Education Resource Portal

Guiding Questions and Activities


Exploring Context (C)

Kind Theme/Skill Topic Category Grades

Provide students with a set of 5-7 curated items from the portal; tell students that these 5-7 items will make a mini "pop-up" exhibit to be displayed at a local library. Assign students to write an exhibit rationale and summary, then make a brochure promoting the exhibit.

Activity C, E Civil War, WWI general 9-12

Select a set of images that show what life was like for a particular group of people (women, soldiers, nurses, families, African Americans, immigrants, etc.) Ask students to draw connections between the items you chose and write a journal entry from the perspective of a person living in this era. Journal entry should include specific details related to the images selected.

Activity C Civil War, WWI African Americans, American Indians, children, soldiers, women 9-12

Show students the "More Ballots Less Bullets" suffrage banner. Ask students to write an argument on whether this banner is more in support of expanding voting rights or more in opposition to the war.

Activity C, EA WWI suffrage, women 9-12

Provide students with an essential question or statement about the era and assign students to curate a set of 5-7 items that relate to the question/statement. Then, as a class, students use democratic processes to determine which items will ultimately be included in the set.

Activity C Civil War, WWI general 6-8, 9-12

Select letters from the portal. Ask students to read the letters and discuss the context in which they were written. Who was writing to whom, and what would both parties be experiencing while writing or reading the letter? What was said in the letter, and what was left unsaid?

Activity MP, C Civil War, WWI general 9-12

Let students explore any tag on the portal. As they explore the contents, have them describe each item in one or two words. Then have them create a word cloud with those words on Wordle to find themes within the category.

Activity C Civil War, WWI general 6-8

Direct students to explore the portal and select a perspective/tag they find interesting. Then, have students write a diary, letter, or historical narrative from that perspective, using details from the sources.

Activity C Civil War, WWI general 6-8, 9-12

Select 5-7 sources from the portal and separate the contextual description from the source. Direct students to match the source to its contextual description, practicing their analysis skills and deductive reasoning. Then, based on the theme of the sources you select, direct students to answer an appropriate guiding question.

Activity C Civil War, WWI general 6-8, 9-12

Instruct students to select a "focus item/person" from the portal. Then, make a collage of items that are could be related to their "focus item/person" using other items in the portal. Students should write an "Artist's statement" explaining the relationship between their focus item/person and the rest of the sources they selected and summarize the story the collage tells about life during the war.

Activity C Civil War, WWI general 6-8, 9-12

Have students come up with categories to organize MNHS portal artifacts. Then, let them explore the portal and see if they were right. Would there be other categories they'd add or ones they thought were unnecessary? OR Have students look at the portal first, exploring the categories already provided. Then have students discuss what category they would create using items already in the portal that is not currently listed. What items from the portal would they tag with their new category?

Activity C Civil War, WWI general 6-8, 9-12

Direct students to choose one item (not a photo of a person). They should write 5-7 sentence explanations of the context of that item in the greater story of the war and the American story.

Activity C Civil War, WWI general 9-12

Have students identify two items in the portal that seem to be opposites. Have them create a poster explaining their choice and how they show opposing views. Students will describe the context of the items, what was going on in America or the world that led to the creation of these two items that oppose one another.

Activity C Civil War, WWI general 6-8, 9-12

Choose one item (not a photograph or a person). Write a 5-7 sentence explanation of the context of that item in the greater American story.

Activity C Civil War, WWI general 9-12

Direct students to find an image or item that surprises them in some way. Study the image, conduct research, and learn about the image. In 4-6 sentences, students explain their image/item, what surprised them, and what they learned about it that explains the context heind the surprise.

Activity C Civil War, WWI general 9-12

Select women of WWI in the portal and have students list the different ways women were supporting the war effort. Extension: have students choose one women's organization to research and report on.

Activity C WWI women 6-8

Have students identify one interesting person from the portal, read about them, and do additional research if necessary. Write one paragraph summarizing their contributions during WWI and how they influenced others.

Activity C Civil War, WWI general 6-8

Explore the WWI poster and homefront tags of the portal. Using the sources collected under these tags, students write a letter to a soldier "over there" explaining life on the homefront.

Activity C WWI homefront 6-8

Look at the soldiers and camp life tags of the portal, paying particular attention to the items soldiers had at the front. Have students organize the items into categories and explain why they organized them that way.

Activity C Civil War, WWI soldiers, camp life 6-8