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Teaching with Historic Places

Heritage Education Services

Teaching with Historic Places (TwHP) uses properties listed in the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places to enliven history, social studies, geography, civics, and other subjects. TwHP has created a variety of products and activities that help teachers bring historic places into the classroom.

Historic Schools Day

To celebrate Historic Schools Day, April 20, 2004, Teaching with Historic Places highlights the following lesson plans that consider important aspects of the history of schools throughout the country. Based on historical sites listed in the National Register of Historic Places, these lessons were created by National Park Service interpreters, preservation professionals, and educators. The lessons are free and ready for immediate classroom use by students in history and social studies classes.

Most of these Teaching with Historic Places lesson plans include activities for researching the history of local schools and local education. To learn more about Historic Schools Day and to find more lesson plans, visit the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Historic Schools Day website. The 2003-2004 National Secondary Social Studies Teacher of the Year, Geraldine Hastings, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation have been working together to produce lesson plans that use the year or decade in which a school was built as the starting point.

Brown v. Board: Five Communities That Changed America (121)
Learn about the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that declared segregation in public schools unconstitutional. (Monroe Elementary School [now Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site] is a unit of the National Park Service/Robert Russa Moton High School, Sumner and Monroe Elementary Schools, Howard High School, and John Philip Sousa Middle School are National Historic Landmarks.)

From Canterbury to Little Rock: The Struggle for Educational Equality for African Americans
Understand the magnitude of the struggle involved in securing equal educational opportunities for African Americans and examine how Prudence Crandall challenged the prevailing attitude toward educating African Americans in New England prior to the Civil War. (Little Rock Central High School is a National Park and National Historic Landmark/Prudence Crandall Museum is a National Historic Landmark)

The Freeman School: Building Prairie Communities (80)
Examine this one-room school in Nebraska and consider the important role it played in the community during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. (National Park)

Iron Hill School: An African-American One-Room School (58)
Discover how an early 20th-century philanthropist reformed Delaware's education system for African-American children.

New Kent School and the George W. Watkins School: From Freedom of Choice to Integration (104)
Learn about the U.S. Supreme Court case that forced the integration of public schools and meet the individuals who experienced segregation, fought to dismantle the institution, and integrated the public school system of New Kent County, Virginia. (National Historic Landmark)

The Rosenwald Schools: Progressive Era Philanthropy in the Segregated South (159)
Discover how community activism and a partnership between a white businessman and a leading black educator built 5,000 schools for African American students in the early 20th century.

Separate But Equal? South Carolina's Fight Over School Segregation (158)
Discover South Carolina's 1951 "separate but equal" school building program and learn about the Briggs v. Elliott case, one of the lawsuits combined with Brown v. Board of Education.

Thomas Jefferson's Plan for the University of Virginia: Lessons from the Lawn (92)
Learn about the multifaceted intellect of Thomas Jefferson and how he fused his abilities as an architect, educational and political theorist, and politician to create a revolutionary new setting for higher education in the new American republic. (National Historic Landmark/UNESCO World Heritage Site)

The United States Air Force Academy: Founding a Proud Tradition (114)
Learn how the expansion of military air power in the first half of the 20th century led to the establishment of the United States Air Force and the Air Force Academy. (National Historic Landmark)

To learn more about TwHP's other lessons, visit the Lesson Plan Descriptions page.