This month, EDSITEment celebrates Asian-Pacific Heritage Month by highlighting the life of Manjiro Nakahama (also known as John Mung), the first immigrant of Japanese descent to the United States. Manjiro and his fellow crewmembers were stranded on an island after a storm cast them adrift. Five months later they were rescued by an American whaling ship, whose captain was so impressed by Manjiro’s intelligence that he adopted the castaway. Manjiro continued on with the whaling ship and eventually made Fairhaven, Massachusetts, his home. (He landed there on May 7, one of the reasons Asian-Pacific Heritage Month is held in May.) Students can follow his voyage via an interactive map and companion worksheet. Other items of interest for Asian-Pacific Heritage Month include lessons on China’s Great Wall and South East Asia’s Angkor Wat as well as through ukiyo-e, Buddha and Jataka tales, and East Meets West through art.
In addition, EDSITEment honors Jewish American Heritage Month by looking at George Washington’s letter to the Hebrew Congregation at Newport, Rhode Island, in 1790; the first time a head of state had ever addressed the Jewish people as equal fellow citizens. See how the principles of civil and religious liberty extolled in the letter and embodied in our Constitution encouraged and rewarded active participation in our nation’s cultural life. EDSITEment also examines Jewish life in America, Jewish people in Western civilization, the struggle for Civil Rights and social justice, and Jewish American arts and sports figures.
This Memorial Day, students can discover The Massachusetts 54th Regiment: Honoring the Heroes, which focuses on Robert Gould Shaw and the Massachusetts 54th Regiment Memorial by Augustus Saint-Gaudens. This great work teaches us about the heroic sacrifices made during the Civil War through moving portraits of the men of the Massachusetts 54th Regiment. This lesson is now enriched with two videos and an essay from an esteemed American architect on how to read an engraved eulogy as well as related lessons.
The new lesson Building Suburbia: Highways and Housing in Post war America helps students learn how automobiles and the Federal Highway Act of 1955 changed the way Americans lived in the Postwar decades and understand why people wanted to move to Levittown. Richard Diebenkorn’s Cityscape I offers one artist’s vision of that changed landscape.
EDSITEment is part of the Verizon/Thinkfinity consortium (formerly known as MarcoPolo) consisting of non-profit or government-based educational sites that focus on all of the standard K–12 subject areas. Some of our partners are National Geographic’s Xpeditions, the Kennedy Center’s ArtsEdge, the Smithsonian Museum of American History, the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics’ Illuminations, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s ScienceNetLinks. Thinkfinity has a search engine that drills down into all our sites by subject or keyword and is revealing a new interactive community for teachers this month.