Conscription School Activities

Conscription School Activities

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During the Second World War the British government was constantly monitoring the success of its various policies concerning the Home Front. The government was also aware of the possibility that it might be necessary to introduce legislation to deal with any emerging problems.

It is December 1941. You have been asked to write a report on Conscription. This is to be divided into two sections.

Conscription: Main article

Things you should consider include:

(a) What was the Military Training Act?

(b) What was the Schedule of Reserved Occupations?

(c) Why did the government pass the National Service (Armed Forces) Act in 1939?

(d) Why did the government pass the National Service Act in 1940?

(e) Why did some people refuse to be conscripted into the armed forces?

Things you should consider include:

(a) Would you make any changes to the National Service (Armed Forces) Act in 1939?

(b) What should the government do about conscientious objectors?

10 Inspiring Black History Month Activities for Students

February is Black History Month: the celebration of African American history, contributions, and achievements that’s recognized annually across the United States and Canada.

For teachers, it’s a great opportunity to teach with intention, honoring the tradition and showing students its importance, along with the importance of Black history and culture.

And this year, it's more important than ever to uphold this tradition and celebrate Black history — no matter where your students are learning.

Use these 10 activity ideas to teach Black history all month and keep your students engaged, whether they're in-class or online!

The Military Draft During the Vietnam War

In November 1965, draftees are leacing Ann Arbor, MI to be processed and sent to basic training camps. The November 1965 draft call was the largest since the Korean War.

The Draft in Context

The military draft brought the war to the American home front. During the Vietnam War era, between 1964 and 1973, the U.S. military drafted 2.2 million American men out of an eligible pool of 27 million. Although only 25 percent of the military force in the combat zones were draftees, the system of conscription caused many young American men to volunteer for the armed forces in order to have more of a choice of which division in the military they would serve. While many soldiers did support the war, at least initially, to others the draft seemed like a death sentence: being sent to a war and fight for a cause that they did not believe in. Some sought refuge in college or parental deferments others intentionally failed aptitude tests or otherwise evaded thousands fled to Canada the politically connected sought refuge in the National Guard and a growing number engaged in direct resistance. Antiwar activists viewed the draft as immoral and the only means for the government to continue the war with fresh soldiers. Ironically, as the draft continued to fuel the war effort, it also intensified the antiwar cause. Although the Selective Service’s deferment system meant that men of lower socioeconomic standing were most likely to be sent to the front lines, no one was completely safe from the draft. Almost every American was either eligible to go to war or knew someone who was.

Selective Service induction
statistics during the Vietnam
War era.

History of the Draft

Conscription during the 1960s took place under the legal authority of the peacetime draft, because the United States never formally declared war on North Vietnam. Legal authority for a peacetime draft came from the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, signed by President Franklin Roosevelt in order to mobilize American civilian-soldiers in anticipation of entry into World War II. During the Korean War, the Selective Service began the policy of granting deferments to college students with an academic ranking in the top half of their class. Between 1954-1964, from the end of the Korean War until the escalation in Vietnam, the “peacetime” draft inducted more than 1.4 million American men, an average of more than 120,000 per year. As part of their Cold War mission, many state universities required ROTC training by male students, although campus protests caused administrators to begin repealing mandatory ROTC in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

President John F. Kennedy, who began the escalation of the American military presence in Vietnam, also defended the peacetime draft and the Selective Service in 1962 statement, stating that “I cannot think of any branch of our government in the last two decades where there have been so few complaints about inequity.” One year later, the Pentagon acknowledged the usefulness of conscription, because one-third of enlisted soldiers and two-fifths of officers “would not have entered the service if not for the draft as a motivator.” The Selective Service also authorized deferments for men who planned to study for careers labeled as “vital” to national security interests, such as physics and engineering, which exacerbated the racial and socioeconomic inequalities of the Vietnam-era draft. Of the 2.5 million enlisted men who served during Vietnam, 80 percent came from poor or working-class families, and the same ratio only had a high school education. According to Christian Appy in Working-Class War , “most of the Americans who fought in Vietnam were powerless, working-class teenagers sent to fight an undeclared war by presidents for whom they were not even eligible to vote.”

In the 1964 Presidential election,

LBJ makes a speechwhere he

promises to not escalate the war

Broken Promises Lead to Discontent

Lyndon Johnson ran as the “peace” candidate in his 1964 campaign against conservative Barry Goldwater, who wanted to escalate the military offensive against North Vietnam and the Viet Cong guerillas. In October, at a campaign appearance in Ohio, Johnson promised that “we are not about to send American boys 9 or 10,000 miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.” But in the months after the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, Johnson rapidly increased the U.S. military presence in the defense of South Vietnam, with 184,000 troops stationed there by the end of 1965. During that pivotal year, while UM professors organized the first Vietnam teach-in and Students for a Democratic Society launched the campus antiwar movement, the U.S. military drafted 230,991 more young men. During the next four years, the Selective Service inducted an average of around 300,000 young men annually--including a significant percentage of the 58,156 American troops who would die in the conflict.

America Had No Choice But to Escalate?

In July 1965, at the beginning of this steady escalation, President Johnson attempted to explain the need for increased military intervention in Vietnam in a press conference announcing that draft inductions would increase from 17,000 to 35,000 per month. LBJ started his address by quoting a letter from an American mother asking why her son had to serve in Vietnam for a cause that she did not understand. The president rephrased the question in his own words: “ Why must young Americans, born into a land exultant with hope and with golden promise, toil and suffer and sometimes die in such a remote and distant place?” Johnson lamented his responsibility “to send the flower of our youth, our finest young men, into battle” and said he knew “how their mothers weep and how their families sorrow.” But, he explained, America had no choice, because North Vietnam and Communist China sought to “conquer the South, to defeat American power, and to extend the Asiatic dominion of communism. . . . An Asia so threatened by Communist domination would certainly imperil the security of the United States itself.”

President LBJ discusses why the
U.S. is at war with Vietnam in a
1968 speech entitled, "Why Are
We in Vietnam?"

Feelings Towards the Draft

The military draft and the escalation of the Vietnam war played a major role in turning direct action resistance into a mass movement on college campuses in the mid-1960s, including at the University of Michigan. In a 1965 Michigan Daily article, experts unveiled the fear that the military was not receiving enough volunteers and recognized the need to make military service more attractive to well-educated Americans, not just to those who had no other option but enlistment or induction. Bill Ayers, a UM student activist who was arrested in a 1965 sit-in at the Selective Service Office, discussed how conscription can actually benefit society in a 2015 interview. First, he argued, because the draft affects the people around an individual, they are more likely to pay attention to the foreign policy decisions being made by the government. Therefore, Americans in the era of the draft were much more actively engaged in politics and in questioning the true consequences of foreign policy decisions. Second, Ayers pointed out that an all-volunteer military has created a poor man’s army, because enlistment is attractive to individuals who have no other options because they are poor or uneducated.

Bill Ayers says the draft made people, who were normally

unaware of U.S. foreign policy decisions, more concious to

On December 1, 1969, the first draft lottery since 1942 began, but college deferments were kept intact. Anti-war activists recognized the draft lottery system did not produce truly random results. The draft received even more resistance as dissenters became more frustrated with the system. Finally, Nixon ended the draft in January 1973, but by then the war was almost over.

Citations for this page (individual document citations are at the full document links).

1. Michael S. Foley, Confronting the War Machine: Draft Resistance during the Vietnam War (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003), esp. pp. 35-40 Christian G. Appy, Working-Class War: American Combat Soldiers and Vietnam (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1993), esp. pp. 1-43 (quotation p. 27).

2. Selective Service System, “Induction Statistics, < >, accessed April 26, 2015.

3. Lyndon B. Johnson, “Remarks in Memorial Hall, Akron University,” October 21, 1964, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States , 1964, Book II, pp. 1391-1393

4. Lyndon B. Johnson, “The President’s News Conference: Why Are We in Vietnam?” July 28, 1965, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States , 1965, Book II, pp. 794-803 .

5. “Experts See Changes Needed in Draft Policy,” Michigan Daily , May 20 1965.

6. Interview of Bill Ayers by Obadiah Brown and Chris Haughey, March 26th, 2015.

Teaching the Declaration without Overwhelming Students

How might I teach the Declaration of Independence to high school students who are visual and verbal learners? What films or reading assignments will engage them, and yet not overwhelm them with the sometimes difficult wording of the Declaration itself?


Ah, the Declaration of Independence, a document so essential to understanding our American past and present that every student should read and learn about it. Luckily, its ideas and historical significance are truly engaging and can help make its difficult eighteenth century prose more accessible for our students.

How about starting with an idea or line from the document? One of our favorites is the line regarding the right and duty for those threatened with absolute tyranny to “throw off such government.” This is one of several powerful ideas in the Declaration that can engage students before they confront the entire document. (It could also be just considering the document’s title! Declaring independence is something most adolescents can get their heads around and this can lead into exploring when and why this might happen and how one might frame such a declaration to win supporters. Consider what “The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,” signaled to readers on both sides of the Atlantic and how they had gotten to this radical place.)

Considering the historical and contemporary significance of the document can also engage. Do students have a grasp of the road to Revolution, do they understand the chain of events and rising discontent in the Colonies? The risk to the signers? The historical moment? This background knowledge can help students in understanding the import of the document and its prose. Or look at instances where the document serves as a model (the Seneca Falls Declarationhref>)
or reference point (MLK’s reference to it as “promissory note” in his I Have a Dream Speechhref>)

As far as reading the document, we suggest two intertwined approaches (both to be used with a transcribed version).

1. Help students see the structure of the document so they know what to expect. Show them how it moves from initial paragraphs that get what the states are doing and why, to a list of specific grievances, to assurances that these are not capricious complaints or actions and then the ultimate declaration.

2. Plan activities where they read excerpts from the document closely and carefully. Phrases and sentences work here—select them carefully and scaffold student work with strategies like pair work, paraphrasing, and vocabulary help.

Some other ideas include:
Looking at the original documenthref>.

Sign the documenthref>. Have students find the anomaly (your signature) on a handout or decide whether to sign on themselves after considering the stories behind the signers href>and the historical moment.

Look at the rough draft of the Declarationhref> or use this lesson planhref> which involves a careful comparison between the drafts.

For a primer on the document, see this historian’s helpful discussionhref> that includes a consideration of the historical events surrounding the Declaration, analyses of particular excerpts and its consequences and legacy.

See the Library of Congress’ Web Guidehref>

Connect with images. For example, this onehref> or this onehref>.

Admittedly, we focus on the reading of the document. There are several resources like the recent film National Treasurehref>, the older film 1776href>, or the Independence episode of the recent TV miniseries John Adamshref> that some teachers use to talk about the Declaration of Independence.

A new way to bring visual learners to the text of the Declaration is through YouTube. Your students may be interested in this video clip of well-known actors reading the Declarationhref> in its entirety .

While these resources could be used to accompany the kinds of reading activities we mention here, it would be too bad if they trumped the actual Declaration, a document that talked about equality before our Constitution did and deserves every student’s eye.

Government Boarding Schools Once Separated Native American Children From Families

In 1879, U.S. cavalry captain Richard Henry Pratt opened a boarding school in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. But it wasn’t the kind of boarding school that rich parents send their children to. Rather, the Carlisle Indian Industrial School was a government-backed institution that forcibly separated Native American children from their parents in order to, as Pratt put it, “kill the Indian in him, and save the man.”

Over the next several decades, Carlisle served as a model for nearly 150 such schools that opened around the country. Like the 1887 Dawes Act that reallotted Native American land, or the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ 1902 “haircut order” specifying that men with long hair couldn’t receive rations, Native American boarding schools were a method of forced assimilation. The end goal of these measures was to make Native people more like the white Anglo-Americans who had taken over their land.

At boarding schools, staff forced Indigenous students to cut their hair and use new, Anglo-American names. They forbid children from speaking their Native language and observing their religious and cultural practices. And by removing them from their homes, the schools disrupted students’ relationships with their families and other members of their tribe. Once they returned home, children struggled to relate to their families after being taught that it was wrong to speak their language or practice their religion.

Conscription School Activities - History

Clip 1 (length 5:51)
Returning home to Hue, Vietnam

Clip 2 (length 5:49)
Visiting Saigon and Vietnam's new economy

Clip 3 (length 6:17)
In Hanoi: Forgetting the past, looking ahead

Available for purchase in VHS format at ShopPBS

Target Grade Levels:
Grades 9-12

Vietnam War (Legacy), Communism, Propaganda, Reconstruction

More than a million Vietnamese and nearly 60,000 Americans lost their lives during the Vietnam War. Today, nearly two-thirds of Vietnam's population was born after the fighting took place. How does Vietnam's communist government teach this new generation about the war? What specifics can Vietnamese youth tell you about the conflict? After your class has studied the Vietnam War, pose these questions to students and give them about five minutes to write down their ideas. Then tell them that you are all going to view a video of a Vietnamese-American's return visit in 2003 to his homeland, and tell them that after watching the video, you will be asking them to compare the ideas they wrote down with what they saw in the video.

Show these clips from "Vietnam: Looking for Home."
If you have time, you might want to show the entire piece (total length: 17:26).

At 1:20 into the story
In: "Thirty-five years ago, communist troops attacked . "
Out: ". weren't even born when the fighting happened."
Length of clip: 2:44

At 14:20 into the story
In: "This is Hanoi's elite high school . "
Out: "Better they dance than fight."
Length of clip: 1:40

Discuss these questions as a class.

  • How did student responses to the questions posed earlier compare with what they saw in the video?
  • How does the history of the Vietnam War as taught to Vietnamese students compare with what was studied in your class?
  • Who decides how history is taught?
  • Based on the video, how is Vietnam healing from the war?

Conclude the activity by having students individually write a lesson plan that would teach what they think is the most important element for the world to remember about the Vietnam War. For ideas, students can consult their text, notes from the class's study of the war, and the Links and Resources
section of the story "Vietnam: Looking for Home."

Relevant National Standards

These standards are drawn from "Content Knowledge," a compilation of content standards and benchmarks for K-12 curriculum by McRel (Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning), at

United States History, Standard 27: Understands how the Cold War and conflicts in Korea and Vietnam influenced domestic and international politics

Cross-Curricular Activities
Consider building on the themes of the above activity by working with colleagues in other disciplines to conduct the following activities.

Protest Violence with Painting (Art)

Over the past 20 years, Sri Lanka has been the site of more suicide bombings than anywhere else in the world. To fight against the tendency for society to become desensitized by such violence, a group of local artists paint a colorful mural at each bombing site to serve as a memorial. Have students read the brief narrative and watch the slide show at Fighting Terror With Paint Brushes.

Ask students to consider these questions.

  • What is the key message of the art of "road painters"?
  • Who is the intended audience for this message?
  • Will such street paintings have a positive impact? Why or why not?

Visit the "Sri Lanka: Living With Terror" Web resources to see the slideshow, watch the full FRONTLINE/World television segment in streaming video, read a synopsis, follow the reporter's diary, or gather related links and facts:

Relevant National Standards

Visual Arts, Standard 3: Knows a range of subject matter, symbols and potential ideas in the visual arts

Write About the Communist and Postcommunist Experience (English)

Show students the story "Romania: My Old Haunts."
Before viewing the short (18 minutes long) film, explain that Romania was ruled by communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu from 1965 until his execution in 1989. In the video, students will see and hear reporter Andrei Codrescu as he takes a personal journey back to his homeland to see how Romania is faring more than a decade after the fall of communism. Have students divide a sheet of paper in half and label one side "During Communist Rule" and the other side "After Communist Rule." Ask students to take notes while they watch, listening closely and making careful observations about life in Romania, both during communist rule and afterward. After viewing the piece, have the class discuss what they observed, then have students use their notes as a content source for writing a poem, drawing a political cartoon, creating a travel brochure or writing a comparison/contrast essay.

Visit the "Romania: My Old Haunts" Web resources to see the story in streaming video, read a synopsis of the story or interview with the reporter, or gather related links and facts:

A transcript of the story is also available:

Relevant National Standards

Language Arts, Standard 1: Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process

Write an Editorial on the Wall Being Built to Separate Jews and Arabs in Israel (English)

Ask students the purpose of building fences and walls. Begin the class discussion with backyard fences and walls, then move to those found throughout the community. And finally, discuss the purposes of large-scale political walls, for example, the Berlin Wall and the Great Wall of China. Are walls and fences to keep things out? to keep things in? both? What would happen if no fences or walls were put up in each of the circumstances discussed? On a blackboard or marker board that is visible to everyone, list some of the issues raised during the class discussion.

Next, break students into seven groups and assign each group a different section of the Web-exclusive story "Israel: Tracing Borders"
Have all the groups read the introduction to the story, then have them read their assigned section. As they read, students should take notes on the purpose of Israel's Seam Line Project and on social, political and economic issues that the building of the wall raises. How do these issues compare with the list of issues made earlier?

Ask students to write a newspaper editorial that seeks to persuade readers either that the Seam Line Project will help ease tensions between Jews and Arabs or that the project will intensify these tensions. Editorials should be based on what students believe after learning and thinking about the issue, and should include specific evidence drawn from "Israel: Tracing Borders" to make the case.

Relevant National Standards

Language Arts, Standard 7: Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of informational texts

Levels III and IV, Benchmark 1
Uses reading skills and strategies to understand a variety of informational texts

Levels III and IV, Benchmark 2 Knows the defining characteristics of a variety of informational texts

Montessori Teachers

Q. What special training do Montessori teachers have?
A. As with the choice of a Montessori school for children, an adult must also exercise wisdom in choosing a teacher training course. Anyone can legally use the name "Montessori" in describing their teacher training organization. One must be sure the certification earned is recognized by the school where one desires to teach.

The two major organizations offering Montessori training in the United States are the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI, with a U.S. branch office called AMI-USA) and the American Montessori Society (AMS). Most training centers require a bachelor's degree for admission. Training ranges from 200 to 600 pre-service contact hours and covers principles of child development and Montessori philosophy as well as specific uses of the Montessori classroom materials. Montessori training centers can be found across North America and around the world.

There are other courses which can help one better understand Montessori theory or which can train adults to work in certain schools. It is important to balance the amount o time and money one can spend with the teaching opportunities desired.

Lesson Plan & Activities 6-8

Here you can find lesson plans and activities that may be useful in classrooms 6-8.

USGS Kids- Activities
Activities, games, coloring pages, projects, and stories that teach younger children about animals, climate change, bee population declines, wild birds, and more.

Animal Coloring Sheets- Activities
Individual coloring pages of birds, bats, reptiles, amphibians, and otters from our friends at the Western Ecological Research Center.

Wildlife and Contaminants- Lessons
A series of lessons targeted to high school students that introduces the topic of ecotoxicology and guides students through the scientific process of gathering raw data and drawing conclusions about the impact of contaminants on wildlife.

Become a Phenology Observer- Activity
The National Phenology Network (sponsored by the USGS) is looking for volunteers to help monitor plant and animal species found across the United States. Learn how to monitor plant and animal phenology and sign up to contribute new observations to the national phenology database. Make this a classroom project!

Lessons on the Lake: An Educator's Guide to the Pontchartrain Basin- Lessons
Louisiana's Lake Pontchartrain Basin is home to 1.5 million people and an estuary ecosystem with enormous biodiversity. Activities in the educator's guide help students in grades 5-12 gain an understanding and appreciation of the Basin and teaches them the skills to identify environmental concerns, make changes, and solve problems.

Land and People- Activity
Students look at interactions between people and the environment in three regions of the United States: Cape Cod, Los Angeles, and the Everglades. Targeted to grades 7-12.

Interactive San Francisco Bay Data- Activity
Look at plots of data collected from the water of San Francisco Bay, then generate your own plots using real data. How does a change in light penetration compare to water temperature? Does a change in salinity correspond with a change in chlorophyll?

North American Amphibian Monitoring Program (NAAMP)- Activity
NAAMP is a collaborative effort that uses volunteers to monitor populations of vocal amphibians. Participants who meet minimum standards are assigned roadside routes where data is collected after dark. This program is currently only active in states in the central and eastern U.S.

Topographic Map Resources for Teachers - Lessons and Activities
This directory level site includes links to various resources on topographic maps, how to obtain them, read them, their history, and map projections and includes links to various teaching activities and modules. It is the one-stop shop for learning about, using, and teaching topographic map concepts.

Exploring Maps - Lesson
Exploring Maps is an interdisciplinary set of materials on mapping for grades 7-12. Students will learn basic mapmaking and map-reading skills and will see how maps can answer fundamental geographic questions. The map images and activities in this packet can be used in various courses, including geography, history, math, art, English, and the sciences.

Constructing a 3D Topographic Map- Activity
This exercise uses clear plastic take-out lids, each marked with a different elevation line, and stacked to produce a 3D topographic map. It includes a base map of Angel Island (San Francisco Bay) but can be adapted to any local topographic feature.

27 Ideas for Teaching with Topographic Maps- Activites
Contains 27 ideas for teaching with the approximately 57,000 topographic maps that the USGS offers.

Map Mysteries- Background Information and Activity
Sample questions to use with USGS topographic and thematic maps as starting points to uncover mysteries about the cultural and physical geography of the Earth.

Corn Maze Geography- Activites
Visit a corn maze and use these activities to learn about maps and geography.

How to Use a Compass with a USGS Topographic Map- Activity
Learn to navigate using a topographic map and a compass.

Topographic Maps Illustrating Physiographic Features- Activity
Topographic maps can be used to study a wide range of physical features in the United States. This helps students learn about the geologic evolution of the Nation's natural landscapes and shows how topographic maps reveal more about the land surface than just its shape and elevation. Roam your cursor across maps and images on this online viewer to learn about selected features of the American landscape.

Map-It: Form-based Simple Map Generator- Activity
Enter the longitude and latitude of points to plot on a simple map. Download a postscript version of the resulting map. Satellite Imagery

Tracking Change over Time- Activity
Enhance students' learning of geography, map reading, earth science, and problem solving through landscape changes recorded by satellites in space.

AmericaView- Lessons
USGS is a partner in AmericaView, which has lesson plans and other education resources for working with satellite imagery. Mostly targeted to grades 6-12.

Tracking Change over Time- Activity
Enhance students' learning of geography, map reading, earth science, and problem solving through landscape changes recorded by satellites in space.

AmericaView- Lessons
USGS is a partner in AmericaView, which has lesson plans and other education resources for working with satellite imagery. Mostly targeted to grades 6-12.

3D Paper Models- Activity
3-D paper models (with accompanying Educator Guides) are a fun and interactive way to teach geologic concepts. Although these models were created in the 1990s and have a somewhat low resolution, they’re still good! Animations mentioned in the Educator Guides are no longer available

Journey Along a Field Line- Activity
A sixteen-page comic book about the Earth's magnetic field. Travel down through the interior of the earth then back up into the ionosphere to learn how the magnetic field works.

Antarctic Ice Sheet- Lessons and Activities
This report illustrates, through a paper model, why there are changes on the ice sheet that covers the Antarctica continent. By studying the paper model, students will better understand the evolution of the Antarctic ice sheet. Animations mentioned in the Educator Guides are no longer available.

Chicxulub Impact Event- Lessons and Activities
This report illustrates, by means of two paper models, how dinosaurs may have become extinct as a result of an asteroid impact. By studying the paper models, students will better understand the mass extinctions that have been part of the Earth's history. Animations mentioned in the Educator Guides are no longer available.

Crinoids- Lessons and Activities
This report illustrates, through the use of a paper model, how crinoids lived and became fossilized. By studying the paper model, students will better understand the flower-like animal that is referred to as a "sea lily" and its ocean-floor environment. Animations mentioned in the Educator Guides are no longer available.

How to Construct Four Paper Models that Describe Island Coral Reefs- Activity
This report contains instructions and patterns for preparing a set of four, three-dimensional paper models that schematically illustrate the development of island coral.

Make Your Own Paper Fossils- Lessons and Activities
This report illustrates, by means of paper models, how two organisms, a trilobite and a nautiloid, became fossils. The report is intended to help students and others visualize the size and shape of a trilobite and a nautiloid, the environment in which they lived, and the circumstances of their fossilization and subsequent discovery. Animations mentioned in the Educator Guides are no longer available.

Make Your Own Paper Model of a Volcano- Lessons and Activities
This report contains instructions and a pattern for making a three-dimensional paper model of a volcano. This model is intended to help students and others to visualize a stratovolcano (inside and out) and to learn some of the terms used by geologists in describing it.

Paper Model Showing Motion on the San Andreas Fault- Activity
This report contains instructions and patterns for preparing a three-dimensional model that schematically illustrates the fault motion that occurred during the Loma Prieta earthquake of October 17, 1989, in California. The model is intended to help students and others visualize the process of fault slip during earthquakes.

Sand Dunes- Lessons and Activities
This report illustrates, through computer animations and paper models, why sand dunes can develop different forms. By studying the animations and the paper models, students will better understand the evolution of sand dunes.

How to construct 7 paper models that describe faulting of the Earth- Activity
This report contains instructions and patterns for preparing seven three-dimensional paper models that schematically illustrate common earth faults and associated landforms.

2 Paper Models Showing the Effects of Glacial Ice on a Mountain Valley- Activity
This report contains instructions and templates for preparing three-dimensional paper models of two features a mountain valley partly filled by a glacier and the same valley after the glacier has melted. Included are brief descriptions of how such glaciers form, how they erode the landscape, and what kinds of physiographic features they produce.

Earthquake Effects- Lessons and Activities
The report is intended to help students and others visualize what causes earthquake shaking and some of the possible results of the shaking. Animations mentioned in the Educator Guides are no longer available.

Landslide Effects- Lessons and Activities
This report illustrates how four different types of landslides (slide, slump, flow, and rockfall) occur and what type of damage may result. The report is intended to help students and others visualize what causes landslides and some of the possible result of the landslides. Animations mentioned in the Educator Guides are no longer available.

Lifecycle of a Mineral Deposit- Lessons and Activities
This teacher’s guide includes are 10 activity-based learning exercises that educate students on basic geologic concepts the processes of finding, identifying, and extracting the resources from a mineral deposit and the uses of minerals. The guide is intended for grades 5 through 8 science teachers and students.

Plate Tectonics Tennis Ball Globe- Activity
Create a mini globe that shows the major plate boundaries of the world (scroll to page 15).

This Dynamic Planet Teaching Companion Packet- Lessons and Activities
This Teaching Companion is intended to assist teachers to teach plate tectonics, primarily for grades 6–14.

Schoolyard Geology- Activities
Structured activities use man-made features that are found in a typical schoolyard to demonstrate geologic principles.

Collecting Rocks- Activity
Learn about different types of rocks and how to identify and collect them.

What's in My Soil?- Activity
Students separate, examine and identify the major components of soil to better understand how these components give soil its unique physical characteristics.

Introduction to Soils- Lesson
This complete lesson plan teaches students how soils develop and provides links between soils, climate, vegetation, and geology. Includes materials for both teachers and students (handout, puzzle, field and lab sheets).

Graded Bedding- Activity
This activity introduces students to the concept of sorting materials in different mediums and the sedimentary feature called graded bedding. Students will discover that water is a good medium to separate and sort particles, and that particles behave differently in water than in air.

Geologic Age- Activity
Students investigate radioactivity as a tool for measuring geologic time.

Global Change- Activities
Includes introduction, activities, and teaching guide for topics relating to global change, time, and earth systems. Targeted to grades 4-6.

Tracking Change over Time- Activity
Enhance students' learning of geography, map reading, earth science, and problem solving through landscape changes recorded by satellites in space.

Greenhouse Gases- Activity
Students observe and contrast thermal properties of three major greenhouse changes over time for dry air, water saturated air, carbon dioxide, and methane.

Evaluating Glacier and Landscape Change- Lesson
In this lesson students interpret USGS data in multiple formats and draw conclusions based on the data presented.

Tabletop Earthquakes- Activity
Construct a simple earthquake machine to demonstrate the principles of seismology. Includes supporting instructional material.

Size and Occurrence of Floods- Activity
Students use macaroni or beans to calculate the statistics of floor recurrence (see back side of poster).

Living with a Volcano in your Backyard- Lesson
A three-unit guide that provides science content and inquiry-based activities about volcanoes of the Cascade Range for middle-school students, with an emphasis on Mount Ranier. Includes more than 30 activities, a field guide, glossary, and supplementary information.

Predict an Eruption!- Activities
This highly interactive site uses animations, illustrations, activities, and quizzes to show how eruptions at Mount St. Helens were accurately predicted by USGS scientists, then allows students to predict an actual eruption using real data.

The Fragile Fringe: A Guide for Teaching about Coastal Wetlands- Background Information and Activites
Material to use for developing a comprehensive study of coastal wetlands. Includes background information, suggested activities, glossary, references, and reading list. Activities can be demonstrated by the teacher or performed by students. Emphasis is on Gulf Coast wetlands.

Wise Wetland Ways- Activity
Teachers use wetland "artifacts" to stimulate a discussion about how we benefit from wetlands (see back of poster).

USGS Water Science School- Activities and Photos
The best starting point for a wealth of general information about water science. What is water? What are its properties and how are they measured? How is water used? How does the USGS measure streamflow and collect water samples? A glossary, picture gallery, and activity center are among the many additional features.

Hands-on Experiments to Test for Acid Mine Drainage- Activity
Fourteen very basic exercises use home-made litmus paper and household items to test creek water for acid mine drainage and to look at plants, bacteria, and insects living in the water.

Water Education Posters- Lessons and Activities
Water-resources topics of all completed posters are drawn in a cartoon format by the same cartoonist. Posters are available in color or B&W. The back sides of the color poster PDF files contain educational activities: one version for children in grades 3-5 and the other with activities for children in grades 6-8. The B&W posters are intended for coloring by children in grades K-5.

Outreach Notebook for Groundwater- Lessons
Five groundwater-related lesson plans for grades 6-8, complete with forms, diagrams, and supporting information. Although these were designed to be taught by an instructor and a water professional working together, a thoughtful educator could easily handle the lessons on their own.

Size and Occurrence of Floods- Activity
Students use macaroni or beans to calculate the statistics of floor recurrence (see back side of poster).

Egg Drop

Divide students into groups of four to six. Give each team a raw egg and instruct them to use the materials you will provide to devise a contraption to keep the egg from breaking when dropped from a height of 6 feet or more. In a central location, provide an assortment of inexpensive craft materials, such as:

  • Bubble Wrap
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Newspaper
  • Fabric
  • Drinking straws
  • Craft sticks
  • Pipe cleaners

Set a time limit (30 minutes to an hour). Let each team explain how their device is supposed to work. Then, each team can drop their egg to test their device.

The egg drop activity targets collaboration, problem-solving, and thinking skills.


There is much more to an MIT education than study and research in classrooms and laboratories. Numerous activities and groups are available that complement academic pursuits and provide opportunities for students to grow and develop new interests or lifelong pursuits. Student organizations help in students' overall leadership development and build important life skills. This section describes just a few of the activities that add to campus life.

There are approximately 450 co-curricular student organizations at MIT (many open to both faculty and students), including the Outing Club, the Solar Electric Vehicle Team, the Debate Team, the FM local broadcasting station (WMBR), the MIT Society for Women Engineers, the Student Art Association, Model UN, and interest groups focusing on dance, chess, ham radio, and strategic games, to name just a few.

Many students are actively engaged in service work either through the Priscilla King Gray Public Service Center or on their own. Groups such as Alpha Phi Omega, the national service fraternity, Amphibious Achievement, and the Educational Studies Program sponsor active social service programs. For example, the Educational Studies Program provides opportunities for MIT students to work with area high school students.

MIT also has a number of cultural and identity groups including the Black Students' Union, the Latino Cultural Center, the Asian American Association, and the South Asian American Students Association. Over 30 international student organizations sponsor a rich array of programs, including discussion groups and social events. The International Students' Association, for example, sponsors a newsletter, assemblies, and other events. For members and allies of MIT's LGBTQ+ community, [email protected] organizes weekly awareness programs and discussion groups, and sponsors social events throughout the year. The Graduate Women at MIT (GWAMIT) works to promote the personal and professional development of women in graduate school at MIT. MIT also has over 30 religious groups that represent a diversity of faith and spiritual interests.

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