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Today’s post comes from Chelsea Tremblay, social media intern in our Education and Public Programs division.

In the mid 1800’s, the Charles W. Morgan set sail in search of one thing: the mighty whale. The last wooden whaling ship in the United States, the Morgan braved the ocean’s rough waters for treasures such as whale bones and oils—not to mention the thousands of dollars seamen earned from these goods.

Whaling is a major part of history! The once popular practice offers numerous windows into the past in various ways: music (sea shanties), art (scrimshaw, knots), mathematics (measurement, navigation), science (whales, oceans, man’s impact on nature), and geography. 

Now you can peek into the past using DocsTeach where 19 documents about the Charles W. Morgan whaling ship were just added!

Search through these records to learn about the goods seamen brought back from their trips. In this merchandise log from 1874, the crew brought back 6,080 gallons of whale oil! Whale oil was heavily in demand at the time because it was used to light lamps and make candles. Sperm whale candles (or spermaceti) are actually said to be to be the brightest, purest candles.

Ask your students: Can you determine how much money they earned from all of that oil?

Charles_W_Morgan_003

 

These documents can also teach us a bit more about life at sea. Sure, the salty sea breeze rustling through your hair and having nothing but the horizon ahead seems like a dream. However, life as a whaling crew member wasn’t quite so romantic. Here you can find the names of two men who deserted the Charles W. Morgan when it made port in May of 1874.

Charles_W_Morgan_021

In this collection of new records you can also find discharge certificates and even death certificates.

Some ideas for incorporating these documents in the classroom are:

  • Vocabulary lessons (“absconded”, “manifest”, “[paid] duties”)
  • Whaling math (How much did just one gallon of whale oil cost? What was the average age of a seaman?)
  • Mapping the different ports where the Charles W. Morgan landed

You can create your own activity on DocsTeach using these tools!

Comment below with your thoughts on whaling and your unique ways of incorporating these documents in your classroom, or send a tweet to @DocsTeach #whaling!

November Education Programs

by on October 23, 2014


Today’s post comes from Renee Rhodes, social media intern in our Education and Public Programs division.

We have education programs coming up at our locations around the country and at the annual NCSS conference in Boston. Join us!

Participants at a National Archives Program

Our calendar of events for December is coming soon!

November Events:

(Simi Valley, CA) Lebanon, Syria and Iraq: Roots of Current Conflict – November 1, 10 am – 3:30 pm  

  • Teacher workshop hosted at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum. RSVP to reaganeducation@nara.gov

(New York, NY) Navigating the Newness: Improving Content, Pedagogy and Professionalism – November 4, 7:30 am – 3 pm

  • The National Archives at New York City and partner presents on DocsTeach and professional development activities. Register.

(Washington, DC) Making Their Mark Adult Education Workshop Series: Meet the Pen Doctor - November 5, 5:30 – 7:30 pm

  • hands-on workshop in conjunction with the “Making Their Mark” exhibit at the National Archives Museum.

(West Branch, IA) Getting Started on Research - November 7 10 am – 12 pm.

  • National History Day research with the staff at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum. Topics will include internet research, primary and secondary sources, process papers, researching, bibliographies, and more!

(Online & College Station, TX) “Texas A&M University Chemistry Road Show” –  Thursday, November 13, 10:30-11:30 am and 12:30- 1:30 pm

(Washington, DC) Educators’ Open House – Thursday, November 13, 5:30–7:30 pm

  • After-hours exhibits at the National Archives museum, light refreshments, and information about resources, workshops, DocsTeach, NHD, and more! Email education@nara.gov RE: “Educators’ Open House” for more info.

(Washington, DC) Facilitated Interactive Table for Teens - Friday, November 14, 4 – 4:45 pm

(Philadelphia, PA) NHD Philly Teacher Workshop “Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project – Saturday, November 15, 11 am

  • At the National Museum of American Jewish History, with lunch, led by: the teacher who supervised this initial NHD Project, National Archives Education Specialist Ang Reidell, and the museum’s education outreach manager, Vera Da Vinci. Email education@nara.gov RE: “Life in a Jar” for more info.

(Riverside, CA) National History Day Learning Lab – November 15, 9 am to 2 pm

  • The National Archives at Riverside and partners, with presentations, workshops, and archivist meetings to help with NHD projects on the CSU Fullerton Campus. Archivist appointments 10:30 am–2 pm. Registration limited to 100 students.

(Online & College Station, TX) “A Thanksgiving Parade: The Historical Tapestry of Gratitude” – November 20, 10:30-11:30 am & 12:30- 1:30 pm

(Online) VGo Robot “Millie” Tours

  • Remotely control a tour of The George Bush Presidential Library World War II exhibit by driving VGO Robot “Millie,” named after the First Dog of the 41st Bush Administration. Free 45-minute virtual tours with an Education Volunteer are available Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with prior registration.

(Washington, DC) Boeing Learning Center - Monday–Saturday, 10 am – 3 pm

 

We also offer distance learning programs for classrooms on demand.

 

 

(Boston, MA)
National Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference
November 21-23

Pre-Conference Clinic, Thurs, 11/20, 9 am — “One Tumultuous Year! 1963: The Struggle for Civil Rights” at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Tour, Fri, 11/21, 11:30 am — Guided tour of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, including special exhibit “To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis”

Conference Sessions:



Announcing the first ever National Archives’ Educators’ Open House! Come spend the evening with your colleagues at the National Archives Building to find out more about what we offer for you and your classroom.

Thursday, November 13, 2014
5:30-7:30 pm
National Archives Building
Washington, D.C.

Ed Open House flyer 2014

NARA Educators’ Open House flyer 2014–Download and Print

NARA Education Specialists will be on hand all evening to answer questions, chat, and share information about National Archives resources. In addition, our Education Specialists will be conducting several short demonstrations of our online and distance learning opportunities, award winning website DocsTeach.org, professional development opportunities, and much more.

Educators can find out about:

  • Primarily Teaching, NARA’s annual professional development workshop for teachers
  • National History Day resources
  • New NARA app and eBook on the Bill of Rights
  • Constitution in Action Learning Lab program
  • Distance learning options
  • Online resources, such as DocsTeach.org
  • And more!

Educators are welcome to visit our exhibits, including Records of Rights, Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures, and the Public Vaults. The Rotunda, which holds the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights, will be open from 5:30-6:15.

No pre-registration is required. Light refreshments will be served.

Share this with your colleagues!



Boston, Massachusetts, has long been a crucible for social, cultural, and political change. But Boston is also a city of contradictions.

Forty years ago, a group of parents filed a formal complaint in the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts.  The case beings with this simple sentence: “This is a class action brought by black children attending the Boston public schools and their parents.”

Tallulah Morgan et al. v. James W. Hennigan et al., United States District Court Civil Action Case File No. 72-911-G—known as the Boston schools desegregation case—occupies 54 large storage boxes in the National Archives at Boston.  The case was presented over a period of two years, and on June 21, 1974, Federal Judge W. Arthur Garrity ruled that the School Committee of the City of Boston had “intentionally brought about and maintained racial segregation” in the Boston public schools.

The response to the implementation was protest, at times violent, but eventually the Boston Public Schools would change.

During the summer of 2014, a group of educators from across the country—elementary through college—spent a week at the National Archives at Boston and Chicago studying issues of civil rights.

They scanned documents like the above letter from Mrs. Sumner Bernstein. She wrote to Boston Public Schools Superintendent Leary explaining how, though she initially “went along with the plan,” she became angry and fearful after her daughter’s experiences at her new school (10/22/1974, from the Records of District Courts of the United States). All of the newly digitized documents are available online by entering “Primarily Teaching 2014” in the documents search box.

They also used these newly digitized primary sources to create online teaching activities related to education equality:

You can create your own activities on this subject with the tools available on DocsTeach!

 



Today’s post comes from Chelsea Tremblay and Renee Rhodes, interns in our Education and Public Programs division.

On Wednesday, September 17, 2014, we celebrated the 228th anniversary of the signing of our nation’s founding document at the National Archives—the permanent home of the U.S. Constitution.

That morning of Constitution Day (commemorated on September 17th each year), we hosted a naturalization ceremony during which 35 new United States citizens swore their oaths of allegiance. Each one was so excited to become a citizen right in front of the Constitution.

We offered multiple family activities for visitors in our Boeing Learning Center. By participating in various activities, National Archives guests learned more about the Constitution’s creation and purpose.

In fact, many Constitution Day activities can be adapted to use in your classroom:

Write your own amendment to the Constitution.Board of new amendments

Students took time to document the issues they find important enough to be added to the U.S. Constitution. For example, one visitor believed every middle school student should be given free shoes.

Additional proposed amendments included:

  • All Americans should pay equal taxes.
  • Every Friday and Saturday there should be free cheese.
  • “No smoking in the United States. Smoking can give you cancer and sometimes you can die. I would have smoking sensors all around the United States.”
  • “Every 4 yards there will be a Chick-Fil-A.”Mock new amendment (1)

Gander through DocsTeach.org to find examples of failed proposed amendments (there have been over 11,000!) to share with students while they learn about the amendment making process.

Build an educational and fun story.

Student doing MadLibs

Students used a fill-in-the-blank story-building activity to help them craft a silly, but educational, naturalization story about immigrants becoming United States citizens. Using this interactive method allowed them to be creative while also learning facts about the process.

This type of activity is flexible and can be adapted to any topic. Here’s an example (PDF) of how we combined humor and educational information in one activity.  (You can download the PDF worksheet for your classroom).

Constitution Day included other fun events: from building a flag for 51 states, to writing with quill pens, to unscrambling the Preamble.

Crafts and games provide a good basis for lessons and, though some that we utilized may be too messy for a classroom, they are still options to inspire other ideas. You can see more of the activities in photos on Flickr!

Girls examining documents

You can also check out some of our many student-friendly resources available online:

And if you’re in the DC area, keep an eye out for future family days, and come join the fun!

 

This National Archives program was supported in part by the Foundation for the National Archives through the generosity of John Hancock. The Boeing Learning Center was made possible in part by the Foundation for the National Archives through the support of The Boeing Company.

 

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