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America's Story from America's Library: Historical Figures and States of the USA

Example Web Site and/or Technical Equipment Required


Website Example:

More Ways

Computer, Internet access

Activity Description

Students use the Web site to learn about important figures in American history and the states by reading, taking notes, and making oral presentations.


  • Make sure that the site is not blocked at your school. If it is, you can print out the texts.
  • Prepare a note-taking handout with questions students need to answer (When was ___ born? Where? What is he/she best known form? When did ___ become a state? What is it best known for?).
  • Also, create a sample presentation so that students understand the assignment expectations.


Activity 1

  1. Have students open the site in the Web browser.
  2. Select Meet Amazing Americans. Featured here in various categories are 43 Americans with a short biography, including Thomas Jefferson, Cesar Chavez, Washington, etc.
  3. Provide students with the note-taking handout you create.
  4. Individually, in pairs, or in small groups, students choose one historical figure to read about.
  5. They then make an oral presentation to the class in the form of a poster or PowerPoint presentation.

Activity 2

  1. On the site, have student select Explore the States.
  2. Have students individually, in pairs, or in small groups, select a U.S. state to read about and take notes on. In addition to basic facts, the site contains many stories about the state.
  3. They then make an oral presentation to the class in the form of a poster or PowerPoint presentation.

Teacher Tips

  • Pre-teach vocabulary (biography/geography) and grammar (past tense) students will need to understand when reading, and use in their reports.
  • Model for students how to get to the Web site by typing in the URL and how to select the links.
  • Students can learn more with in-depth / extra reading by selecting the links under More Stories about...

More Ways

Students can also learn about different eras in American history (select Jump Back in Time), America's favorite pastimes, sports and hobbies (select Join America at Play), or movies, songs, and tunes from America's past (select See, Hear, and Sing) by reading and/or doing the activities described.


  • Beginning High
  • Intermediate Low
  • Intermediate High


Basic Communication

  • (5.2) Understand historical and geographical information

Basic Communication

  • (7.4) Demonstrate study skills
  • (7.7) Demonstrate the ability to use information and communication technology
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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN200091-A2 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.