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The Middle East: What’s in a name?

The Middle East. You can’t consume the news or study history without hearing about this multicultural and multi-ethnic region. Many of us could probably point to it on a map or name some of the related countries, but it’s important to remember just how vast and vibrant this area is! Take a moment to pull up a map now–digital is fine! Place your finger on Egypt, home to the pharaohs and the Great Pyramid. Trace your finger up the Nile River to the Mediterranean Sea. Tracing along the coast, you’ve reached the Levant, home to the Ancient Israelites and Phoenicians.…

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The Importance of Using Authentically Sourced Materials

At History Unboxed®, our commitment to authenticity sets us apart in the realm of education. We believe in going beyond textbooks, offering students a hands-on experience with materials sourced directly from the very places they are studying. But why is this so important to us? Cultural Authenticity When we use culturally authentic materials, it gives students an opportunity to experience windows and mirrors. “Windows and mirrors” means giving students windows to see into different cultures and experiences and mirrors to reflect their own identity and background. Authentic materials make for the clearest and most reflective windows and mirrors. When I…

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A Brief History of Book Banning

It’s Banned Book Week! This year’s theme is “Let Freedom Read!” In this blog post we are going to talk a little bit about the history of banning books, and give you a few suggestions on banned books that can be paired with specific History Unboxed® boxes. Let’s get started! Banned Book Week was started in 1982. At that time book banning had really ramped up and activists wanted to fight to make sure books were accessible to everyone. Each year, The Office of Intellectual Freedom at the American Library Association compiles a list of the most challenged books of…

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Hispanic Heritage Month Educational Resources

Hispanic Heritage Month Educational Resources Hispanic Heritage Month starts on September 15th, and runs through October 15th. This year’s theme is Latinos: Driving Prosperity, Power, and Progress in America. The celebration starts on September 15th because that was the day that many Central American countries gained their independence. Like many of our month-long celebrations, Hispanic Heritage Month began as a week-long celebration in 1968.  In 1988, President Ronald Reagan declared that Hispanic Heritage would now be celebration over the course of a month, starting on September 15th. To learn about Hispanic Heritage Month, check out Hispanic Heritage Month Unboxed.  In…

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Historical Research: Wikipedia

This week we are starting a new series on historical research. In this blog post we will focus on historical research using Wikipedia, and its strengths and weaknesses. This post is by Stephanie Hanson, History Unboxed’s® Creative Director. When I was majoring in history, I had to write a senior thesis. The course was called “1968” and my topic had to center around major events that took place in that year. I knew I wanted to write about the American Indian Movement, but had zero background knowledge other than their occupation of Alcatraz Island. My research required primary sources and…

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A History of Memorial Day: Celebrating those Who Died in Battle

Did you know that Memorial Day wasn’t always called Memorial Day? If you ask your parents or grandparents they might remember the holiday  being called Decoration Day. It wasn’t until 1967 that the holiday became officially known as Memorial Day. It was established as a federal holiday on May 13th, 1938 and is celebrated on the last Monday in May. In this blog post we’ll talk about the history of Memorial Day and its origins in Decoration Day, and some ways that people celebrate the holiday that carry on the original spirit of honoring those who died in military service.…

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Learning Resources for Ancient Pompeii

I don’t know about you, but when I think about what the city of Pompeii looked like immediately after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE, I envision a city completely buried by ash and dirt. But the city wasn’t completely buried, and tops of houses, sculptures, and other artifacts would have been poking up out of the dirt, giving those returning after the eruption a guide for where to dig. Survivors and grave robbers returning to the covered city after the eruption was over dug and tunneled in to get personal items and steal valuables. While the city…

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A Brief History of April Fools’ Day!

Would it surprise you to learn that April Fools’ Day, celebrated every year on April 1, has been celebrated for thousands of years in many countries and communities around the world? Today, April Fools’ Day is generally celebrated as a day of mischievous and (hopefully) harmless pranks put on by both individuals and mass media, but it hasn’t always been that way. Let’s explore the mostly true history of April Fools’ Day. Want more info on calendars? Check out our Calendars Unboxed downloadable lesson. Ready to leave the winter behind and dive into some Spring learning? Check out Spring Unboxed…

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6 Episodes of Doctor Who for History Lovers

If you are searching for Doctor Who episodes for history lovers, you might be a Whovian. Just in case you don’t know, a Whovian is a fan of Doctor Who, the wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey British sci-fi show.  As the Doctor travels through time and space, they often come into contact with famous historical figures or historical events on Earth.   What are your favorite episodes? Here are a few examples of Doctor Who episodes that you can tie into your history study:  Season 4: Episode 2: The Fires of Pompeii (79 AD/CE, Pompeii) The Doctor and his companion, Donna, travel back in…

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The Benefits of Hands-On History Activities

Why Choose Hands-On Learning for History? You might have ended up here because you were looking for hands-on history resources.  But have you ever thought about why this style of learning is so important? Sure, it’s fun. But is it effective? Short answer: Yes! Children learn better when they have hands-on interactions with learning materials. Students who learn through hands-on activities develop a deeper understanding of the material. They remember more facts when they use hands-on materials. When students use more than one of their senses, they are better at finding meaning. This helps them remember more. Multi-sensory experiences build neural…

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Native American Heritage Month Teaching Resources

November is Native American Heritage Month.  In our American history boxes, we talk about the role of Native Americans in every box.  It’s only right. We need to talk about Native American history all year long, but next month is a perfect time of year to do a deep dive. Here are some resources for appropriate and respectful study.  Discussing appropriate terminology:  When discussing Native American cultures, it is always best to use the specific name of the group or nation you are talking about.  If you are discussing multiple groups, preferences vary.  There is no single answer to which…

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