place in the U.S. where a President was born, maintained a lifelong connection, & lies buried. The estate, located in Hyde Park on the Hudson River (New York), is where Roosevelt was raised & where he & his wife, Eleanor, raised their five children. From the time of his first political election, he delivered his acceptance speeches from the portico of this house. Cabinet members, heads of state, royalty, congressmen, senators, & Secret Service stayed at the house during his presidency. (NPS,NRHP)

“Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site: Birthplace of the Modern Presidency” examines the career of our 26th President — the conditions under which he became a vice presidential candidate, the assassination of President McKinley, the home where TR was hastily inaugurated in 1901, & the influence he exerted on the nation & the presidency. His inauguration marked a turning point in the role of the presidency, launching a change in national policy & propelling the U.S. into world affairs. (NPS,NRHP)

“These Honored Dead: The Battle of Rivers Bridge & Civil War Combat Casualties” recounts a battle in a cold, rainy swamp in South Carolina during the last year of the war. In contrast to major campaigns & battles, this small battle presents the war on a human scale. Through maps, illustrations, photos, & descriptions, one can comprehend the entire battlefield & tactics used there. Excerpts from letters help students see the war & its effects from the perspective of individual commanders & soldiers. (NPS,NRHP)

“The War Relocation Camps of World War II: When Fear Was Stronger Than Justice” looks at the causes & consequences of President Franklin Roosevelt’s executive order, signed two months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, that moved nearly 120,000 Japanese & Japanese Americans into 10 isolated relocation centers. The website provides an excerpt from the executive order as well as headlines from newspapers, a 1942 notice of “instructions to all persons of Japanese ancestry,” a description of life in the relocation centers, maps, photos of a typical barracks room & mess hall, & more. (NPS,NRHP)


NPS = National Park Service

NRHP = National Register of Historic Places

WH = White House