HSI Historical Scene Investigation
How about taking on the role of the investigator to learn about history? A question is posed, then kids investigate evidence provided to draw their conclusions. This is US history, but I think kids from other countries can learn from this site. And who wouldn't want to be a HSI?
I am not an expert in history - far from it. But I know how important it is to teach students to evaluate sources of information when they research. If possible, they should look at primary sources, rather than acquiring information through the filter of someone's opinions. This website looks helpful in that regard:
Awesome Stories is about primary sources. The stories exist as a way to place original materials in context and to hold those links together in an interesting, cohesive way (thereby encouraging people to look at them). It is a totally different kind of web site in that its purpose is to place primary sources at the forefront - not the opinions of a writer. Its objective is to take the site's users to places where those primary sources are located.
The stories available cover world as well as US history, and there are video clips, images and audio files available. This would be a great website for parents and kids to explore together.
(Thanks to Larry Ferlazzo for this link.)
This game is about the three major battles over England in the year 1066. You get to experience warfare from the Viking, Anglo-Saxon, and Norman warrior point-of-view. There really is some history, but it's fun too. (My husband liked it, whereas I thought the music was pretty.) It's a lot like a turn-based board game with strategy.
When You Were Just A Twinkle In A Cro-Magnon's Eye
So you think you've seen it all? Well, in the grand scheme of things, you're just a baby. There are some creatures on this planet that have lived through many a rise and fall of empires. Some whales alive today were gliding through the ocean's waters during the U.S. Civil War, and the world's oldest tree was photosynthesizing while the pyramids were being built. Take a look at six of the oldest living things on Earth.
BBC Schools History Activities
There are many great interactives here. In Romans in Scotland, kids can see an invasion map, explore a Caledonian village, find out more about Roman and Caledonian warriors, and tour a Roman fort. Other activities introduce the Indus valley, World History through artefacts, Mary Queen of Scots, Ancient Greece, Victorian Britain. This is an excellent place to look for engaging activities to supplement children's history learning.
The Object of History
Examine artefacts in the National Museum of American History collection, then become a curator and create an exhibit.
The KidsPast website describes itself as a free online world history textbook. You will also find history games and historical quotes. Children can learn about prehistoric humans, ancient civilizations through to slightly more modern times.
Playing History is a searchable database of 131 free historical games, interactives and simulations. You can also browse games. Sadly, Australia doesn't seem to rate a mention.
(Thanks to Richard Byrne for the two links above.)
Australian History Mysteries
The Australian History Mysteries site has some interactive case studies suitable for high school students.
My Culture Quest
You must explore the world collecting treasures for a museum exhibition. History? Yes, according to my definition - some of these treasures are old! There are bite-sized snippets of history wrapped up in a game interface. Basically, you must read information and answer questions about it to succeed, so it's a great reading activity too.
I know I've already mentioned the BBC, but here is a more general link kindly provided by blog reader, S. Johnston-Robinett, from the Reading Teachers Online Arsenal, who also told us about School History, below.
This is the homepage of all the interactive history content at the BBC website. This site has animations, video and audio clips, image galleries, games, and 3D virtual tours like this one of Captain Cook's The Endeavour. (You may need to download a plug in to watch.) Lots of overlap in subject matter with the BBS Schools link above, but no overlap of actual activity that I could see. You will need hours to explore.
This site is a treasure trove of lessons, links, quizzes, games and interactives. Some suitable for primary classes, but more related to secondary. The search box generates a stack of useful-looking links. Lots of British history, some US. Guess what, Aussies?!
Luckily, I also visited GetThemReading blog where Amanda generously shares her Delicious links, (see sidebar, teacher resources) and finally found some Australian history resources with those bells and whistles I'm so fond of. At the National Museum, you'll find some interactives. I LOVED examining the Harvest of Endurance Scroll,
a 50-metre-long scroll that represents two centuries of Chinese contact with, and emigration to, Australia. The scroll depicts stories of hardship and survival, resourcefulness and reward. Definitely worth a trip to Canberra! And Oscar's Sketchbook is a an old exercise book from the 1880's in which a young Aboriginal man sketched scenes from his daily life.
If you know of any other great online history resources, be sure to let me know.
(Portrait of Captain James Cook, above, is in the Public Domain)