Northern Lights Features and Curriculum Components

Northern Lights Features and Curriculum Components

Northern Lights is the Minnesota studies curriculum used by over 85 percent of Minnesota’s sixth graders.

For more information or to order

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Student editions

Colorful primary sources and engaging personal stories from the Minnesota Historical Society's collections bring our state's history to life. Student-friendly sidebars engage students as they develop critical thinking skills.

The Northern Lights curriculum is available for students in two versions: the Interactive eBook, out in 2014 and updated annually, and the 2013 print student edition. All the content from the print student edition is included in the Interactive eBook, which also contains additional content, features, and resources.

Northern lights ebook.

Interactive eBook and print version features

  • Addresses all sixth grade Minnesota social studies standards
  • 20 chapters from pre-contact to today in an engaging narrative style
  • Enriched Native American content
  • History, civics, economics and geography connections
  • Vetted by content experts, historians, and teachers


Two students working on an iPad.

Additional features in the interactive eBook

The Northern Lights interactive eBook for students includes all the text, images and features of the student print book, plus:

  • Diverse professional narration that reads the text to students
  • Introductory videos for each chapter plus 17 additional videos throughout
  • Additional primary sources, audio clips, interactive maps, and links to related web resources
  • Annual updates free-of-charge to existing subscribers

The interactive eBook is accessible via our iPad app and via web browser for PCs, Macs, iPads, Chromebooks, the Microsoft Surface, and with limited functionality on other smart devices. Additional detail is available on the “Northern Lights Interactive eBook Tips for Users” web page. 
Contact Matt Horstman for a preview login.


Teacher resources

Northern lights book on an ipad.
  • All the features and resources in the student interactive eBook
  • An embedded PDF of the Northern Lights annotated teacher’s edition for easy access anytime to its additional content and teaching ideas
  • A digital workbook with ongoing digital access to every chapter’s worksheets, tests,  investigation guide, and answer key via editable Google versions, editable Microsoft Word files, and PDFs. Edit the worksheets to tailor the activities and questions to your students' needs


Fan out of the Minnesota maps poster set.

Minnesota maps poster set

Set of eight 24" x 30" posters of Minnesota maps from the student editions of the Northern Lights curriculum (both interactive eBook and print).


Northern Lights annotated text book for teachers.

The print Northern Lights annotated teacher’s edition (ATE) and Northern Lights workbook are bundled together as a two-volume set providing teachers with a range of additional resources. Included in the hardcover, spiral-bound ATE is the student print textbook, plus additional content, best-practice teaching tips, and activity ideas. Reinforcing student learning is easy with the worksheets, tests and answer keys found in the soft-cover, blackline master workbook.

ATE features

  • Background historical information for each chapter and extra content tips throughout
  • Chapter overviews, objectives, discussion questions, and teaching suggestions

Workbook features

There are five worksheets per chapter on the topics below. Answer keys provided.

  • Chapter comprehension
  • Minnesota studies skills
  • Creative enrichment
  • Objective test
  • Investigation guide



Student editions

Interactive eBook

One-time payment covers all sixth graders for the duration of the subscription. Annual updates, as needed, are provided free-of-charge. Note the price break for 5-7 year subscriptions ($10 per student per year, down from $15). In addition, for 5-7 year subscriptions only there is the option to split full payment across two fiscal years.

  • 1 year: $15 x incoming sixth grade enrollment
  • 2 years: $30 x average enrollment
  • 3 years: $45 x average enrollment
  • 4 years: $60 x average enrollment
  • 5 years: $50 x average enrollment
  • 6 years: $60 x average enrollment
  • 7 years: $70 x average enrollment


  • $50 per copy (list price $62.50)
  • $20 per copy with 5-7 year Interactive eBook subscriptions, up to average enrollment

Request a price quote

Teacher resources

Print annotated teacher’s edition + workbook

  • $80 ($100 list price)

Interactive eBook license with PDF of annotated teacher’s edition and editable Digital Workbook

Through October 31, 2022

  • 1 year: $25 per teacher
  • 2 years: $40 per teacher
  • 3 years: $55 per teacher
  • 4 years: $70 per teacher
  • 5 years: $60 per teacher
  • 6 years: $70 per teacher
  • 7 years: $80 per teacher

Beginning November 1, 2022

  • 1 year: $30 per teacher
  • 2 years: $45 per teacher
  • 3 years: $60 per teacher
  • 4 years: $75 per teacher
  • 5 years: $65 per teacher
  • 6 years: $75 per teacher
  • 7 years: $85 per teacher

Minnesota maps poster set

  • $50 per set of 8 maps

Request a price quote