Crossroads Connect is a 4th grade Indiana social studies textbook designed to deliver an engaging educational experience aligned with Indiana State standards on everything from iPads to laptops, and from Chromebooks to cell phones. In a research study, 72% of students said, “I wish more of my classes used this kind of learning material” (Cassady, 2014).
Crossroads Connect is built on modern web standards so teachers can focus on education, not learning new technology. Crossroads Connect was created at Ball State University’s Virginia Ball Center for Creative Inquiry under the supervision of History Professor Dr. Ronald Morris.
Chapter 1 is available for anyone to view and interact with. Check it out and let us know if you have any questions using the contact form below.
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Crossroads Connect is designed so it covers Indiana educational standards while still providing extra information from first person accounts and primary sources. The book is divided into four separate units, each composed of three chapters with three lessons that focus on specific periods of Indiana history. The textbook provides an engaging and in-depth tour of Indiana as it progresses from untamed wilderness into the bustling state we know today.
In Unit 1, we cover the time period from ancient Indiana to early settlers in the Northwest Territory. In the opening chapter of this unit we discuss Indiana’s ancient ancestors which were called Paleo-Indians. Early people were responsible for the giant earth works which gave Mound’s State Park near Anderson, Indiana its name. The following chapter covers the European encroachment. It is during this collision of the Old World and the New that Indiana heroes such as George Rogers Clark emerge. The unit closes with information on the Northwest Territory. This early stage of Indiana history is when the framework of statehood is created with the Northwest Ordinance of 1785.
In Unit 2, we showcase the transformation of Indiana from territory to statehood. During this period, the conflict between Native Americans and early Indiana settlers culminates in Tecumsah’s Rebellion. In the second chapter, students learn about the early statehood of Indiana and issues the people faced. Also featured is an in-depth profile on Indiana’s first governor, Jonathan Jennings. The unit finishes in Chapter Three with the Civil War. Here students learn about the struggle of African American slaves and John Hunt Morgan’s Confederate raid into Indiana.
Unit 3 focuses on the turbulent 20th Century conflicts that Hoosiers faced. It is during this time we see the rise of the automobile and the first running of the Indianapolis 500. Afterwards students follow Indiana as it struggles in the depths of the depression and both World Wars. Between these events, the second rising of the Ku Klux Klan under D.C. Stephenson begins, and African Americans begin the Great Migration to northern urban centers. In addition, there are several profiles on notable Hoosiers such as Ernie Pyle. The unit ends as the United States enters the Cold War with the Soviet Union. This period gave rise to a phenomenon known as the “Red Scare,” a time period where people saw communists hiding around every corner.
Unit 4 takes a slightly different approach as it introduces students to Indiana as it is today. The chapters in this unit focus on government, economics and the geography of Indiana. In the first chapter, students examine the geography of Indiana and its physical features. This chapter includes information on Indiana’s bio-,hydro-, and lithospheres as well as highlighting places for nature recreation. Following this chapter the book transitions into information about Indiana’s government. In this chapter students learn about the state’s constitution, local and historic Indiana legislatures and what they can do as a citizen. The book ends with a look at Indiana in the business world today, showcasing Indiana’s manufacturing capabilities, new technologies being developed throughout the century and Indiana’s role in the international economy.
Despite the large scale of the book, content is kept fresh and interesting with multiple features. By using a digital medium our team was able to add several features which otherwise would be impossible in the standard physical textbook. For instance, the readings are interspersed with informative videos which display historical sites, reenactments, and interviews with academic professionals. These features alongside our rich historical text provide fourth graders with a learning tool that is both interactive and informative.
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