Tag Archives: Social Studies

Cinco de Mayo Resources

KimJonesimageBy Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

Cinco de Mayo (the 5th of May, on Monday this year) is perhaps a bigger holiday in certain parts of the United States than it is in Mexico. This is despite it being a celebration of a victory by the Mexican Army over French troops in 1862 at Peubla, Mexico. The observance in the U.S. is a celebration of Mexican-American culture among the large community in the U.S. of people with a Mexican heritage.


In Mexico it is observed primarily in the state of Puebla and is known as the Day of the Battle of Peubla (in Spanish: El Día de la Batalla de Puebla).

Cinco de Mayo is not just about a national fiesta. It is an important springboard for learning about Mexican history and culture. We currently have a number of featured Social Science resources on Curriki for this year’s observance.


For Elementary School: Cinco De Mayo Vocabulary Worksheet

Contributed by: Curriki’s Thematic Collections – This worksheet includes vocabulary related to Cinco de Mayo.

For Middle School: Mexico Geo-Political Map

Contributed by: Marshall Cavendish

For High School: The African Influence in Mexico

Contributed by: Brenda Faye – This curriculum unit is based on experiences as a participant in a Fulbright-Hays Seminar Abroad. The unit explores the African presence in Mexico from a historical and cultural perspective.

You can also find additional Cinco de Mayo resources on Curriki hereWe hope you find some of these resources useful in your classrooms.

Nobel Prizes Awarded for 2013

KimJonesimageBy Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

Somewhere around the world, in one of your classrooms, there is a future Nobel Prize winner in the making! Help inspire them and all your other students toward future successes, great and small. Curriki has thousands of resources related to the disciplines in which the Nobel Prizes are awarded.

These most prestigious of prizes are awarded each year in accordance with the will of Alfred Nobel, who was born in Sweden 180 years ago. An inventor, chemist, and engineer, he is best known as the inventor of dynamite; when he died in 1896 he had 355 patents in his name. The Nobel committee which decides on the awards in the various categories is based in Sweden. An exception is that the Peace Prize is selected by a committee based in Norway. Prizes are awarded at the discretion of the committees in the categories of Chemistry, Physics, Medicine, Literature, Peace, and Economics.

Alfred Nobel

Alfred Nobel

For this year, awards have been made as follows:

Chemistry – Drs. Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt, and Arieh Warshel were awarded the Chemistry Prize for advances in molecular modeling using high performance computers. You can find around 745 chemistry resources on Curriki at http://www.curriki.org/welcome/resources-curricula/ (by searching on Science / Chemistry).

Peter Higgs (image credit: Gert-Martin Greuel)

Peter Higgs (image credit: Gert-Martin Greuel)

Physics – Drs. Peter Higgs and Francois Englert were awarded the Physics Prize for their Higgs boson prediction. The new particle, named for Higgs, was discovered in 2012 after decades of searching and is the mechanism providing mass to other fundamental particles (such as quarks, electrons). You can find 1287 physics resources on Curriki.

Medicine – Drs. James Rothman, Randy Sheckman and Thomas Sudhof were awarded the prize in Medicine for increasing our understanding of transport mechanisms inside cells. There are around 1288 health resources on Curriki.

Too Much Happiness, short stories by Alice Munro

Too Much Happiness, short stories by Alice Munro

Literature – The Literature Prize was awarded to Alice Munro, a Canadian, for her contemporary short stories. You can find around 1520 literature resources on Curriki.

Peace – The Peace Prize for 2013 has been awarded to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons “for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons”. The OPCW is supported by the United Nations, and according to the NY Times “The organization’s mission is to act as a watchdog in carrying out the Chemical Weapons Convention, which came into force in 1997 with four aims: to destroy all chemical weapons under international verification, to prevent the creation of new chemical weapons, to help countries protect themselves against chemical attack, and to foster international cooperation in the peaceful use of chemistry. Since its creation, the organization has sent experts to carry out 5,000 inspections in 86 countries..” There are a number of resources on issues around peace on Curriki, but we’d like to see more, please contribute in this category if you are able.

Economics – The Economics Prize is not yet announced as this blog goes to press. There are over 1000 economics-related resources on Curriki.

These several thousands of open educational resources freely available on Curriki may help you inspire a future Nobel Prize winner, or if not, at least can help to inspire and educate a future great scientist, author, or contributor to world peace. And if you can add to the collections in any of these categories, please do!

Hispanic Heritage Month

KimJonesimageBy Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki 

In the U.S., Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15th to October 15th. It honors the many contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the U.S. Many Hispanics have immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico, Central America and Latin America. Just considering the government sector, Hispanics have served as Governors, in Congress, in the Cabinet and on the Supreme Court.


Why does the observance of Hispanic Heritage start in the middle of the month? Because the 15th of September is observed as the Independence Day for a number of countries in Central America. These include Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua. And the next day, September 16th, is Mexico’s Independence Day. Furthermore, Chile and Belize celebrate their independence 2 days and 5 days later than that, respectively.

Many cities, towns and states in the U.S. have Spanish names, since they were originally founded by Spanish colonialists. Among these are San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Fe, Albuquerque and San Antonio. California and Florida are two states with Spanish names.

ImageSan Francisco

In fact Curriki’s headquarters are in Cupertino, California (the same city in which Apple’s headquarters are found) and both the city and state are Spanish names. The Spanish named a creek which runs through the city after Saint Joseph of Cupertino (Copertino is a town in Italy, his birthplace). The name of the creek is now Stevens Creek, but the city, which was named much later, has adopted the original name of the creek.

Here are resources for Hispanic Heritage Month on Curriki:


There are a number of resources on Curriki in the Spanish language. But certainly not enough. We encourage Spanish speakers from around the world to see how you can contribute educational resources in the Spanish language to Curriki.


July Resources at Curriki

janetpic_preferred_croppedBy Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

There are new featured resources highlighted at Curriki for the month of July, in math and science, and in social studies and English language arts. See these pages on the Curriki site covering the four subject areas:

ELA: http://www.curriki.org/welcome/subjects/english-language-arts-11/

SS: http://www.curriki.org/welcome/subjects/social-studies-10/

MATH: http://www.curriki.org/welcome/subjects/mathematics-10/

SCI: http://www.curriki.org/welcome/subjects/science-11/


Since Independence Day is next week in the U.S., we highlight U.S. history here. One of the curricula under the Social Studies category above is a high school level U.S. history curriculum.


This curriculum covers all of the material outlined by the College Board as necessary to prepare students to pass the AP U.S. History exam.

Upon completion of this course students will:

  • Demonstrate comprehension of a broad body of historical knowledge.
  • Express ideas clearly in writing. Work with classmates to research an historical issue.
  • Interpret and apply data from original documents.
  • Identify underrepresented historical viewpoints.
  • Write to persuade with evidence.
  • Compare and contrast alternate interpretations of an historical figure, event, or trend.
  • Explain how an historical event connects to or causes a larger trend or theme.
  • Develop essay responses that include a clear, defensible thesis statement and supporting evidence.
  • Effectively argue a position on an historical issue.
  • Critique and respond to arguments made by others.
  • Raise and explore questions about policies, institutions, beliefs, and actions in an historical context.
  • Evaluate primary materials, such as historical documents, political cartoons, and first-person narratives.
  • Evaluate secondary materials, such as scholarly works or statistical analyses.
  • Assess the historical significance and cultural impact of key literary works (e.g. Common Sense, Uncle Tom’s Cabin).

Notice that this curriculum is built around critical thinking: comprehension, interpretation, expressing ideas clearly, persuasion, analysis, developing an argument with defensible support, critiquing and assessing documents, policies, beliefs, and cultural impact.


For those of you outside of the U.S., there is a great resource, Tour of the Universe, that we can all relate to. This is for use in middle school grades 6, 7, or 8 to meet astronomy and earth science standards; it has integration with mathematics, history, and technology subject areas.


This semester of science focuses on a linear exploration of our universe. Students begin by exploring the history of astronomical thought, then move to our current understanding of the universe, including the structure of the solar system, and end with a study of our home planet, Earth.

Take a look at these 12 highlighted resource areas for July, there is sure to be one or more of interest in the list!

Top OER Classroom Resources for June

By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

janetpic_preferred_croppedWe’re featuring June’s top OER resources for elementary, middle and high school students.  Feel free to add them to your collection, modify them, or share them with others!

English Language Arts


This resource contains Clifford The Big Red Dog: Interactive Storybooks. Find phonics fun, games, and stories for early readers.


Rags to Riches Game Students play ʺwho wants to be a millionaireʺ style game to practice grasping the meanings of words by context clues.

c3HIGH SCHOOL: Fotobabble

Fotobabble lets users create ʺtalking photosʺ that are completely web-based. Users upload a photo or image, click ʺrecordʺ to record their voices through the computer’s microphone and then click to save and share their new, audio-captioned photos. It’s a great resource for language teachers and ELL teachers.

Social Studies

c4ELEMENTARY: Summer Coloring Pages

This link takes you to a site with loads of coloring pages to keep kids busy once school lets out.


In QUANDARY, players aged 8-14 shape the future of a new society while learning how to recognize ethical issues and deal with challenging situations in their own lives. Players must make difficult decisions in which there are no clear right or wrong answers but important consequences – to themselves, to others in the colony and to the planet Braxos.

c6HIGH SCHOOL: World Geography Flashcards

World Geography Flashcards offers 250+ flashcards with images covering world geography, countries and capitals.


c7ELEMENTARY: Plant Adaptation Game

In this game, you must choose the best ecoregion for the given plants. This resource is part of the Biology Links for One Laptop Per Child course.

c8MIDDLE SCHOOL: Code Fred: Survival Mode (Body System Educational Game)

In Code Fred: Survival Mode, you’ll play mini-games to send adrenaline to help Fred run faster, build a blood clot to help heal a wolf bite, prioritize energy intake to the most critical organs, and even fight bacteria invaders after Fred gets sneezed on in the woods.

c9HIGH SCHOOL: STEMware: Zombie Plague

In STEMware: Zombie Plague, students explore a 3D world where they are responsible for identifying the pathogenic microorganism causing a deadly outbreak and implementing a cure. Embedded assessments allow teachers to track student interactions.

Please share this blog with others who might enjoy these resources.

Interview with Rob Lucas, Educator and Curriki member

If you could give a TED talk, what would it be about?


The public value of learning. Social media gives students an opportunity to learn while creating knowledge of value to communities outside the school. They can conduct research of public interest, post it to blogs, wikis, and video-sharing sites, and then judge the reception of their work. By doing this, students not only develop knowledge and skills but learn why learning matters. Not everyone thinks about educational technology in these terms, so I’d like a chance to convince them. 

Why do you use Curriki?

I am inspired by the vision of educational resources that are open to all–and to building an online educational environment where teachers, students, and other citizens can learn bycontributing to the learning commons.

What advice would you give to new teachers?

Cultivate a habit of reading newspapers, magazines, professional journals, websites, and well-written public scholarship. Watch films and documentaries, too, and listen to radio and podcasts, looking for ways in which these give purpose, meaning, and value to your subject matter. Obviously, a new teacher will spend a great deal of time developing basic practices of teaching like managing a classroom–and rightly so! But the more you can remain connected to both your students and to broader public conversations, the more sustaining your work will become.  

What’s the first website you check every day?

Probably Slate.com. I love provocative well-written opinion journalism. Social studies teachers should also check out their new blog of intriguing historical documents, The Vault, written by Rebecca Onion.http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_vault.html

What would you be doing if you weren’t in your current role today?

Today, I’m a postdoctoral scholar, but I’d also love to be teaching high school AP US History. More and more, though, I find myself interested in documentary photography and film making. There’s no career change in my future, but with luck, I’ll find some way to work that in to my research and teaching.

Name your favorite guilty pleasure.

Spy novels on audiobook. Lately, I’ve been hooked on a mid-twentieth-century writer named Eric Ambler. Try Epitaph for a Spy or A Coffin for Dimitrios.

Handwritten Mail to the Chief

By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

NHD_header-1National Handwriting Day in the U.S.A. will be on January 23, 2013. The “lost art” of handwriting is celebrated each January 23 on John Hancock’s birthday.


In order to promote good penmanship, and civic engagement, the Handwriting Without Tears company is encouraging elementary students to send handwritten letters to the President. They can provide advice and “share … hopes for the future, words of wisdom, good wishes” as President Obama’s second term begins. Letters should be sent to Mail to the Chief by January 15, 2013. Their web site has information on how to participate, for grades K-5, including downloadable information packets and double-lined paper. You can visit their site here: http://www.hwtears.com/sites/default/lpform/mttc2012form.php?pc=website

Why handwritten letters? Handwriting Without Tears maintains that “Handwriting is more than a style—it’s a thought process. It’s the primary way elementary students communicate. Handwriting promotes an organized approach to communication, maximizes thinking time, and boosts creativity.”

Here are a few of the more interesting suggestions from handwritten letters send by students at the beginning of the President’s first term:

·         “You should get a group of scientists to try to make a flying car that runs on air.” (Ryan in Delaware)

·         “Always be truthful. You will avoid trouble.” (Ainsley in Rhode Island)

·         “Can you stop the racism and stop the wars? Make people remember their manners.” (Victor, 4th grader in North Carolina)

·         “Sometimes I hope schools will have better food. Sometimes it looks like it expired a long time ago.” (Joel in Arizona)

·         “I would like for you to change the Food Lion to have lower prices.” (Mirian, 4th grader in North Carolina)

·         “If reporters are asking you questions, just smile and answer one at a time.” (Sophie in Nebraska)

·         “Bullies should be arrested and go to jail.” (Eden, 2nd grader in Indiana)

·         “I know you’ve heard of global warming. Everyone has, but most people aren’t doing anything.” (Alana, 5th grader in Tennessee)

·         “My advice I’d like to offer you is to lower taxes. Also, if you are getting a dog, you should get a beagle. They are really cute!” (Julia, 3rd grader in New York)

·         “I think you should stop the wars and don’t let your dog break anything.” (Ben, 1st grader in Massachusetts)

·         “Please work with other presidents and kings. Meet with them and become their friends. Then we can all get along.” (Abigail in Wisconsin)

·         “You know there is mother, father and grandparent’s day, right? I think there should be kids day.” (Izel, 5th grader in Maryland)

·         “Never doubt or be scared, for you are the president of the U.S.A.” (Evan in Michigan)