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If you are a fellow Minnesotan, I have some great and exciting news and opportunities from the Minnesota Historical Society! Historical sites are something I have been visiting with my family on summer vacations my whole life and I absolutely love to transport back to a different era and time in history every time I visit a historical site!
I am so excited to share that with the kids back to school, the Minnesota Historical Society is bringing some new education opportunities! New “Northern Lights” textbook, History Live lessons, field trip lessons and more make history fun and help students hone important skills! With education at the heart of its mission, the Minnesota Historical Society this fall will connect students and teachers statewide to Minnesota history like never before.
New, Revised Second Edition of “Northern Lights” Shines
“Northern Lights,” a high-quality, comprehensive social studies textbook and curriculum for Minnesota sixth graders, has been revised to meet all new sixth grade state social studies standards. The student textbook and digital version will debut in Minnesota classrooms in September.
“Northern Lights” features hundreds of primary sources and colorful images and engages students with a friendly narrative, interactive activities and stories told from multiple perspectives.
“Northern Lights” is designed to help meet the new requirement that sixth graders complete a full year of study of Minnesota history, civics, geography and economics.
The new “Northern Lights” features enriched American Indian content and new content highlighting precontact Minnesota, World War I and late 20th Century history. All content has been vetted by educators, historians and cultural experts. For more information please see the "Northern Lights" fact sheet.
16 New Field Trip Lessons at Historic Sites and Museums
Standing where history happened is a powerful experience. The Minnesota Historical Society makes history come alive for students with fun and engaging programs at 18 MHS sites and museums statewide. Sixteen new lessons will launch at sites this fall including the Oliver H. Kelley Farm, Jeffers Petroglyphs and the Alexander Ramsey House, offering hands-on activities, guided tours, games and new resources.
Grants are available to help with schools’ transportation costs to the Society’s sites and museums.
New History Live Lessons Launch
Minnesota Historical Society educators will deliver new, dynamic history lessons live to students across Minnesota and the nation this fall via video conferencing technology. Ten award-winning History Live lessons are available for students in grades 2-12, meeting academic standards from social studies to science.
History Live will introduce two new lessons this fall: “Messages Through Time: American Indian Culture Preserved in Stone” explores archaeology, history, geology and science for grades 4-6. The second, “The Dred Scott Family & the National Debate Over Slavery,” examines the quest for freedom by a famous family with Minnesota ties and is designed for high school students. For more information please see the History Live fact sheet.
Professional Development for Teachers
The Minnesota Historical Society supports hundreds of teachers every year with workshops, seminars and online courses. From instructional seminars about the new Revised Second Edition of “Northern Lights” to three day Historic Site Immersion workshops, teachers can access a wealth of resources.
New in 2013 is a self-paced online course, “A History of Minnesota.” Online courses include downloadable primary-source activities for the classroom, video clips and a comprehensive list of resources. For more information please see the Teacher Professional Development fact sheet.
“Then Now Wow” Minnesota History Exhibit
“Then Now Wow” is a hands-on, interactive exhibit at the Minnesota History Center designed specifically for students and families. It covers Minnesota history from lumbering and fur trading to contemporary immigration and suburban expansion while supporting state social studies standards and complementing the new “Northern Lights” textbook and curriculum.
Input from Minnesota teachers, parents and students played a major role in the development of “Then Now Wow.”
History is Creative with Curriculum Kits
Teachers and students explore American Indian culture, history and arts with a hands-on Ojibwe Shoulder Bag Activity Kit based on stories from the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe in Central Minnesota. The kit includes pre-printed bags which can be designed, colored and decorated in one day. The bags are based on authentic beaded Ojibwe bandolier bags.
National History Day in Minnesota, a partnership of the Minnesota Historical Society and the University of Minnesota, challenges students in grades 6-12 to conduct in-depth research relating to a national theme, then create and present their findings through papers, exhibits, performances, documentaries and websites.
Projects can be entered into competitions at the school, regional, state and national levels. Minnesota students are consistently top finishers in the National History Day competition held annually in Washington, D.C.
History Player in the Classroom
Teachers can bring fascinating historical figures right to their classroom with 11 different History Players ranging from Harriet Bishop, St. Paul’s first public school teacher, to Frederick McKinley Jones, an African-American inventor and engineer. History Player visits are a great alternative to field trips. In a 2011 study by the Society, 100 percent of teachers surveyed said that the History Players held students’ interest and kept them engaged.
The Minnesota Historical Society has several exciting education programs now in development including a new mobile application that will revolutionize the field trip.
* I received MHS passes in exchange for this post. No other compensation was given.*