In addition to the many resources available from the North Dakota Studies program at the State Historical Society of North Dakota, other government agencies and organizations also have excellent resources to assist those interested in learning more about North Dakota.
Workshops and learning opportunities for teachers, student programs, and a host of friendly websites help to promote the history and culture of North Dakota.
The Road to Little Rock
Other lessons have been written and developed to help teach a variety of North Dakota studies topics. For example, The Road to Little Rock project has grown into a social justice curriculum and a video presentation that can be utilized by teachers, students, and a wide group of community stakeholders.
Welcome to “The Road to Little Rock.” The curriculum in this project was designed to provide teachers with an added tool to help students discover accurate historical content, to demonstrate relevance of subject matter, to maintain high engagement levels within the classroom, and to provide students the tools to apply their content knowledge to contemporary issues.
“Why do we need to learn this?” This is a question all teachers need to be prepared to answer. To answer this question teachers need engaging and relevant curriculum which demonstrates a clear connection between the activities of the classroom with the lives and personal goals of the students.
A Civil Rights Story –
“The Road to Little Rock” tells a story of nine teenagers and one judge who demonstrated enduring positive human qualities of courage, honor, determination, and responsibility. The story begins in 1957 as nine African-American teenagers sought enrollment at an all-white high school in Little Rock, Arkansas. In 1957 many school districts continued to ignore the 1954 US Supreme Court ruling of Brown v Board of Education which declared that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. Students will witness the courage and determination demonstrated by the “Little Rock Nine” who sought to attend the high school of their choice.Students will also be introduced to US federal Judge Ronald N. Davies, from Fargo, who followed the law, ignored political pressure, and required the school district in Little Rock to integrate “forthwith.”
Interdisciplinary Curriculum –
“The Road to Little Rock” curriculum is applicable for middle and high school students. The content and activities found in “The Road to Little Rock” provide added curriculum for courses in US History, Political Science, US Government, Civics, Sociology, Problems of Democracy and Psychology. The content is also interdisciplinary and contains many components which apply to Language Arts curriculums.
“The Road to Little Rock” curriculum is standards-based with specific connections to North Dakota and Arkansas Departments of Education content standards. The activities are also aligned with the Common Core Standards in English Language Arts Literacy in History/Social Studies.
The curriculum is intended to help teachers add to existing lessons/curriculum—or fill in gaps which may exist in the curriculum. The activities have been designed to adapt to most classroom settings. Teachers are encouraged to use professional skills in determining how to best use the material to best serve the needs of students.
Curriculum Components –
DVD (30 minutes): Includes features from never-seen-before interviews with three members of the Little Rock Nine and US Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. The DVD is a blend of interviews with key individuals who played primary roles in the Little Rock desegregation case, and primary source documentation to tell the story of the events which led to the integration of Little Rock Central High School.
ELEMENTARY VIEWERS GUIDE: Two activities are included in the elementary packet. The activities include primary source text analysis (including quotes and photographs), character education, sourcing information, and application of knowledge. Each activity includes reproducible handouts. Teachers may access the Elementary Viewers Guide at: nd.theroadtolittlerock.org
SECONDARY VIEWERS GUIDE: Seven activities are included in the secondary packet. The activities include primary source text analysis (including political cartoons and photographs), a DBQ style writing assignment, writing essays based on Common Core Standards, character education, sourcing information, and the application of knowledge to contemporary issues. Each activity includes reproducible handouts. Teachers may access the Secondary Viewers Guide at: nd.theroadtolittlerock.org
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Web-based training is available for both the elementary and secondary versions of “The Road to Little Rock” curricula. Each school district may determine whether the professional development should be required or optional. This professional development has been designed to assist individual teachers who want to access this resource on their own. Some school districts and/or regional education associations may also want to organize group presentations (with or without credit).
Curriculum Now Available to North Dakota Schools
The Road to Little Rock curriculum includes elementary and secondary versions:
- DVD Presentation
- Curriculum Guides and Activities
- Training Opportunities
North Dakota Schools may access The Road to Little Rock curriculum at:
Passwords are linked to your local REA. Each of the Regional Education Associations (REAs) will have their own password for their member schools. Please see your local school superintendent or principal for this password.
Inspiring North Dakotans of All Ages
The Road to Little Rock project began in 2010 and has progressed and evolved in a number of phases. Now, nearly four years later, this inspiring story of nine students and one judge has reached thousands of students and others. Since the start of the project, more than 5,000 individuals have watched the video presentation, heard the thoughtful words of Dr. Terrence Roberts, one of the Little Rock Nine, and had the opportunity to reflect on this fascinating piece of our history.
Phase I – Plan and Educate. The North Dakota Humanities Council provided the first of three project grants to sponsor an outdoor “rocking chair” symposium that was held in August 2011 at the Trollwood Performing Arts School as part of the dedication activities for the opening of Judge Ronald N. Davies High School in South Fargo. Over 500 individuals attended, raising the awareness for Judge Davies’ historic ruling in the Fargo-Moorhead community.
Phase II – Premier. The Road to Little Rock video was produced and the curriculum written. Two video premiers were held. The first was at the Historic Fargo Theatre where over 800 individuals attended the event on January 24, 2013. The Arkansas premier was held in Little Rock, Arkansas at Philander Smith College, one of four Historic Black Colleges and Universities in Arkansas on March 19, 2013.
Phase III – Inspire. Between September 20–24, 2013, project premiers were held in Bismarck in conjunction with the Annual Governor’s Conference and sponsored by the State Historical Society of North Dakota; at UND’s Chester Fritz Auditorium in Grand Forks; again at the Historic Fargo Theatre; and in Detroit Lakes at the Historic Holmes Theatre for 1,500 secondary students from Pelican Rapids and Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. During these four events, over 4,000 individuals saw The Road to Little Rock video and heard from Dr. Terrence Roberts, one of the Little Rock Nine.
Phase IV – Implement. The Road to Little Rock curriculum and video was distributed to North Dakota and Arkansas schools. North Dakota schools may access the curriculum at http://nd.theroadtolittlerock.org.
Phase V – Evaluate. This will be the final evaluation where curriculum quality will be evaluated in the following ways: (1) two curriculum experts will be invited to evaluate The Road to Little Rock based upon qualities of effective curriculum; (2) development of an evaluation guide based on research-based best practices in history education; (3) students will be asked their perceptions of the curriculum on the post-measure of knowledge and attitudes; (4) teachers who administer the curriculum will be asked to evaluate the curriculum using the evaluation guide created by the curriculum experts; and, (5) teachers will also be asked to complete a curriculum evaluation.
Renewable Energy Kits
A wind energy and energy generation activity kit is available for checkout at the Teacher Resource Networks around North Dakota. The lesson plans and instructions are also available online by clicking the link below. The kits complement the content of ENERGY: Powered by North Dakota – a fourth and eighth grade energy curriculum for North Dakota Studies.
- Renewable Energy Kits Activities and Lessons (Kits available at Teacher Resource Centers)
On November 10, 1908, the first American dreadnought battleship, the USS North Dakota was christened by Mary Benton of Fargo as it slid from its construction site into the water. The ship was the biggest, heaviest, and fastest ship yet built by any navy. The ship, its builders, the Navy, the United States, and North Dakota were praised in superlatives. The Fargo Forum printed a front page headline declaring the ship to be “Uncle Sam’s Biggest Peacemaker.” Governor John Burke, speaking at the formal launching ceremonies stated that “this is the greatest fighting machine in the world, and named after the greatest agricultural state in this union.”
Lesson plans to teach students about the USS North Dakota are available for grades 4, 8, and high school. These lessons—primary documents and research from the archives of the State Historical Society of North Dakota—offer students, teachers, and the general public an opportunity to study this unique story in our state’s history. Teachers may use these online lessons to teach about early 20th century North Dakota history or to supplement discussions in connection with the launching of the new USS North Dakota submarine in 2014.
Future home of North Dakota during the Civil War years. Content will include maps, biographies, documents, photos, lessons, and activities.
North Star Dakotan
The Mission of Herman Stern
Future home of The Mission of Herman Stern. This is the true story of how one person made a difference in the lives of over 125 people by rescuing them from Nazi Germany. Content will include video, lessons, and activities.