United States

The United States has long been a sought-after home. It is a nation of immigrants--of families who left their homelands seeking a new or different way of life in America. Prehistorically, Native American Indians crossed a land bridge from Asia to North America. Original American colonizers were English and French and Dutch and Spanish. In the first one hundred years of the United States, there was a steady movement of immigrants into the new nation. Some of them came involuntarily as slaves. Then beginning in the late 1800s and lasting until about the 1950s, there began an enormous outpouring of families looking for a new life in America. From 1892 to 1954, more than 15 million people passed through Ellis Island into the United States. This represented the largest migration of human beings in modern history. Almost half of the citizens living in the United States today are descended from the families who came through Ellis Island. Additional families came through the Angel Island immigration station in California. Most of these hopeful families came to America because they were poor and without a future. They came because they were unwanted and unrewarded. They came to be able to think and say what they believed without fear of repression or punishment. Some came for adventure. But mostly they came for opportunity.

Sample some of the following activities to learn more about our home, the United States.


Places To Go    People To See    Things To Do    Teacher Resources    Bibliography

Places To Go

The following are places to go (some real and some virtual) to find out about the United States.

Angel Island
Visit Angel Island. From 1910 to 1940, the island processed hundreds of thousands of immigrants, the majority from China. 
Ellis Island
Ellis Island is the symbol of American immigration and the immigrant experience. Use the Free Search to find your immigrant ancestors arriving through the Port of New York at Ellis Island between 1892 and 1924.
Famous US Museums
Visit some famous museums in the United States:
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the main library for the entire United States. It has an incredible section called American Memory which is America's story in words, sound, and pictures.
Mount Rushmore
This epic sculpture features the faces of four exalted American presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. If you were to design a new Mount Rushmore, who would you choose to be carved into the mountain?
National Scenic Byways Online
A collection of drives in the United States that offer breathtaking natural or historical scenery. Select "Scenic Byways By State" to see the best drives in Utah.
The Oregon Trail
Travel along the trail and take part in this great western journey.
Roadside America
Explains how to get to vacation destinations like the world's largest ball of twine in Cawker City Kansas or the Jello Museum in Le Roy, New York. Click on the electric map to see the interesting sidetrips in Utah.
Smithsonian Institute
The world's largest museum and research complex, with 19 museums, 9 research centers and more than 140 affiliate museums around the world.
United States Mint
Find out all about US currency. Check out the designs for the new quarters--each state has its own design for these. See the new one dollar coin that features Sacagawea. It will be available in March of 2000.
USA CityLink
Visit any major city in the United States. Click on a state and then choose a city in that state. Visit Milwaukee, Wisconsin and find out their average summer temperature, if they have a Harley-Davidson plant, and what their professional hockey team is called.
Valley Forge
Learn about George Washington's six month encampment there. This site has a fun kids' page with games and activities.
The Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the America Civil War
This project takes two communities through the experience of the Civil War. The project is an archive of thousands of sources for the period surrounding the Civil War for Augusta County, Virginia, and Franklin County, Pennsylvania.
Washington Monument
You can see views of Washington, D.C. in all directions radiating from the monument. While you're at it, visit the Lincoln Memorial.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone is probably one of the most famous natural attractions in the United States. From this site, you can take three different online tours for a scenic virtual visit.

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People To See

Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln Online offers Lincoln news, discussion, Lincoln speeches, historic places connected to Lincoln, Lincoln events, Lincoln books, Lincoln resources, and Lincoln links.
Ben Franklin
Learn more about Ben Franklin. He was an accomplished and versatile man.
Betsy Ross
Learn about Betsy Ross, the first American flag, the Betsy Ross House, Betsy Ross's life and how to cut a 5-pointed star in one snip.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
Visit with American civil rights leader, prime mover of the Montgomery bus boycott, keynote speaker at the March on Washington, and the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
Lewis and Clark
Enter the world of Lewis, Clark and the rest of the Corps of Discovery.
Norman Rockwell
Norman Rockwell was a famous american artist. Look at many of his famous illustrations at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Rutland Town, Vermont. When you are finished, learn even more about this artist
Visit with Pocohontas and find out the real facts about her life. Compare these facts to the Disney movie.
Presidents of the United States
In this resource you will find background information, election results, cabinet members, notable events, and some points of interest on each of the presidents.
Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States and is a universal symbol of freedom and democracy.
Thomas Edison
Exchange ideas with Thomas Edison, one of our greatest American inventors.
Uncle Sam
Learn how Uncle Sam came to be a political symbol for the United States.
Woody Guthrie
Woody wrote the folk song, This Land is Your Land, creating a portrait of the diversity of the United States and its people.
Famous Americans
Just for fun--visit with these famous americans:
Great American Women
Learn more about these great American women:

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Things To Do

Ellis Island Interviews: In Their Own Words
Visit your school or public library and check out this book by Peter Morton Coan. This author has compiled firsthand accounts of surviving immigrants who came through Ellis Island.
The Great American Melting Pot
Remember those short, entertaining Saturday morning Schoolhouse Rock cartoons? You can now see and hear them online! This one is about the wonderful ethnic diversity that is part of the United States.
Library of Congress - Today In History
Each day an event from American history is illustrated by digitized items from the Library of Congress American Memory historic collections.
USA Today
Read nationwide news from USA Today or from the Associated Press or from CNN News. Or even find local online newspapers from any area of the United States at NewspaperLinks.
World Time Zone
Figure out what time it is in Atlanta, Georgia if it is 9:00 pm in Reno, Nevada.
WWW Virtual Library - American Indians
Learn more about the native peoples of America. Learn about the different Native American nations, languages, culture, issues, and literature.

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Teacher Resources

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  • Baines, John D. The United States. Austin, Tex.: Raintree Steck-Vaughn, c1994.
  • Brooks, Philip. United States. New York: Children's Press, c1996.
  • Deltenre, Chantal. The United States. Hauppauge, NY: Barron's, 1994.
  • James, Ian. United States. New York: F. Watts, c1990.
  • Sandak, Cass R. The United States. Austin, Tex.: Raintree Steck-Vaughn, c1997.