Back to Back Issues Page
A Hands-On Project to Change it Up!
October 26, 2013

An engaging Hands-On Project to change it up in your classroom!

Make a Gift Basket For Someone in History!

Have your students imagine that they could send a very special gift basket back in time to a famous historical figure! Well, they have been chosen to do just that.

Let's pretend: The United States government, along with all of the country’s foremost scientists & engineers, have enabled objects to be transported back in time for a brief moment. They have asked U.S. History students in America to create special gift baskets for different historical figures in American History!

The Assignment:

  1. Students will choose one person in American History that intrigues, inspires, or baffles them. Students may choose anyone they want, as long as the historical figure has contributed in some way to American History.

  2. Everyone must choose a different person.

  3. Make sure students research all they can about their chosen historical figure: Where were they born? Where did they grow up? Where did they go to school? What were their fears? Pet peeves? Likes? Dislikes? Who inspired them? What was their favorite pastime? Food? Place? What should they have learned more about? What should they have known? What were their shortcomings? Greatest achievements?

  4. Have students find or create different objects that reflect what they have learned about their chosen historical figure which they believe should be sent back in time. The objects should be pleasant gifts as well as things that could help the historical figure out in their lives.

  5. On a separate sheet of paper, students must neatly list every item and explain its significance to the historical figure. Make sure students also include all of the sources used (bibliography).

  6. On another sheet of paper, students will write a letter to their historical figure praising them or reprimanding them and explaining to them what their contributions have done to help shape the United States today.

  7. Students will place all of their items in a basket, arrange them neatly, and decorate the basket so that it looks like a gift.


  1. At least six objects, no more than eight.

  2. A list justifying the gift and explaining its relevance to the historical figure chosen.

  3. A bibliography.

  4. A one-page letter to that historical figure, written in correct letter format (fast becoming a lost art).

  5. The basket looks nice (look for creativity more than anything).

  6. Have students present their baskets to the class!

Trust me, this is a fun and engaging project to use in your history classroom! Students will forget they are researching and learning and you will be amazed at their creativity! If you use this project in your classroom, let us know how it turned out! We'd love to feature your testimonial on!

Exciting News!!

My first book, The Imbondeiro Tree, is set for release on October 31st, 2013! It is published by Black Rose Writing and is a memoir of my father's life told through his voice.

Spanning more than eight decades and three continents, The Imbondeiro Tree is the true story of Antonio Augusto who grew up in the tiny Azores Islands of Portugal with big dreams of going to Africa someday. Fueled by courage and conviction, he boards a ship to Angola, Africa as a young adult and his adventure begins. Although Africa is a harsh, unforgiving continent, he is eternally mesmerized by its charms. Then, brutal civil war erupts in 1975 and Antonio's faith and determination are once again put to the test. He faces losing everything and leaving his beloved Angola behind only to start over in Southern California as an immigrant with a family to support.

From the coastal villages of the Azores and the untamed jungles of Africa to Southern California, The Imbondeiro Tree is a testament to the power of ambition and faith and the triumph of the human spirit.

The Imbondeiro Tree is a great addition to your lesson plans! It will work well with a unit on African Colonialism, World History, Immigration, etc.

We are working right now to create unique learning packets to accompany The Imbondeiro Tree and will have them ready soon! Keep checking back on

You can pre-order your copy of The Imbondeiro Tree at Black Rose Writing today!

Don't Forget!

If you'd like to teach a particular unit of study and don't see that it is available for immediate download, that means we haven't created it yet. We can custom-create any unit on any topic in American History, World History, World Geography, American Government, Social Studies, Sociology, Creative Writing or World Religions!

Maybe you'd like to teach a unit on McCarthyism? Or the Armenian Genocide? Or maybe you'd like to teach a unit on the history of and current situation in Syria? These are just some examples, but you can choose whatever you want. We can custom-create unit packages just for you!

Simply click on our Order Page and place your order today!

All of us at wish you an amazing, successful school year!

Back to Back Issues Page