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Table of Contents
Kansas Today
Sights and Sounds
Student Activities
Crossword Puzzles


Key to Kansas

Student Activities

  1. Overview
  2. Prehistory - 1799
  3. Kansas Joins the United States: 1800 - 1841
  4. Early Statehood: 1842 - 1865
  5. The Old West: 1866 - 1899
  6. Early 20th Century: 1900 -  1940
  7. Mid & Late 20th Century: 1941 - 1999
  8. The New Millennium
  9. Other Activities


1. Create a land form map of Kansas. Color each area a different color. State one unique characteristic about each area. In which area do you live? Click here for an outline map of Kansas.

2. Create a map of Kansas and draw the major rivers in the state. Then identify the large cities that are along each river. Click here for an outline map of Kansas.

3. Make a chart that shows the three branches of government in Kansas. List the components of each branch and their responsibilities. Draw lines between responsibilities which show how the branches implement checks and balances over each other.

4. Compare the Kansas constitution with the United States Constitution in the following ways:
        A. How are responsibilities shared and limited by the two constitutions?
        B. How are the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government defined by the two constitutions?
        C. What are the similarities and differences in the Bill of Rights of the two constitutions?

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Prehistory - 1799

1. Make a scale model of TIME! Using one wall of the classroom arrange different lengths of various colored yarn to represent the Precambrian Era to the present. Label each era, period, and epoch.

2. See if you can find a fossil in your yard or in a nearby streambed. Bring it to class to make a display with your classmates.

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Kansas Joins the United States: 1800 - 1841

1. Play PBS's Lewis and Clark Game and experience the trip they took.

2. Complete the project Life on the Great Plains from EdSITEment and learn about early American settlements in this region.

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Early Statehood: 1842 - 1865

1. Complete the Acitivity: Popular Sovereignty and the Lecompton Constitution from the Territorial Kansas web site.

2. Complete the Acitivity: Rights and the Wyandotte Constitution from the Territorial Kansas web site.

3. List the amendments to the Kansas constitution since it was originally passed as the Wyandotte Constitution. Have the class vote on the most important amendments and explain why they are the most significant.

4. Complete the activity about Causes of the Civil War from EdSITEment. In this activity, students will list differences and similarities between life in the North and the South in the years before the Civil War and discuss how these differences contributed to serious disagreements between the North and South.

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The Old West: 1866 - 1899

1. What was it like to participate on a cattle drive along the Chisholm Trail? What hazards were encountered on the drive? Create a diary describing a "long drive" in which you are a participant. (Check out On the Chisholm Trail for ideas.)

2. Create a map showing the major Railroad routes that were built through the state in the late 1800's. Identify the towns that were stops along these lines during this time. Click here for an outline map of Kansas.

3. Imagine that you are a European immigrant to Kansas during this period. Write a letter to your relatives back home and tell them what life is like in Kansas. Tell them where you have settled in Kansas. How does the geography and weather compare to your homeland? What type of living conditions and job prospects are there for you?

4. Complete the Activity: The Indian Agent Appointment Interview from the Library of Congress web site. In this activity, students play the role of a Quaker applying for a job as a federal Indian agent on the frontier in the 1870s.

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Early 20th Century: 1900 - 1940

1. Complete the Activity: Voices for Votes, Suffrage Strategies from the Library of Congress web site. In this activity, students examine a variety of primary source documents related to the women's suffrage movement. They identify different methods people used to influence and change attitudes and beliefs about suffrage for women.

2. Complete the activity Dust Bowl Days from the EDSITEment. Students will list problems ordinary Americans faced during the Great Depression and cite examples of the attempts of the government and citizens to solve these problems.

3. Make a family tree of your ancestors. Identify when each student's first ancestors came to Kansas and in what part of the state they originally settled. How many students are first generation Kansans (i.e. they moved to Kansas after they were born)? Identify what jobs your ancestors held. Does your family's employment reflect economic changes in the recent history of Kansas?

4. Complete the activity United We Stand from the Library of Congress web site. In this activity, students will describe the working conditions in the United States at the turn of the twentieth century that gave rise to the labor union movement and use primary documents to understand and justify the rise of organized labor unions.

5. Complete the lesson 3, The Great Depression and the 1990s from the Library of Congress web site. In this lesson, students will examine certain New Deal programs and identify in what form they exist today.

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Mid & Late 20th Century: 1941 - 1999

1. Find out if any of your ancestors participated in World War II. If so, find out in what military branch they served, what their rank was and in what capacity they were involved in the war. Did any of your female ancestors work in factories during the war?

2. Complete the activity On the Home Front from EdSitement. This activity is on the actions taken on the home front to help with the war effort during World War II.

3. Complete the activity Listening to History from EdSitement. This activity is on conducting an oral interview with a family member.

4. Complete the lesson Exploring Cultural Rituals from the Library of Congress web site, In this lesson, students will use photos, documents, and music from the American Memory collection and other resources to investigate rituals and customs of various cultures.

5. Conduct an interview with someone from your community of a different ethnic background than your own. How do their experiences differ from your own family's experiences?

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The New Millennium

1. Participate in the activity Is the Electoral College Out of Date. In this activity, students will gain an understanding of the electoral college system, interpret and analyze the need for an electoral college in today's political society and make proposals on changes to the electoral college system.

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Other General Activities

1. In our study of history, we use primary and secondary sources to acquire information. Click on the link above to find the difference between primary and secondary sources. Then create a list of sources and categorize each item as a primary or secondary source. For example, how would you categorize an original photograph of an event and a newspaper article about an event? Finally, complete the activity from the Library of Congress on Analyzing Primary Sources.

2. Complete the lesson America Dreams - through the Decades from the Library of Congress web site. In this lesson, students will research the American Memory collection to uncover the dreams of Americans through the decades.

3. Divide the class into groups. Have each group take one of the major eras in Kansas history and create a presentation for the class describing the major social, cultural, political and economic characteristics in Kansas during each era.

4. Divide the class into groups. Have each group create a timeline that identifies the significant people and events for one of the major eras of Kansas history. Post each group's timeline along a classroom or hallway wall to create a complete timeline of Kansas history. Go to the Timelines page for a list of timelines on Kansas history.

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