Social Studies

Minnesota Historical Society Offers New Resources for Educators

By Erik W. Robelen — August 26, 2013 1 min read
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There’s no shortage of places for history teachers to turn for curricular resources and ideas to enhance instruction, but an announcement today is a good reminder that state historical societies can be a good bet.

The Minnesota Historical Society has unveiled a revised, second edition of its 6th grade textbook on Minnesota history/social studies, Northern Lights. Here’s a quick sample of what it offers:

It’s also got a batch of new lesson plans connected with field trips to historic sites and museums, as well as new online history lessons and professional development.

The textbook has been revised to meet new social studies standards in the state, the news release says. It features hundreds of primary sources and other materials to engage students. Also, the state historical society has developed sixteen new lessons pegged to field trips at sites around the state, including the Oliver H. Kelley Farm, Jeffers Petroglyphs, and the Alexander Ramsey House.

(Speaking of field trips, Education Week recently published an online map of teachers’ favorite field trip destinations. You can add your suggestions too.)

In the realm of teacher professional development, the Minnesota Historical Society provides workshops, seminars, and online courses, including a new, self-paced online course, “The History of Minnesota.” The society, established in 1849, is a nonprofit educational and cultural institution.

The new offerings call to mind a special package Education Week produced on the Civil War a couple of years ago pegged to the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. In writing about the use of primary sources, I learned that the Vermont Historical Society was involved in an effort to help students and educators use such materials from Vermont to inspire learning about local history and the impact of the war on Vermonters. (In fact, the Minnesota Historical Society has a free app now on Minnesota and the Civil War.)

On a number of occasions, I’ve described the work of science centers and museums in connecting with schools and serving students and educators to enhance learning in the STEM fields, including when I had a chance to visit the Explora museum in Albuquerque. The news from the Minnesota Historical Society is a great example of another potential resource. Check out this website to find the historical society in your state.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.