Day In History: September 16-23 Free Resources

The Great Seal of the US, Mount Rushmore, the US Capitol, History of Hot Air Balloons, Don’t Ask–Don’t Tell, Stonehenge, Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Equinox and Solstice all have related events in history this week. Use the event in history to teach your class important background information. Keep a section of the board (or project on a screen) to displaywhat happened today in history and find events/resources listed below. Free resources for each date are included in this blog post. At the bottom of the post you will also find links to my TPT resources for each topic. They are differentiated passages with comprehension questions which can supplement your Day In History lesson.

September 16: The Great Seal of the United States

The Great Seal of the United States of America was impressed upon a document for the first time on September 16, 1782.

This documentary film is approximately 15 minutes. Although it is older, (created for the bicentennial), it is a well-created documentary. is a website with extensive information about the seal. Clicking on the menu to the left of the site brings information about each of the symbols on the seal and explains how the themes of liberty, peace, unity, and the number 13 are depicted in the seal.

September 17: Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore, the monument sculptured into the granite in South Dakota, tells a story of preservation, birth, growth, and development of this country. September 17, 1937, the Abraham Lincoln section of Mount Rushmore was dedicated.

The webcams available on Mount Rushmore help students to understand the magnificent monument. At the time of this blogpost, the live webcam was inactive due to construction. Even without the live feed, the site has interactive pictures which give students information about the impressive structure. Click here for the website and be sure to click the tabs at the top to view the various resources.

September 18: the US Capitol Building

President Washington laid the cornerstone for the Capitol building on September 18, 1793.

Using this link, students can take a virtual tour of the US Capitol Building. Clicking and dragging can allow the student to control their tour. Captions give important historical information.

September 19: First Hot Air Balloon

The history of the hot air balloon began September 19, 1782. The first hot air balloon ride took place in Versailles. 

Although not for everyone, this lesson has students create hot air balloons that lift off from candle power. This appears to be very engaging and a winner for secondary science classes.

Not ready for that one? Try this documentary “The Colorful History of Hot Air Balloons from the History Channel. “

September 20: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

President Obama signed the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell mandating that effective September 20, 2011 homosexuals would no longer be discharged from the military for admitting their sexuality.

This timeline by the US Naval Institute Key Dates in U. S. Military LGBT Policy dates back to 1778 and provides a summary of homosexuality and how it was handled by the military.

September 21: Stonehenge

September 21, 1915 Stonehenge was purchased by Sir Cecil Chubb.

This short National Geographic Slide show gives students a look at Stonehenge. There is an interesting Q and A session with Archaeologist Julian Richards available from PBS. Students will see common questions answered by an expert.

September 22: Dead Sea Scrolls

Dead Sea Scrolls are ancient manuscripts found in the Qumran Caves in the West Bank near the Dead Sea. September 22. 1991 images of the Dead Sea Scrolls were released to the public.

This short video (approx 4 min) from the TODAY show, illustrates how NASA technology is being used to decipher the archeological wonder of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

September 23: Equinox and Solstice

Frequently September 23 is the day of the Autumnal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere and the Vernal Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere.

Following a brief discussion of the equinox, solstice, and seasons, this site from gives a chart listing the date and time of the equinox and solstice from 2019-2025.

To view TPT resources for any of these topics, click on the link below to be taken to the Teacher’s Pay Teachers site.

Each resource includes a differentiated article with a passage written at three levels (Passage 1, grades 9-10, Passage 2, grade 8, and Passage 3, grades 6-7). For each passage and each level there are 5 comprehension questions (main idea, vocabulary, organizational pattern, inference, and summarizing). There is also a chart for data-collection if you use multiple Day In History passages.

Great Seal of the United States

Mount Rushmore

The US Capitol

History of the Hot Air Balloon

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell


Dead Sea Scrolls

Equinox and Solstice