I really enjoyed the Growth of a Nation activity from the Animated Atlas website. The presentation takes you through the growth of the United States from 1780 all the way through to the current day.
The website is fully interactive and works great on the Smartboard; it allows you to pause and restart the presentation; it allows you to slide the time line pointer to advance to different time periods, it allows you to click on the states to see more detail; and it even provides a scrollable time line that organizes pertinent data into key topics.
The presentation would make a good starter activity for teachers, and student can use the site as an engaging resource for United States History. In addition, teachers could use the Smart Screen Capture utility to capture various time periods and use the images inside Smart Notebook.
It may be fun to capture images from different time periods and then have students guess what period the image represents. Or, you could build a puzzle of different time periods and then have the students guess what time period the puzzle represents.
Here’s a Notebook file containing a puzzle for the period 1840 – 1860.
The site also has an accompanying video on YouTube which show the expansion of the United States in under one minute.
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