Basic History of the Automobile in the U.S.

This 7 minute video contains some great old footage of early carriages and wagons.

It discusses the development over time of “horse-less carriages”.

Technology has made the world smaller, 1946

This film explores the beginnings of transportation and communication across the oceans and lands.

It explains some of the key technologies, including steam power, gasoline engines, telephones, and the newest one, television that “brings all parts if the earth as close together as out living room.”

Although it is a bit cheesy, it could generate some great discussion on the experiences students have everyday of faraway places. Brainstorm what products are located in the classroom that are a result of the technologies listed in the film.

As an extension, ask students to add another five minutes to the film in order to include some of the newer technologies that did not exist in the 1940s. Group students and have them write the narrative for the announcer as well as choosing the images and technologies that best depict the global village called earth.

President Truman on the Marshall Plan

After World War II, the U.S. was left with the responsibility of taking care of the battered nations across Europe.

George C. Marshall came up with a plan to revitalize the economies and help stabilize the region.

We have an earlier post which includes a transcript of Marshall’s speech as well as questions and answers for students.

Today’s posting includes Truman convincing Congress to approve the plan.

Check out our new World History Modern Era: 1945-1970, as well as the U.S. History Cold War Era: Truman to Kennedy PowerPoints for further exploration of this topic.

The Shot Heard Round the World

Here is another classic SchoolHouse Rock cartoon, this time on the American Revolution.

Fun to show students, they are great conversation starters.

It is also fun to assign students to design their own take on this topic, what information might they add or take away from the video?

Check out our Colonial Era and American Revolutionary War PowerPoints for more in depth explorations of this time period.

U.S. Map Quiz

US labelled map

Map skills are so important, yet tend to be a weakness for many students.

Start off the school year with maps, and tack them onto exams all year long.

Here is a blank outline map of the U.S. as well as a numbered map for a quiz and an answer key.


What is money?

Money is explained by this 1947 Coronet film.

It explains the progression of our economic system, beginning with bartering by early humans. Because of specialization, bartering is no longer appropriate and money has emerged. First there were spearheads and other unreliable forms of wealth, which eventually led to the use of silver and gold coins. The mint system is shown as it is explained that the government is the backbone to the value of our money.

Although it shows its age, as a 1940s film, it would spark some interesting discussions on money in any Social Studies class.

1965 Alabama Literacy Test

literacy test herblockIntimidation was rampant throughout the south the first half of the 20th century to prevent voting by “undesirables”, ie African Americans, Latinos, and poor whites.

Because local governments controlled voting requirements, it varied by locale as well as by the whims of the registrars.

Some discriminatory methods included poll taxes, grandfather clauses, voucher system, and literacy tests.

In Alabama there were many versions of a literacy test which ranged in difficulty. We have included a copy of an impossibly hard exam given in Alabama in 1965.

We have included the questions and answers.

This would be good for an introductory lesson, even for the first day of school, to show in part why learning history and government is so important.

Check out our Civil Right Movement PowerPoint.