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 5. Where can I find curriculum guides, lesson plans and activities for Iowa History?

Sponsored by Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area, this project tells the story of Iowa agriculture and the role Iowa played in the development of American agriculture. The Website is designed to enhance science, social studies, language arts, and Iowa history curriculum in grades four through eight. Student activities highlight four themes in the story of agriculture: Exploring the Prairie, Pioneer Farming, The Story of Corn and Farming Today and Tomorrow.  CampSilos introduces students to the story of agriculture through the use of online primary source historical documents and oral history activities that rely upon a "voices from the past and present" orientation.  This is a unique resource if you are teaching units about biomes (the natural prairie), pioneers and Westward expansion, the story of corn from its early Indian origins to the present, or Iowa history.

CampSilos Excursions

CampSilos Excursions offers learning materials through virtual field trips to Iowa 's historic and cultural resources in the Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area   Fourth through eighth grade students become museum curators and explore historic photographs, letters, and artifacts depicting pioneer farm life and the development of agriculture. Web-based research activities and pre- and post-field trip lesson plans are linked to national standards in the areas of language arts, social studies and history. 

Communities Across Iowa
Classes in grades 3-6 will learn about their unique community in Iowa and will submit their findings to Walnut Grove Elementary by email. Information will be posted on the Walnut Grove Website to be shared with other students throughout the state. All information will be accepted electronically through email either in the body of the message or as a Microsoft Word attachment.

Explorations in Iowa History Project
The objective of this project is to collect, organize and disseminate primary sources materials for instructional use by elementary and secondary Iowa history teachers. The materials are organized around two periods of Iowa 's history:

  • Frontier Life in Iowa ( 1830 - 1870 )
  • Social and Economic Development of Iowa ( 1870 - 1940 )

Included are original diaries, letters, memoirs, maps, travel schedules, advertisements, government documents as well as lesson plan ideas for teachers. These supplemental materials not only engage students in the craft of the historian but also apply problem-based methodologies consistent with best teaching practices.

Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum:
Curriculum Guides for Education
Numerous teaching resources related to Herbert Hoover and other important topics in Iowa history include the following: 

  • Hoover Online--Digital Archives of important Hoover documents.
  • Herbert Hoover--A Life of Service (Teacher's Guide)
  • A Biographical Sketch of Herbert Hoover (Middle and High School Students)
  • A Biographical Sketch of Lou Henry Hoover (Middle and High School Students)
  • A Chronology of Herbert Hoover--Sequences President Hoover's accomplishments alongside world events from his birth until his death.
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder--Information for teachers.
  • Presidential Cartoons--How the artist portrays the President's accomplishments through illustration.
  • Hoover-Ball!--A combination of tennis, volleyball and medicine ball.
  • A Boyhood--In Iowa An excerpt taken from an informal address before the Iowa Society of Washington
  • Gram's Trunk--A story and activities to motivate students to investigate history (K-8th)
  • Wilder Collection
  • Reading List--A recommended list of Hoover materials for all ages.
  • Hoover Library--Resources for National History Day Projects, 2003

Iowa Past to Present—Teacher Guide
A companion to the textbook, Iowa Past to Present, the teacher guide is available that includes lesson ideas to accompany each of the 18 chapters of the textbook.

Iowa's Underground Railroad Teacher's Guide
Developed by IPTV, this curriculum guide provides lesson ideas, children's literature, links to online sources, and a host of other resources for teaching about Iowa's place in the Underground Railroad.

Prairie Voices
This curriculum guide developed by the State Historical Society of Iowa includes numerous lesson plans and teaching resources for the elementary classroom.  It provides a brief overview of the history of Iowa.

In addition, lesson plans are included for the following themes:

I.   The Land and The Built Environment
II.  Native People
III. Migration and Interaction
IV. Organization and Communities
V.  Work
VI. Folklife

Iowa Public Television (IPTV)
For thirty-five years, stories about people, places, and events of Iowa have been at the core of Iowa Public Television (IPTV). Through landmark series such as The Iowa Heritage and Land Between Two Rivers, as well as ongoing local series and recent award-winning educational initiatives, IPTV productions have provided a vivid and personal look at Iowa 's development, culture, and achievements, and are among the most popular resources for teaching Iowa history. Iowa teachers turn to Iowa Public Television as their preferred source for resources about the state we call home.

  • Explore More
    Students explore topics critical to Iowa's future, including water
    quality, genetic engineering, energy resources, and the sustainability
    of the Loess Hills using interactive DVDs, video, and Web sites.
  • K12 Connections
    K12 Connections provides K-12 educators and students access to unique opportunities to participate in distance learning experiences via the Iowa Communications Network (ICN). Many of the events are relevant to the Iowa history curriculum and connect to Iowa history standards.
  • Earth Trails: Mississippi River
    Explore the commerce, culture, biology, and history of one of the world's greatest natural resources found right here in Iowa with this innovative classroom CD-ROM.
  • Living in Iowa
    Host Morgan Halgren takes viewers on journeys across the state to meet people who are making a difference while "Living In Iowa." Stories run the gamut from fascinating people who plan rodeos to writers of Haiku poetry; a family that balloons together to a network of prairie aficionados.
  • This Old Statehouse
    Through the use of on the-scene video essays, in-depth interviews and photos, both historical and contemporary, This Old Statehouse documents both the history of the capitol and  the story of its restoration.
  • The People in the Pictures
    The People in the Pictures, a documentary produced by Iowa Public Television, highlights the Depression era farm photos of Iowan Pete Wettach.
  • K-12 Classroom Television
    IPTV broadcasts classroom TV series throughout the school year.
    Programs span the curriculum. Special record rights make taping an
    option for classroom teachers.

IPTV Iowa Pathways
Help your students learn about Iowa with a new online learning experience from IPTV.  Iowa Pathways challenges students to explore the people, places, events and ideas of Iowa in a whole new way. The Web site helps students choose topics that interest them as they examine relationships among Iowa concepts-past to present.
*   Over 300 articles about Iowa history topics
*   Nearly 1,000 images, videos, and interactive maps
*   Interactive timeline of over 500 historical events
*   Over 1,000 links, activities and classroom resources

Iowa Folklife: Our People, Communities and Traditions(©) (curriculum guide)
This updated kit (lessons, CD, videos, links, and support material) is now available online (click on hotlink above). It is also available in hard copy at all Iowa junior and senior high schools as well as in all senior citizen centers, Iowa college and university history and education departments, State Library, and the State Historical Society of Iowa resource center. The lessons and support materials may be copied for educational purposes only; materials may not be copied and resold for profit.


Iowa Folklife 2 (©) Iowa Arts Council (curriculum guide)

Iowa Folklife 2 explores the traditional music, foods, dance, rituals, and crafts of Iowa's diverse cultures. This online resource includes content pages, photos, audio samples, suggested readings, lesson plans, and a variety of online resources for students (k12) and educators. Use the whole curriculum or just one unit! Enhance your experience by inviting featured traditional artists or those from your community into your classroom. Iowa Folklife 2, a companion to Iowa Folklife: Our People, Communities, and Traditions, represents many years of creative collaboration with traditional artists, their communities, museum and library educators, and multicultural curriculum specialists. The units and support materials may be copied for educational purposes only; materials may not be copied and resold for profit.


Copyright 2008 Iowa History Online.
Malcolm Price Laboratory School
Lynn Nielsen, Project Director
Department of Curriculum and Instruction
University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA