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History's Mysteries

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Elementary girls at classroom desks talking with animated faces

History's Mysteries K-5 Curriculum

Emerging America has launched this ready-to-use program for classroom and remote instruction.

The kids loved this! They were very interested in the slideshow the entire time. The narration made it seem like a movie. They asked a lot of thoughtful questions and had lots of good discussions. I liked that we had the flexibility to make it last as long or as short as they could handle. - First Grade Teacher

Veteran and award-winning educators Laurie Risler and Kelley Brown created this inquiry-based curriculum featuring primary sources from the Library of Congress and Massachusetts collections.


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Second grade page from the History's Mysteries pilot curriculum.

There are currently History's Mysteries units for each grade level, with more on the way, each fully addressing a topic in the Massachusetts standards for that grade.

  • Kindergarten: What is the difference between now and then?
  • Grade 1: Unit 1: How do communities make decisions?  Unit 2: What makes a good leader?
  • Grade 2: Why do people move?
  • Grade 3: Why do people celebrate the 4th of July?
  • Grade 4: How did water shape work?
  • Grade 5: What is "Free Speech"?


The History's Mysteries curriculum is FREE. Low-cost professional development in using the curriculum is available thanks to support from the Library of Congress. 


The History's Mysteries curriculum was pilot tested by over sixty teachers, including in-person classroom teaching and teaching through remote instruction.

Each grade-level unit invites students to a series of inquiry activities grounded in the 2018 Massachusetts History & Social Science Framework.

  • Each lesson in a unit has a question framed as a mystery. 
  • The first mystery in each unit is an introduction to inquiry.
  • Each mystery has a clickable presentation with optional narration provided.
  • Each mystery teaches vital vocabulary.
  • Customizable handouts and other materials are provided.

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