Have you played “Dumptown?” An online game from the EPA that puts the player in the position of City Manager who is tasked with starting new programs that encourage recycling and waste reduction. The programs track how much waste is saved from landfills and how much money is spent on the programs too. Dumptown would be a fun addition to units focusing on city government, environment and recycling.
Created through the USC Game Innovation Lab – part of the USC School of Cinematic Arts’, Interactive Media Division, the ReDistricting Game gives the player new insight into the apportionment and redistricting process. With five different missions, see the power of cartography and politics collide as you work to make state legislatures, the courts, and political parties happy.
Our senior US Government students love the game. It would be great for any 9-12 students studying government or civics, possibly for middle school too as each mission does have a basic and advanced level.
The Minnesota Historical Society has been working hard on providing high quality resources for educators and they are succeeding. Some of the resources, like the web-showcase for the Governors of Minnesota would be perfect for Minnesota-specific history courses or for History or Literature programs that would focus on who was the governor at the time. Other resources, like TimePieces gives the user not only clickable events which took place throughout Minnesota’s History (great 1886 start Mr. Sears) but used in conjunction with the Governors’ exhibit, could provide a neat showcase of what happened when who was governor.
Forests, Fields and the Falls is a great flash/comic-style resource which explores the lives of four actual Minnesotans. Beyond just Minnesota history, any unit looking at events in US history around the 1900’s might find this useful.
On the topic of race-relations and the 1920’s, the “Duluth Lynchings Online Resource” contains a multimedia timeline, an online glossary, a timeline of the legal proceedings, additional resources, and oral histories of those who lived in Duluth around the time of the lynching of three young black men in Duluth, MN on July 15, 1920. A rich resource. A powerful comparison unit might include an investigation of Rosewood, Florida in 1923 and Duluth, MN in 1920.
If your students are learning about the New Deal, or discussing President Obama’s stimulous package and ideas for turning the economy around with jobs programs, exploring the MNHS’s CCC Footlocker would be a super resource for any grade. Also focused on the time periods of the 1920’s-WWII, the MNHS is collecting the stories of the Greatest Generation and sharing them in “In Their Words.” Click on the time period you are interested in and then the topic and you will see the people who have contributed to that section of the project. One of our English teachers is going to use this as a resource for her 9th graders when they write ballads.
Beyond these resources, the MNHS has online document and photo searches, and a wealth of additional resources for schools. Historical societies can often times be more personal/local than the also wonderful National Archives or Library of Congress. Additionally, even if these materials are not useful as they are to your curriculum, they might be useful as idea or template generators.