All resources in Iowa Social Studies

Iowa History: Iowa Unsung Prairie Transformation to Farms and One Room Schools 1870-1900 Part 1

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Learn more about how immigrants settled Iowa by developing farms and built schools on the tall grass prairie in Iowa. Through video, primary sources, activities and text learn more about: A) Preparation for Settlement of Iowa's Treeless Tall Grass Prairie B) Promotion of Large Scale Prairie Settlement of 3/4 of Iowa

Material Type: Lesson, Module, Primary Source, Unit of Study

Authors: Denise Krefting, Sandra Host

Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

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The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database has information on almost 36,000 slaving voyages that forcibly embarked over 10 million Africans for transport to the Americas between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. The actual number is estimated to have been as high as 12.5 million. The database and the separate estimates interface offer researchers, students and the general public a chance to rediscover the reality of one of the largest forced movements of peoples in world history. This resource includes a database of Trans-Atlantic slaving voyages searchable by a wide range of variables in additional to essays, maps, and numerical estimates of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, and K-12 lesson plans.

Material Type: Data Set, Diagram/Illustration, Lesson Plan, Primary Source, Reading

Authors: Allen Tullos, David Eltis

Explore Iowa History and Culture! · Iowa Heritage Digital Collections

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Iowa Heritage Digital Collections is a resource for students, educators, historians, genealogists, and anyone else interested in the people, places and institutions of Iowa. The site provides free access to digital collections from a variety of Iowa cultural institutions. This website is a collection of Iowa History resources for educators, teachers, historians, and anyone interested in Iowa and its people, culture and places. It provides free access to digital collections from Iowa cultural institutions

Material Type: Diagram/Illustration, Primary Source, Reading

Author: Iowa Heritage Digital Collection

Fairy Tales Around the World

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As some of the foundational texts for beginning readers, fairy tales are a staple of many classrooms. This lesson allows students to engage with fairy tales from different regions around the world and compare important cultural elements of these stories.

Material Type: Lesson Plan

CultureTalk - Arab World

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CultureTalk - Arab World features a very extensive selection of filmed interviews with people from different countries in the Arabic speaking world. While some interviews are in English, the vast majority are in Arabic. Translations and usually transcripts are provided for all non-English video clips. Topics include family, food, education, religious and cultural customs, work, art, sport, travel, etc. The regions covered are the Levant, North Africa, Egypt, and Mauritania, with an Iraqi section on the way.

Material Type: Teaching/Learning Strategy

100 People: A World Portrait

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This website gives you the opportunity see the world through different people all over the world on a variety of topics. Watch videos, see lesson plans about global issues and looking at it from a lense of focus on 100 people.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Diagram/Illustration, Interactive, Lesson, Reading, Teaching/Learning Strategy

Issues of International Trade

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Trade issues occasionally dominate and are a continuing theme of the international scene: the global market, sweatshops, child labor, trade deficits, the euro, sanctions, tariffs, embargoes, and the EU, NAFTA, WTO, the seemingly endless alphabet of interest groups, treaties, organizations, and trade agreements. As a classroom topic, international trade has the great advantage of providing ready-made material for teachers wanting to engage student interest in current events. On the other hand, the complexity of the issues surrounding trade is daunting. While economic reasoning doesn't guarantee resolution of the issues, it is a powerful tool of critical thinking that brings clarity to the discussion of current events. The ability to determine comparative advantage through opportunity cost, the ability to identify incentives and predict resulting behavior, and the ability to use supply and demand analysis of particular labor and resource markets, help students to set aside the emotion of international trade issues and cut through the rhetoric of media reports.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Assessment, Lesson Plan

Global Trade Effects Down Home Trade.

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This lesson will have students analyze connections among historical events and developments in the contemporary global issue of trade, specifically, trade between the United States and China.   Students will answer the compelling question; Do tariffs improve the lives of workers in a country and in an industry?Students will research the history of trade, specifically, the silk road.  How did this trade route affect the lives of ordinary people? How does the relationship over time between the United States and China affect trade? Students will create a similar learning experience building a lesson that connects the historical events and developments to a contemporary issue around globalization. Copy of the Lesson in a Google Doc.  Licensed with a Creative Commons Attribution License. 

Material Type: Lesson Plan

Author: Maryann Farrell

Border Walls

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This inquiry examines the 20th century history of migration from Mexico to the United States and recent efforts to limit the movement of people across the southern U.S. border. The inquiry takes its inspiration from a 2018 podcast episode by Malcom Gladwell titled, “General Chapman’s Last Stand.” The podcast is part of Gladwell’s Revisionist History series ( In the podcast, Gladwell tells the story of General Leonard F. Chapman Jr., Commandant of the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War, who went on to serve as the Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) from 1972 to 1975. Chapman is credited with reforming the INS into a more efficient and effective agency, but Gladwell argues that Chapman’s efforts also led to an unintentional increase in unauthorized immigrants. In 1970, 760,000 Mexican immigrants, or 1.4% of Mexico’s population, lived in the U.S. By 2008, there were 12.7 million Mexican immigrants in the U.S. which amounted to 11% of all people born in Mexico; an increase of almost 800% in less than 30 years. The question of how and why this happened is the central focus of this inquiry.

Material Type: Lesson Plan, Primary Source