Minnesota Historical Society Education: Back to School Brings Unprecedented New History Education Opportunities From the Minnesota Historical Society

For immediate release

Release dated: 
August 22, 2013
Media contacts: 

Julianna Olsen, Marketing and Communications, 651-259-3039, julianna.olsen@mnhs.org
Joanna Danks, Marketing and Communications, 651-259-3149, joanna.danks@mnhs.org

Minnesota Historical Society Education: Back to School Brings Unprecedented New History Education Opportunities From the Minnesota Historical Society

New “Northern Lights” textbook, History Live lessons, field trip lessons and more make history fun, help students hone important skills

Northern LightsWith education at the heart of its mission, the Minnesota Historical Society this fall will connect students and teachers statewide to Minnesota history like never before. Minnesota students will open a new, revised edition of the “Northern Lights” social studies textbook, and students will have unprecedented access to Minnesota history through new, interactive History Live lessons broadcast into classrooms, 16 new field trip lessons and more.

Every year the Minnesota Historical Society helps educate hundreds of thousands of Minnesota schoolchildren in the classroom and through visits to sites and museums with their schools and families, ensuring Minnesota students become state smart. By learning history, students gain knowledge they need to become informed citizens. MHS education programs also help students build important critical-thinking, reading, research and problem-solving skills.

“The Minnesota Historical Society leads the way in history education with authentic, engaging experiences that can be transformational for young people. We help them see the world and themselves in new ways, and set them on a path to a lifelong love of learning,” said Steve Elliott, Director and CEO of the Minnesota Historical Society.

New, Revised Second Edition of “Northern Lights” Shines
“Northern Lights,” a high-quality, comprehensive social studies textbook and curriculum for Minnesota sixth graders, has been revised to meet all new sixth grade state social studies standards. The student textbook and digital version will debut in Minnesota classrooms in September.
“Northern Lights” features hundreds of primary sources and colorful images and engages students with a friendly narrative, interactive activities and stories told from multiple perspectives.

“Northern Lights” is designed to help meet the new requirement that sixth graders complete a full year of study of Minnesota history, civics, geography and economics.

The new “Northern Lights” features enriched American Indian content and new content highlighting precontact Minnesota, World War I and late 20th Century history. All content has been vetted by educators, historians and cultural experts.

For more information please see the "Northern Lights" fact sheet.

16 New Field Trip Lessons at Historic Sites and Museums
Standing where history happened is a powerful experience. The Minnesota Historical Society makes history come alive for students with fun and engaging programs at 18 MHS sites and museums statewide. Sixteen new lessons will launch at sites this fall including the Oliver H. Kelley Farm, Jeffers Petroglyphs and the Alexander Ramsey House, offering hands-on activities, guided tours, games and new resources.

Grants are available to help with schools’ transportation costs to the Society’s sites and museums.

For more information please see the field trip lesson fact sheet.

New History Live Lessons Launch
Minnesota Historical Society educators will deliver new, dynamic history lessons live to students across Minnesota and the nation this fall via video conferencing technology. Ten award-winning History Live lessons are available for students in grades 2-12, meeting academic standards from social studies to science.

History Live will introduce two new lessons this fall: “Messages Through Time: American Indian Culture Preserved in Stone” explores archaeology, history, geology and science for grades 4-6. The second, “The Dred Scott Family & the National Debate Over Slavery,” examines the quest for freedom by a famous family with Minnesota ties and is designed for high school students.

For more information please see the History Live fact sheet.

Professional Development for Teachers
The Minnesota Historical Society supports hundreds of teachers every year with workshops, seminars and online courses. From instructional seminars about the new Revised Second Edition of “Northern Lights” to three day Historic Site Immersion workshops, teachers can access a wealth of resources.

New in 2013 is a self-paced online course, “A History of Minnesota.” Online courses include downloadable primary-source activities for the classroom, video clips and a comprehensive list of resources.

For more information please see the Teacher Professional Development fact sheet.

“Then Now Wow” Minnesota History Exhibit
“Then Now Wow” is a hands-on, interactive exhibit at the Minnesota History Center designed specifically for students and families. It covers Minnesota history from lumbering and fur trading to contemporary immigration and suburban expansion while supporting state social studies standards and complementing the new “Northern Lights” textbook and curriculum.
Input from Minnesota teachers, parents and students played a major role in the development of “Then Now Wow.”
For more information please see the “Then Now Wow” fact sheet.

History is Creative with Curriculum Kits
Teachers and students explore American Indian culture, history and arts with a hands-on Ojibwe Shoulder Bag Activity Kit based on stories from the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe in Central Minnesota. The kit includes pre-printed bags which can be designed, colored and decorated in one day. The bags are based on authentic beaded Ojibwe bandolier bags.

For more information please see the Ojibwe Shoulder Bag Activity Kit fact sheet.

History Day
National History Day in Minnesota, a partnership of the Minnesota Historical Society and the University of Minnesota, challenges students in grades 6-12 to conduct in-depth research relating to a national theme, then create and present their findings through papers, exhibits, performances, documentaries and websites.

Projects can be entered into competitions at the school, regional, state and national levels. Minnesota students are consistently top finishers in the National History Day competition held annually in Washington, D.C.

For more information please see the History Day fact sheet.

History Player in the Classroom
Teachers can bring fascinating historical figures right to their classroom with 11 different History Players ranging from Harriet Bishop, St. Paul’s first public school teacher, to Frederick McKinley Jones, an African-American inventor and engineer. History Player visits are a great alternative to field trips. In a 2011 study by the Society, 100 percent of teachers surveyed said that the History Players held students’ interest and kept them engaged.

For more information please see the History Player fact sheet.

Coming Soon
The Minnesota Historical Society has several exciting education programs now in development including a new mobile application that will revolutionize the field trip.

For more information please see the Coming Soon fact sheet.

About the Minnesota Historical Society
The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. The Society collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, the Society preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history.

Select education programs are made possible by the Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the vote of Minnesotans on November 4, 2008.

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