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A Welcome to Educators
Thomas Edison's laboratory "The Invention Factory" gives lab work new meaning.

Using Places to Teach

How to Use the Lesson Plans

Lesson Plan Descriptions

Kit Home

Dear Educator:

You and your students are about to explore some of the special places that witnessed major events in America's past...places where a trial inflamed the national debate about slavery and where invention became an industry. You will also meet people who shaped these places and events: Dred and Harriet Scott, and Thomas Edison.

Your students will enjoy a historian's sense of discovery from examining written and visual documents, including primary sources, that focus on places where history was made. Each lesson also includes creative projects that help students grasp "the big picture" represented by that place. After investigating Thomas Edison's "invention factory," for example, students will work together to design and market a model for a new car. The documents and activities in six classroom lesson plans will help you meet curriculum requirements in history, social studies, geography, civics, and other subjects.

We also encourage you to locate and explore other historic places on your own. Studying nearby historic places will give your students a better understanding of the relationship of your community's history to the broader themes that have shaped this country.

Nothing can match the experience of encountering an authentic piece of the past. Places, artifacts, and documents touch us in ways that second-hand narratives rarely do, and the National Park Service offers unparalleled opportunities for discovering America's historic and cultural resources. From the ancient ruins, homes of presidents and poets, and battlefields that comprise national parks, to the main streets, factories, and farms listed in the National Register of Historic Places because they make your state or community special, the National Park Service offers opportunities that help make the past real for you and your students.

Through programs such as Teaching with Historic Places, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation work to share these rich sources of inspiration and information. To learn more about national parks, state and local historic places listed in the National Register, and related educational programs, visit the Park Service home page.

We invite your comments about this kit and feedback about how you used it.

The National Park Foundation and the National Park Service

Comments or Questions