Episode 1 - Exploring Monticello

Original Webcast Date:

March 3, 2016, 1pm EST / 12noon CST

Early Elementary | Middle School

History & Social Studies

Exploring Monticello Clips

Innovations in the Great Hall and Jefferson's Office

Length: 04:43

Natural History Artifacts

Length: 04:04

The Garden

Length: 07:36


Exploring Monticello takes students into Thomas Jefferson’s home, a virtual laboratory for all kinds of ideas. Thomas Jefferson is best known for authoring the Declaration of Independence and becoming the third President of the United States, but he also had a great love for innovations which made him one of America’s first great scientists.  This LIVE interactive streaming field trip gives students the opportunity to experience scientific discovery within the context of history, and to consider the creative process inherent in making something new and innovative.





Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello – official website
Highlighted resources from the Monticello website – many more are available. Visit the official website to explore and discover even more.

  1. The Monticello Classroom – great learning resources, images, activities, and lesson plans (Teacher, parent, and student resources)

    Examples of resources from The Monticello Classroom:

    Jefferson's Inventions and Innovations – a page of gathered resources related to Jefferson’s love of gadgets and science
    Agriculture and Farming – a page of gathered resources related to Jefferson as a farmer
    Monticello Architecture and Furnishings – a page of gathered resources related to Jefferson the architect
    Build Your Own House – an interactive to try your hand at being an architect
    Jefferson's Cabinet (Office) at Monticello  – an interactive to view some of Jefferson’s scientific interests
    Lewis and Clark Expedition Artifacts – an interactive to explore artifacts from the expedition
    Travelin' TJ – make a paper replica of Thomas Jefferson and take him with you on your next adventure. Then share the photo here: Travelin' TJ Flickr group
    Evidence Handout for Thomas Jefferson, Founding Foodie: Fact or Folklore – many refer to Jefferson as America’s 1st Foodie

  2. The Monticello Explorer – virtual tour of the plantation and the house including the gardens and grounds
  3. Sea of Liberty – Where Ideas Make History – an interactive tool for exploring and creating digital projects
  4. Exploring Monticello: A Guide for Young Learners – a PDF resource for students; excellent source of information in a colorful guide
  5. A Day in the Life of Thomas Jefferson – a variety of links to explore 24 hours in the life of Jefferson:
  6. Macaroni – information from the Research & Collections section on Jefferson and his love of pasta (including a macaroni and cheese recipe)

Additional Websites and Videos

  1. Father of Invention – Jefferson’s Vision of Protecting the Rights of the Inventor and the Common Man Still Remain Principles of That Office Today
  2. A Jefferson Primer – a series of articles on Thomas Jefferson from the Archiving Early America website.
  3. Thomas Jefferson’s Top 10 Achievements and Contributions – blog entry includes political, agricultural, and food-related information.  Did you know Jefferson is given credit for introducing macaroni and cheese to America?
  4. The Thomas Jefferson Papers, 1606-1827 – Library of Congress collection
  5. The Letters of Thomas Jefferson 1743-1826 - from the website American History From Revolution to Reconstruction and beyond
  6. Thomas Jefferson's Revolutionary Garden – a YouTube video from the gardens at Monticello by VOA News
  7. In the Vegetable Garden at Monticello – a YouTube video from the gardens at Monticello talking about Jefferson being America’s 1st Foodie by P. Allen Smith
  8. View actual pages from Thomas Jefferson’s Garden Book on the website, Thomas Jefferson Papers from the Massachusetts Historical Society
  9. Thomas Jefferson's Vegetable Garden: A Thing Of Beauty And Science – audio story from APR’s All Things Considered with Peter Hatch, the estate’s head gardener
  10. Thomas Jefferson and His Inventions – a YouTube video discussing inventions and gadgets associated with Jefferson by Caitlin Galamaga
  11. Thomas Jefferson, Scientist – article from the Journal of the American Revolution
  12. American Architecture Series Thomas Jefferson Biography of Neoclassical American Architect – article about Jefferson and his architectural accomplishments
  13. Thomas Jefferson: Culinary Revolutionary – from the Colonial Williamsburg website, information about Jefferson and his love of food and his efforts to influence American culinary habits
  14. Thomas Jefferson | 60-Second Presidents – 60 second video highlighting the life of Thomas Jefferson from PBS LearningMedia
  15. Thomas Jefferson and His Democracy | Crash Course US History #10 – fast-paced video by John Green on PBS LearningMedia

Lesson Plans and Activities

  1. Collection of lesson plans from The Monticello Classroom – lessons related to gardening, architecture, math, politics, slavery, and so much more
  2. Thomas Jefferson's Library: Making the Case for a National Library – a lesson plan for grades 6-8 and 9-12 from the Library of Congress
  3. The Thomas Jefferson Building: Exploring Symbolism and Purpose – an interactive, self-paced lesson for students from the Library of Congress
  4. Teaching with Thomas Jefferson’s Vegetable Market Chart –  students make a vegetable chart just as Jefferson did to track what vegetables and fruits are available seasonally in their area; a Library of Congress lesson
  5. Primary Sources in the Science Classroom: Thomas Jefferson's Proposed System of Weights and Measures – students use primary sources to explore Jefferson’s system of weights and measures; a Library of Congress lesson
  6. The Era of Thomas Jefferson – a lesson plan from TeacherVision for grades 3-5
  7. Thomas Jefferson and Architecture – a PDF lesson plan for students to study Jefferson and his architecture
  8. Lewis & Clark's Expedition to the Complex West – an online interactive for grades 9-12; students analyze primary sources
  9. Education resources for all ages from the United States Patent and Trademark Office: Welcome to USPTO Kids
  10. The Invention Convention in the Classroom – The Basics of Disciplined Creative Thinking for Every Grade Level; a PDF file from Just Think, Inc. with information about inventors and inventions with lesson plans for all grade levels
  11. The Invention Convention Overview – from Houghton Mifflin; students learn about inventors, develop an idea, research, plan, develop, and test for invention
  12. Invention Ideas – website listing many invention ideas for students
  13. The Global Cardboard Challenge Just Build It! - information on how students can participate in the yearly cardboard challenge
  14. Watch the videos Caine’s Arcade and Caine’s Arcade 2 to discover the story that led to the Cardboard Challenge and sparked creativity in students around the world.
  15. The Edible Schoolyard Project – information and ideas on a K-12 edible education curriculum, complete with lesson plans on gardening, nutrition, and much more
  16. About School Gardening – website with curriculum, lesson plans, and resources for creating a school garden program


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