Day In History: January 1-8 Free Resources

Share these events for each day in history with your students. Use the free resources to supplement your instruction. Differentiated comprehension passage available at the bottom of the page from Reading Specialty!

January 1–New Year’s Day and History of Calendar

Julius Caesar 45 BC decreed January 1 the beginning of the year.

This YouTube video, “A Short History of the Modern Calendar” is a 3 minute 54 seconds and packed with information explaining the history of the modern calendar.

January 2–Ellis Island/Immigration

On January 2, 1892, Ellis Island opened as the first federal immigration center in the United States

People have not been able to access the torch of the Statue of Liberty since 1916. A TorchCam allows harbor views from a computer or smartphone. There is also a Crown Cam, Harbor Cam, a Brooklyn Cam and an Interactive Panorama all available from here.

January 3–King Tut

On January 3, 1924 King Tut’s sarcophagus was discovered. Read about King Tut’s life and tomb.

This documentary from the history channel, Tutankhamun Incredible Story of Egyptian Pharoh is extremely engaging. As a classroom teacher you may want to divide the film into a couple days or select excerpts for your class. The entire video is 1:27: 49.

January 4–Isaac Newton

On January 4, 1643 Isaac Newton was born. has multiple resources for teaching about Isaac Newton. The first one is by NASA and includes a short video explaining Newton’s Laws of Motion as it relates to the flight of Orville and Wilbur Wright. They Physics Classroom is an animated tutorial with quiz and interactive activities. The PBS Newton’s Dark Secrets and Sir Isaac Newton: The Universal Law of Gravitation are no longer available. TeacherTech: Newton’s 3 Laws of Motion is great for middle school kids and includes an animation, quiz, and hands on activities involving Hot Wheels cars and a balloon-powered car

January 5–Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart, famous female aviator, was declared lost at sea and dead on January 5, 1939.

Several online resources can be accessed which are associated with Amelia Earhart from the Library of Congress Virtual Programs and Services. This includes a a transcript and audio recording of Amelia Earhart addressing the topic of women in science, focusing on aviation. Links include teacher resources including images. There are also external links to her birthplace museum, Amelia Earhart: The Official Web Site and many other links.

January 6–Continental Drift

January 6, 1912, Alfred Wegener presented his theory of continental drift.

PBS LearningMedia provides multiple resources for teaching about the Continental Drift. It is designed for grades 5-8. It includes video and interactive resources. To save their work, students will need an account which is easy to set up. After they create accounts, they can print their work or the teacher can log in and view their work online. Another option is for students to send you the URL for their work to you so you can assess. There is also a Plate Tectonics: An Introduction which includes a video. Plate Tectonics: Further Evidence video (grades 6-13), Mountain Maker, and Earth Shaker Interactive. Some of the resources are also in Spanish.

January 7–Marshall Plan

The Marshall Plan was a major recovery effort after WWII. January 7, 1948, President Truman raised taxes to support the Marshall Plan. 

C-Span Classroom has video clips designed to teach about the Marshall Plan and its impact. The video is divided into 4 parts and is appropriate for middle and high school. To access all the features, teachers need to become a member of C-Span Classroom. This allows the added benefits of lesson plans, bell ringers, free giveaways and more.

January 8–State of the Union

George Washington delivered the first annual State of the Union address to Congress on January 8, 1790. Read about the history of the State of the Union.

The Center for Legislative Archives contains many documents related to State of the Union addresses, including full text messages as part of the American Presidency Project.

Need additional resources? Check out these differentiated passages and comprehension questions available from my TPT Store.

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