K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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  • Buffalo Soldiers: In this lesson, students will learn about Buffalo Soldiers using the Blacks in the West Mini Page. Students will compare what they learn from the Mini Page with Bob Marley’s song "Buffalo Soldiers." Then students will choose another group of people or a social movement to compare the Buffalo Soldiers to, similar to the way Marley compared them to Rastafarians, and they will write their own song lyrics to demonstrate the connection. This lesson allows students to make connections between different groups across history.
  • Black cowboys: In this lesson, students will use the Blacks in the West Mini Page to learn about black cowboys, read an excerpt from Nat Love’s biography, and create a comic about a black cowboy. This lesson teaches students about figures rarely shown in social studies texts and allows them to demonstrate their knowledge in a variety of ways.
  • Carolina Digital Library and Archives instructional plans: A listing of unit plans and lesson plans provided by University of North Carolina Library and the Carolina Digital Library and Archives.

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This page provides a listing of instructional plans that were created to support the use of The Mini Page Archive in K-12 classrooms.

Unit plans

Teaching Elections with the Mini Page Archive by Summer Pennell
Grades 3-5
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This guide for third, fourth, and fifth grade teachers suggests activities and resources for using the Mini Page Archive to teach elections. Through these activities, students will learn more about political parties in the United States, how the Electoral College works, and what the process of an election looks like.

Individual lesson plans

Presidential Elections and American Culture by Summer Pennell
Grades 8-12 English Language Arts, Information Skills, and Social Studies
In this interdisciplinary lesson, students read about presidential candidates from three Mini Pages (available for free online) and consider what messages each candidate wants to show the American public. Students will make inferences about the candidates’ values and American values at the time of publication. Students will also conduct their own research on American culture and history in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, as well as research and speculate about contemporary American values. They will use this knowledge to create a commercial for a candidate wishing to sway young voters today. This lesson can work for middle or high school students, but older students would be expected to have more nuanced discussions and consider more complex issues, such as gender and race.
Making Inferences About the 2000 Presidential Election by Summer Pennell
Grades 8-12 English Language Arts and Social Studies
In this lesson, students will use a Mini Page about the 2000 presidential election to make inferences. This will require students to think about how past events influence political policies and laws. They will use these inferences to conduct research and write an essay.
A Smoke-Free Me by Summer Pennell
Grades 3-5 Healthful Living and Science
In this lesson, students will use the “A Smoke-Free Me” Mini Page to learn about how the heart and lungs work, smoking regulations in their state, and the harmful effects of smoking. Students will create an anti-smoking poster using their new knowledge. If possible, students will hang these posters around the school to educate others.
The First Thanksgiving: Interactive Storybook by Summer Pennell
Grades 2-5 English Language Arts and Social Studies
In this lesson, students will use a Mini Page about the first Thanksgiving to make an interactive book for the class. Students will work in pairs or small teams to create individual book pages using the Mini Page story blocks and other historical resources, while learning that there may be different versions to every story. There are two sets of reading handouts for each topic: one for lower grades and one for higher grades. They will share their page with the class before the book is assembled by the teacher.
Reading Recipes by Summer Pennell
Grade 4 English Language Arts
In this lesson, students practice reading and interpreting recipes. After reading through one recipe as a class, the students will work independently on other recipe passages for practice.
Flowers and Pollination by Summer Pennell
Grade 3 Science
This lesson on pollination uses this Pollination Mini Page and can be used as an extension for lessons about the parts of the flower. This lesson can be used with an entire class, or the materials can be given to advanced students to complete independently.
Buffalo Soldiers by Summer Pennell
Grades 11-12 English Language Arts and Social Studies
In this lesson, students will learn about Buffalo Soldiers using the Blacks in the West Mini Page. Students will compare what they learn from the Mini Page with Bob Marley’s song “Buffalo Soldiers.” Then students will choose another group of people or a social movement to compare the Buffalo Soldiers to, similar to the way Marley compared them to Rastafarians, and students will write their own song lyrics to demonstrate this connection. This lesson allows students to make connections between different groups across history.
Black Cowboys by Summer Pennell
Grade 5 English Language Arts and Social Studies
In this lesson, students will use the Blacks in the West Mini Page to learn about black cowboys, read an excerpt from Nat Love’s biography, and create a comic about a black cowboy. This lesson teaches students about figures rarely shown in social studies texts and allows them to demonstrate their knowledge in a variety of ways.
Black Cowboys During Reconstruction by Summer Pennell
Grades 9-12 English Language Arts, Information Skills, and Social Studies
In this lesson, students will learn about African-American cowboys in the American West during Reconstruction. Students will use the Blacks in the West Mini Page and other online sources to learn about the topic and then demonstrate their knowledge by writing their own fictional narrative. Social Studies and Language Arts teachers may wish to work together for this lesson. This can be used to introduce research skills, to round out lessons on the American West in both Social Studies and ELA and to reinforce short story writing skills.
Women in US History: Research Lesson by Summer Pennell
Grade 5 English Language Arts, Information Skills, and Social Studies
In this lesson, students will use the Mini Page and other sources to research important women in US history: Bessie Coleman and Sally Ride. They will make a poster comparing these two women. This is intended as an introductory lesson to research skills.
Creating a Mini page by Summer Pennell
Grade 5 English Language Arts and Information Skills
This activity allows students to take their knowledge from previous lessons or research projects and turn it into a newspaper, modeled after the Mini-Page, to share with their classmates. The focus of this activity is not research and writing instruction; rather, it is meant to be used as a culminating activity.
Pirates and Economics by Summer Pennell
Grade 4 Social Studies
In this lesson, students will learn the basics of a market economy and how pirates impacted the economic system in colonial times. Students will read one Mini Page about the famous pirate Blackbeard and another about economics. Students will map out the colonial economic system to demonstrate their knowledge of both economics and pirates’ interventions. At the end of the lesson, students will imagine they are colonists and write a letter to the governor either in support or in opposition to piracy. This allows students to utilize economic vocabulary in a variety of creative ways.
North Carolina Scavenger Hunt by Summer Pennell
Grade 4 Social Studies and Information Skills
In this lesson, students will use editions in The Mini Page Archive to find information about North Carolina’s history and state symbols. They will search strategically by looking at the titles and headings for clues. After searching, students will create a skit using the information they learned.