Out Of Town Assignments For Students

 

The general rule for out-of-town business travel expenses is that you can deduct them as long as the work assignment is "temporary." (This includes transportation to and from a work site, lodging, 50 percent of meal costs, and so forth.) 

 

On the other hand, if the work assignment is not temporary, your tax home is considered to shift to the work location, and your travel expenses are then considered to be non-deductible personal outlays. In one recent decision, the U.S. Tax Court found in favor of the taxpayer on this issue, which can affect employees who pay their own expenses (without reimbursement) and self-employed taxpayers.

 

 Before getting to the decision, let's first cover the basics on out-of-town business travel expenses.

 

Deduction Basics

 

 
 
 

 

When you travel away from your tax home overnight on business, you can deduct the round-trip transportation cost (for example, car expenses or airfare and parking), plus 100 percent of lodging costs for business days, plus 50 percent of meal costs for business days, plus 100 percent of incidentals (such dry cleaning costs) for business days.

 

Your tax home is located at:

 

1. Your regular place of business or your principal place of business if you have more than one regular place of business; or

2. Your regular abode if you have no regular or principal place of business.

 

The purpose of allowing deductions for out-of-town business travel expenses is to give you a tax break for all the duplicative expenses incurred while at the temporary work location. However, an itinerant worker (such as a traveling salesman or self-employed casualty insurance adjuster who moves from one disaster site to the next) doesn't have any tax home and therefore does not have any duplicative expenses. As a result, itinerant workers can only deduct transportation costs between work locations (no deductions for lodging, meals, and incidentals).

 

In general, an out-of-town work assignment at a single location is considered to be temporary, which is a prerequisite for deducting travel expenses, if it is realistically expected to last one year or less and does in fact last that long. If an away-from-home assignment is realistically expected to last more than one year, or there's no realistic expectation that it will last one year or less (such as an assignment with an indefinite term), the assignment will be treated as indefinite regardless of how long it actually lasts. In this scenario, the travel expenses are non-deductible.

 

Of course, expectations can change. If so, the worker will not be penalized under these rules. For example, if an initial eight-month assignment is extended for six additional months, the assignment is treated as no longer being temporary when it is extended. But travel expenses for the first eight months can still be deducted, because the assignment was temporary during that period.

 

Instead of keeping records of actual expenditures for lodging, meals, and incidentals while out of town on business, an employee can choose to deduct a fixed daily (per diem) IRS-approved amount (subject to the 50 percent allowance rule for the portion of the per diem that is allocated to meals). More specifically, the per diem amount can be deducted regardless of actual expenditures for lodging, meals, and incidentals as long as the employee is able to prove with adequate substantiation the time, place, and business purpose of the travel. While receipts are not required to prove expense amounts when using the per diem method, you may find it convenient to keep lodging receipts (which conclusively prove the dates and places of your travel) on which you note the business purpose for the travel.

 

Key Point: The IRS-approved per diem rates can be found on the General Services Administration's website at www.gsa.gov/perdiem.

 

Finally, employees must treat unreimbursed business travel expenses as a miscellaneous itemized deduction item. If the travel expenses, when combined with other miscellaneous itemized deduction items (such as investment expenses, fees for tax preparation and advice, and union dues), exceed 2 percent of the employee's adjusted gross income, the employee can deduct the excess.

 

Recent Tax Court Decision

 

In a 2014 case, the Tax Court concluded that the taxpayer's six-month out-of-town work assignment was indeed temporary, which allowed him to deduct his business-related travel expenses. However, his claimed deductions were reduced because he failed to keep adequate records of all his expenses.

 

Facts of the case: Roj Carl Snellman was married and lived in Florida. In late May of 2009, he began work as a project manager at a job site in Missouri. His assignment was to manage the development of a system to track a company's customer credit card payments. While the company paid Snellman a salary equivalent to $90,000 a year, the project was expected to be completed by the end of 2009, at which point his employment would end. Snellman wasn't reimbursed for any work-related expenses, so his out-of-town expenses came out of his own pocket.

 

Snellman drove from his home to the Missouri work location and stayed in a hotel from May 25, 2009 through June 10, 2009. On June 11, he signed a lease to rent an apartment for $525 per month through December 31, 2009. As it turned out, the company experienced financial difficulties, and Snellman's employment was terminated early on November 2, 2009. He drove back home to Florida about two weeks later.

 

On their joint 2009 federal income tax return return, Snellman and his wife claimed car expenses of $4,060 plus $27,200 for lodging, meals, and incidentals (based on the applicable per-diem rate of $170). After auditing his 2009 return, the IRS disallowed all of these deductions on two grounds:

 

First, the IRS claimed that Snellman's tax home was in Missouri for the entire time he was there, which meant he wasn't entitled to any business travel deductions because he wasn't away from home.

Second, the IRS disallowed his travel deductions due to inadequate substantiation.

 

Snellman took his case to Tax Court where he was rewarded with an opinion that was partly in his favor. Specifically, the court agreed with Snellman that his tax home in 2009 was in Florida rather than Missouri, which was a prerequisite for deducting travel expenses. Snellman credibly testified that he was hired to work in Missouri as a temporary project manager for approximately seven months, and that the employment actually lasted for only six months. His testimony that his employment was temporary, as opposed to indefinite, was corroborated by the fact that his Missouri apartment lease was scheduled to expire on December 31, 2009 and that he negotiated an addendum to the lease agreement to allow for early termination on short notice if his employment ended sooner than expected.

 

However, the Tax Court reduced Snellman's claimed deductions because he didn't maintain the required records. He didn't keep a contemporaneous log of his business-related car mileage, and he didn't properly keep track of the dates and business purpose for his lodging expenses. Had he kept good records, he would have won a total Tax Court victory. (Roj Snellman, T.C. Summary Opinion 2014-10)

 

What Other Taxpayers Can Learn from the Case 

 

The Snellman decision illustrates that failure to keep adequate records for out-of-town business travel expenses may mean the IRS will completely deny your claimed deductions. You may have to go to Tax Court if there is really no doubt that you are entitled to at least some deductions. As stated earlier, Snellman would have won a complete victory in the Tax Court if he had kept good records, and he could have avoided the entire issue if he had done so. If you have questions or want more information about keeping records of business travel expenses, consult with your tax adviser.

 

 

© 2014, Powered by BizActions

 

Advertisements/Promotion


Bryce Canyon National Park: Hoodoos Cast Their Spell (64)
• "The Local Landscape:" In small groups, students select a national park, monument, historic site, state or local park, wilderness area, or other public use area located in their community. Have each group create a promotion page for a newspaper or magazine, a Web page, or a photo essay "advertising" for their site.
Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park: Where the Wright Brothers Conquered the Air (111)
• "Advertising for Business:" Have each student in the class conduct further research on one of the Wright brothers' printing businesses or bicycle shops. Then have them design an advertisement about one of the Wright brothers' businesses and/or products.
The Emerald Necklace: Boston's Green Connection (86)
• "Parks Brochure:" Have students work in groups to create a brochure of a local park or park system. The final product should be displayed and/or sent to the local parks commission.
The Frankish Building: A Reflection of the Success of Ontario, California (43)
• "Advertising the Colony of Ontario:" Have students work in groups to make a list of ways they would have tried to attract people to the "Model Colony" of Ontario, and then ask each group to design and make an advertising poster touting the positive attributes of Ontario to prospective settlers.
Mammoth Cave: Its Explorers, Miners, Archeologists, and Visitors (35)
• "Luring the Public to a Special Place:" After studying how their state promotes tourism, have students develop an advertisement for a state natural or historic resource they find interesting.
The Old Mormon Fort: Birthplace of Las Vegas, Nevada (122)
• "Las VegasCentennial:" Divide students into teams and have them draw a poster to either commemorate both the centennial of Las Vegas in 2005 and the 150th anniversary of the Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort or the birth and growth of their own town.
The Rosenwald Schools: Progressive Era Philanthropy in the Segregated South (159)
• "Rosenwald Schools, Yesterday and Today:" Have students create travel and information brochures for surviving Rosenwald Schools that are open to the public.
Skagway: Gateway to the Klondike (75)
• "History and the Use of Local Buildings:" Have students compile a list of buildings that illustrate the development of their community. The class should develop a promotional brochure or walking tour of their town about those buildings. Learn how a classroom teacher uses this lesson.
Two American Entrepreneurs: Madam C.J. Walker and J.C. Penney
• "Changing in Advertising:" Divide the class into groups with the task of analyzing 10 different kinds of advertisements. Compare recent advertisements with the Walker or Penny ads. Develop an ad for a product or store.
Ybor City: Cigar Capital of the World (51)
• "Describing Ybor City:" Ask students to imagine that they are living in Ybor City in the early 1900s and have been asked to encourage other cigar workers to relocate to Ybor City. Have them design a leaflet describing the city during its heyday as a cigar-making center, and have them work in small groups to produce a sample brochure.

(back to top)

Artwork/Drawing/Graphic Design


Adeline Hornbek and the Homestead Act: A Colorado Success Story (67)
• "Researching Important Women:" Have students design and create an exhibit about an outstanding woman who lived (or lives) in the area for the school and community.
An American Success Story: The Pope House of Raleigh, NC (124)
• "Mock Election:" Have students make campaign posters for Dr. Manassa Pope’s 1919 election and create a display for them.
The Battle of Bennington: An American Victory (107)
• "Moments of Heroism:" Ask students to survey older members of the community to identify events in the past that filled residents with pride, and have them create a rough sketch about those events for possible display as an "art gallery" for their school and community.
The Battle of Bentonville: Caring for Casualties of the Civil War (69)
• "A Popular Example:" Have students design an enlistment poster recruiting doctors for service as field surgeons in the Union army during the Civil War.
The Battle of Oriskany: "Blood Shed a Stream Running Down" (79)
• "The Lost Battlefield, In the Grip of Fear:" Have students recreate the Battle of Oriskany by producing a map of one or more different phases of the battle, sketching/painting a picture of the battle, or filming a reenactment of the battle. Have them produce a written, pictorial, or video report describing a controversial issue that has divided their community.
The Battle of Stones River: The Soldiers' Story (40)
• "War Memorials in the Local Community:" Have students draw their own sketch for a monument of any battle or war that affected their community.
Californio to American: A Study in Cultural Change (8)
• "The Ranch House:" Have students construct a model of the Rancho Los Alamitos using cardboard or any other practical material. Some may choose to draw their conception of what the house looked like during the various stages of its construction.
The Carlisle Indian Industrial School: Assimilation with Education after the Indian Wars (163)

• "Explore Disease at Carlisle with Science and Empathy:" Assign poster presentations to each student about one of the three main illnesses that spread among Carlisle students. Posters should provide a basic description of the disease including symptoms and how it is spread. It should also display images of the disease affecting a cell, or diagrams of body systems or organs affected. Lastly, have students incorporate artwork onto the poster that memorializes Carlisle students buried at the cemetery.

Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park: Where the Wright Brothers Conquered the Air (111)
• "The Roots of Invention:" Have students think creatively to develop their own inventions with detailed drawings or models.
Digging into the Colonial Past: Archeology and the 16th-Century Spanish Settlements at Charlesfort-Santa Elena (155)
•"Town Planning:" Have students research how the layout of their local town or city was designed and present their findings to the class with visual aids, creating or reproducing maps, drawings, photographs, charts, graphs, illustrations, etc.
Embattled Farmers and the Shot Heard Round The World: The Battles of Lexington and Concord (150)
"Local Commemoration:" Have small student groups design a memorial to an important local figure and then give persuasive speeches to win the class’s vote for best memorial. The class will then take the winner’s design, polish it, and then present the idea to local government as a service learning project.
The Emerald Necklace: Boston's Green Connection (86)
• "Parks Brochure:" Have students work in groups to create a park brochure of a local park or park system. The final product should be displayed and/or sent to the local parks commission.
Enduring Awatovi: Uncovering Hopi Life and Work on the Mesa (156)
• "Illustrating Hopi Methods of Farming:" Have students develop an art project (drawing, painting, diorama, sculpture, etc.) to illustrate one method of Hopi farming and base features of their art on their own research of the method. Final product should include citations for their sources.
Federal Courthouses and Post Offices: Symbols of Pride and Permanence
• "What If…:" Have students work in groups to create a poster or exhibit on a courthouse, post office, or other government building in the area for display at the local library or historical society.
Floyd Bennett Field: Naval Aviation's Home in Brooklyn (120)
• "Graphic Design:" Have students review the history of Floyd Bennett Field and either design an insignia that reflects the airfield’s history or design a patch to honor the civilian assembly line workers who constructed aircrafts at the field. Have students design a poster for Floyd Bennett Field or another historic airfield or landmark in their community.
Forts of Old San Juan: Guardians of the Caribbean (60)
• "Photographing History:" Have students review the history of Floyd Bennett Field and either design an insignia that reflects the airfield’s history or design a patch to honor the civilian assembly line workers who constructed aircrafts at the field. Have students design a poster for Floyd Bennett Field or another historic airfield or landmark in their community.
The Frankish Building: A Reflection of the Success of Ontario, California (43)
• "Looking at a Building:" Students should visit their town center and sketch and build a model of one of the buildings there and then label the architectural components of their drawings and models.
Glen Echo Park: Center for Education and Recreation (24)
• "Architecture in Your Own Neighborhood:" Have students take a walking tour of their neighborhood to see if they can find a recreation or education building or space that was created about the time of Glen Echo Chautauqua. Students should pick out a building, park, or other place they especially like and sketch the place or design elements that they think make it special.
Guilford Courthouse: A Pivotal Battle in the War for Independence (32)
• "Monuments to War:" In groups, have students find a war monument in their community, take photos of it, and copy its inscriptions for an in-class discussion. Have students choose a battle and make a sketch of a monument with a fitting inscription and display their completed works.
Harry Truman and Independence, Missouri: "This is Where I Belong" (103)
• "The Place We Call Home:" Have the students discuss what "home" means to them; then draw a picture of their home and explain what makes it special to them.
Iolani Palace: A Hawaiian Place of History, Power, and Prestige (161)
• "Discover Civic Activism at Iolani Palace and in Your Community:" Have students write an essay about how a historic place of their choosing has been used as a site of political activism. Have students paint, draw, or create a model of the historic site to accompany their essay.
The Joseph Bellamy House: The Great Awakening in Puritan New England (85)
• "Gravestone Design:" Have students select a prominent living local figure and design that person's gravestone and epitaph.
The Lewis and Clark Expedition: Documenting the Uncharted Northwest (108)
"The Power of the Pen:" In groups, have students spend an hour observing and recording their environment in a journal (include drawings and writings). Each group should talk in depth about their observations so that the class might guess what was observed.
Liberty Ships and Victory Ships, America's Lifeline in War (116)
• "Pay Tribute to Local History:" Have students design a postage stamp depicting an important event that happened in their community.
Log Cabins in America: The Finnish Experience (4)
• "Role Play:" Have students pretend they are early farmers in the community in which they reside, and have them draw a sketch of their first home and of the outbuildings they will need for farm work.
Mechanics Hall: Symbol of Pride and Industry (87)
• "Local Research:" Ask students to investigate the area they live in and compile a list of historic structures or sites. In teams, have students select one site and research it. The report may take the form of a written essay, an oral presentation or skit, a poster, or computer display.
Minuteman Missile National Historic Site: Protecting a Legacy of the Cold War (128)
• "Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles: America’s Cold War Deterrent:" Have groups of students Divide students into groups and have them research one of America's ground-based missile forces during the Cold War—the Atlas, Titan, Minuteman, and Peacekeeper. Each group should make a large design drawing of their missile.
Mount Auburn Cemetery: A New American Landscape (84)
"Observing the Landscape:" Arrange for students to visit a local landscape and ask them to compare the landscape with that of Mount Auburn, identify how people of their community use this landscape, assess their emotional reaction to it, and explain why they have that feeling. Students may describe their experience either by writing about it or creating a graphic representation.
North Carolina State Capitol: Pride of the State (61)
• "Classical Architecture in the Community:" Have students walk around their community to see if they can find examples of Greek Revival architecture, and have them sketch features on the buildings.
The Old Mormon Fort: Birthplace of Las Vegas, Nevada (122)
• "Your Town’s Birth:" Divide students into teams and have them research their community for evidence of how their town started and if any sites from that time still exist. If any still exist, have students take a picture or draw a picture of those sites that will accompany a written history of their community.
President Lincoln's Cottage: A Retreat (138)
• "Journal Entry:" Have students keep a journal of their own observations and experiences on their way to and from school. They can include drawings as part of the record.
• "Retreats in Your Local Community:" Have students research existing retreats in their own community and brainstorm ideas for new retreats. As part of this activity, students should draw the surroundings of the retreat and the route they would take to get there.
Roadside Attractions (6)
• "Designing a Building:" Have students sketch structures that might represent literalism in advertising, place-product-packaging, and vernacular public art that would be particularly appropriate for their region.
• "Form, Fantasy, and Design:" Ask students to redesign a city block to include at least 10 buildings that are in a fantasy style of pop-architecture.
The Rosenwald Schools: Progressive Era Philanthropy in the Segregated South (159)
• “Discover History in Your Local Historic Places:” Have your students use the National Register database to identify a historic building or buildings in their county or region, investigate the history of that site, and draw architectural plans depicting the historic property.
Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site: Home of a Gilded Age Icon (48)
• "Coins, Coins, Coins:" Ask students to sketch a coin they would like to see circulated around the U.S. Then have the students share their sketches with the class and explain why they chose the images and symbolism they used. Learn how a classroom teacher uses this lesson.
Savannah, Georgia: The Lasting Legacy of Colonial City Planning (83)
• "Draw the City Plan of Savannah:" Have students create the basic module of Savannah's town plan—the ward—with all its divisions.
Skagway: Gateway to the Klondike (75)
• "History and the Use of Local Buildings:" In small groups have students research a building in order to create an exhibit illustrating its history; the class should develop a promotional brochure or walking tour of their town about those buildings. Learn how a classroom teacher uses this lesson.
Springwood: Birthplace and Home to Franklin D. Roosevelt (82)
• "Lifestyles:" In groups, have students research an aspect of life in the late 19th century—comparing it with contemporary life. Students may present their findings through drawings or photographs, written reports, skits involving objects or costumes, charts, computer slide-shows, or other means.
These Honored Dead: The Battle of Rivers Bridge and Civil War Combat Casualties (94)
• "Monuments:" Have students locate soldiers' monument or war memorial in their hometown or county and prepare a class presentation on it with illustrations or photos.
The United States Air Force Academy: Founding a Proud Tradition (114)
• "Military Air Power:" As a class, have students create an illustrated timeline of advances in military airplane technology since World War I.
The Vieux Carré: A Creole Neighborhood in New Orleans (20)
• "The Local Community:" Take students on a walking tour of a nearby ethnic neighborhood or commercial area with sketch pads and cameras in order to record architectural details. Have students point out differences between their local surroundings and the Vieux Carré.
The Washington Monument: Tribute in Stone (62)
• "Designing a Monument:" In groups, have students decide on an American they believe should be honored with a memorial. Have them create a model of a memorial with a written description of the ideas behind the structure.
• "Local Memorial Study:" Have students, alone or in groups, select a local memorial and identify the person being memorialized, investigate the memorial, photograph or make a drawing of the memorial, and present a report to the class.
Waterford, Virginia: From Mill Town to National Historic Landmark (88)
• "A Step Back in Time:" Ask students to imagine they lived in Waterford in the 19th century, and have them draw three pictures of themselves helping with the harvest or at the mill.
Weir Farm: Home of an American Impressionist (22)
• "Finding a Painting Site, The Impressionist Experience:" Have students find places in their community they think would be good subjects for an impressionist painting and sketch or photograph their place. Students could also choose an interesting site at or around the school to prepare a finished work using pastels, cray-pas, crayons, watercolors, chalk, or poster paints, which they would share with the class.
Woodrow Wilson: Prophet of Peace (14)
• "Partisan Political Cartoons:" Have students draw their own political cartoons relating to the debate over the League of Nations or over a current issue relating to peace. Have students present their works to the class and explain how they represented the personalities and points of view involved.


Lightning Lessons


Discover the African Burial Ground National Monument (Lightning Lesson 3)
• "Investigating Local and Regional History through Archeology:" Through internet research and contacting local history experts, students will investigate a historic place in their own region where people marked the space with religious or other cultural symbols. They will each design a poster display to explain the who, where, what, and why of the historic site and the meaning of the symbols found there.
Discover the Mary Ann Shadd Cary House (Lightning Lesson 1)
• "Nineteenth Century Urban Engineering and Home Comforts :" Have students study 19th century home life in this historical research and arts project. Students will research a home appliance that was available in late 19th century cities. Students will take their findings and interpret it in an art project (visual, digital, performance, etc). Exhibit the projects as appropriate.

(back to top)

Cartography


Arthurdale: A New Deal Community Experiment (157)
• "Plan Your Own Community:" Have students design a perfect community. They will write a short report to describe the community and then use graph paper to lay out the town, labeling features and buildings. Display the communities in the school or, if possible, digitize students' work and create a class blog or website to feature their designs.
The Battle of Oriskany: "Blood Shed a Stream Running Down" (79)
• "The Lost Battlefield:" Have students recreate the Battle of Oriskany by producing a map of one or more different phases of the battle, sketching/painting a picture of the battle, or filming a reenactment of the battle. Throughout the process they are to maintain a written journal or recorded oral log of their progress.
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania: A Moravian Settlement in Colonial America (59)
• "Mapping a Neighborhood:" Have students compare the oldest map or drawing of their community with Bethlehem.
Chattanooga, Tennessee: Train Town (52)
• "Literature, Art, and Music:" Play a recording of "Chattanooga Choo-Choo" by Glenn Miller and his orchestra for the class. On a map of the United States, have students trace the route described in the song. Learn how a classroom teacher uses this lesson.
Digging into the Colonial Past: Archeology and the 16th-Century Spanish Settlements at Charlesfort-Santa Elena (155)
•"Town Planning:" Have students research how the layout of their local town or city was designed and present their findings to the class with visual aids, creating or reproducing maps, drawings, photographs, charts, graphs, illustrations, etc.
The Emerald Necklace: Boston's Green Connection (86)
• "Plan Your Own Greenway:" Have students look at modern and historical maps of their community to compare the type of information each map contains. Locate existing parks and or park system sites on the maps.
Forts of Old San Juan: Guardians of the Caribbean (60)
• "Comparing an Old City to a New City:" Have students go to the library or local historical society to obtain an old map, or series of maps, of the local area to chart how their town has changed over the years.
Frederica: An 18th-Century Planned Community (31)
• "Planned Communities:" Have students draw a plat map for what she or he believes would be an ideal community.
Harry Truman and Independence, Missouri: "This is Where I Belong" (103)
• "The Place We Call Home:" Have students take a walk through their neighborhood noting who lives around them and what types of businesses or shops are nearby. Have students draw a map of their neighborhood based on these notes.
"Journey from Slavery to Statesman": The Homes of Frederick Douglass (147)
"Activity 3: Traveling the Underground Railroad:" Have students divide a slave narrative into readable lengths so they can trace and map out the slave’s journey to freedom. Have students compare the narratives and create an exhibit based on the information they gather from the narrative.
The Lewis and Clark Expedition: Documenting the Uncharted Northwest (108)
• "Creating Maps:" Have students walk around their neighborhood or school and document their visual interpretations in the form of a map, and have them compare their maps to an actual map of the school grounds or their neighborhood. Display the maps in the classroom.
The Ohio and Erie Canal: Catalyst of Economic Development for Ohio (41)
• "The Importance of Transportation Systems:" Have students work in groups to create a timeline or illustrated map of the nation’s transportation history. Research a local transportation route or transportation system in order to create a local timeline or map, and compare both timelines or maps for class discussion.
Mount Auburn Cemetery: A New American Landscape (84)
• "Location is Everything:" Have students identify the location of a local cemetery on a map, work with the local library or historical society to arrange to see past maps showing the location of the cemetery, and describe what the surrounding area looked like when the cemetery was first created.
Saratoga: The Tide Turns on the Frontier (93)
• "Soldiers and Settlement:" Ask students to research their community to determine if there are any descendants of participants in the American Revolution who live there. Students may wish to compile their findings on a large map with pushpins identifying the names and hometowns of the participants they locate.
Savannah, Georgia: The Lasting Legacy of Colonial City Planning (83)
• "Then and Now in Your Town:" In teams or pairs, instruct students to analyze and discuss the development of their town through maps.
Separate But Equal? South Carolina's Fight Over School Segregation (158)
• "Map Your Community's School History:" Have your students work in small groups to investigate the histories of local schools. They will use what they uncover to create a class timeline and map to depict the history of education in their community.
The Shields-Ethridge Farm: The End of a Way of Life (145)
• "Our Agrarian Past:" Have students work in small groups as they study maps of farmland in their community before it was developed. Then, have them look at post-development maps and study how the land changed. Ask each group to create an exhibit to display their findings.
Thomas P. Kennard House: Building a Prairie Capital (149)
• "City Planning: Design a state capital:" Have students study an early map of your state’s capital city. Have them use what they learn from it to design their own state capital and then give a persuasive speech about why their design would make a good capital city.
When Rice Was King (3)
• "Laying Out a Plantation:" Ask students to draw a sketch map showing how they would have laid out a plantation if they had been an architect and landscape designer in the 18th century.

Lightning Lessons


Discover the African Burial Ground National Monument (Lightning Lesson 3)
• "Tracing Paths and Exploring Destinations of the Middle Passage:" Have students use an online resource to study the Middle Passage and the different conditions of enslavement, laws regulating slavery, and attitudes toward slavery across the world during the era of the global, African slave trade. They will write an essay based on their findings and compare/contrast different systems of slavery.
Discover the Solar Eclipse of 1900 in Historic Wadesboro, NC (Lightning Lesson 4)
• "Charting Solar Eclipses around the World:" Have students use an online eclipse database to create a chart that outlines the date, duration, and paths of totality where total solar eclipses occurred in the last fifty years. Have them display their findings and then facilitate a discussion of eclipses in a global cultural context.

(back to top)

Charts/Graphs/Tables/Diagrams/Lists


The Battle of Bennington: An American Victory (107)
• "Historical Language and Images:" Get students to create a list of unfamiliar words and expressions from the lesson. Then have them define them to see if they think whether knowing exactly what the words in a historical document exactly means makes a difference in their understanding of the document.
The Battle of Bunker Hill: Now We Are at War (42)
• "Rebellion Then and Now:" Have students create a list of reasons why the colonists rebelled against the British government.
The Battle of Horseshoe Bend: Collision of Cultures (54)
• "Cultural Conflict:" In groups, have students discuss and list possible strategies the Creek could have used during the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.
The Battle of Stones River: The Soldiers' Story (40)
• "Working with Primary Sources:" Have students make a list of the primary sources used in this lesson. Then have them analyze and evaluate them, sharing their findings with the class.
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania: A Moravian Settlement in Colonial America (59)
• "Mapping a Neighborhood:" Have students make a list of types of buildings found in cities or neighborhoods such as residential, industrial, commercial, etc., and assign a color to each building type.
From Canterbury to Little Rock: The Struggle for Educational Equality for African Americans
• "From Canterbury to Little Rock:" Have students complete a chart comparing and contrasting Canterbury and Little Rock. Learn how a classroom teacher uses this lesson.
The Carlisle Indian Industrial School: Assimilation with Education after the Indian Wars (163)

• "Historic American Indian Boarding Schools Beyond Carlisle:" Assign to small groups or each student one historic, off-reservation school for a research project and report. The report you assign can take the form of an essay, research paper, skit, oral presentation, or poster presentation depending on time, resources, and ability. You may even want to give students the option to choose how they want to report.

"Making Global Connections at Carlisle:" Have each group produce a table on their findings, outlining the similarities and differences of assimilation policies used by the United States and other colonial powers.

Chattanooga, Tennessee: Train Town (52)
• "The Roles of Geography and Promotion:" After reviewing the materials they covered in the lesson, have students make a list that describes the natural features that would make Chattanooga a good place for businesses to locate and that includes those man-made factors that offer other benefits.
• "Literature, Art, and Music:" Have students develop lists of books, songs, poems, movies, and artworks that are about trains.
Learn how a classroom teacher uses this lesson.
Chicago's Black Metropolis: Understanding History through a Historic Place (53)
• "Creating a Historic Place:" Have the class discuss the process by which structures are transformed into historic places, and then encourage students to use the information from the discussion to draw a flowchart showing the process people use to invest places with historical meaning.
Clara Barton's House: Home of the American Red Cross (27)
• "Women’s and Men’s Work:" Ask each member of the class to name an occupation they would be interested in pursuing, and make a chart comparing those listed by males with those listed by females to see if the lists differ.
Embattled Farmers and the Shot Heard Round The World: The Battles of Lexington and Concord (150)
"Rebellion -- Then and Now:" Have students study both the causes of the American Revolution and the causes of a recent revolution or ongoing rebellion. Ask them to list reasons why, for both events, people decided to change their government. Have a class discussion about how societies resolve conflicts.
First Lady of the World: Eleanor Roosevelt at Val-Kill (26)
• "Local Volunteer Organizations:" Ask students to make a list of the volunteer groups and programs in their community that are dedicated to helping others.
Federal Courthouses and Post Offices: Symbols of Pride and Permanence
• "The Federal Judicial System:" Ask students to conduct research and then make a chart describing the different branches of the U.S. court system. The chart should briefly explain when and how each type of court was created, the types of cases heard by each court, where they operate, the number of judges for each, and the procedure for selecting judges.
Fiftieth Anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act
• "Activity 1, Activity 2:" Using information from the National Register of Historic Places, and also brainstorming, hold a class discussion in which students list places in the local community that are listed in the Register or may possess the historic significance to qualify for listing.
Fort Pickens and the Outbreak of the Civil War (38)
• "Isn’t It Ironic?:" Have students list as many ironies connected with activities in the Pensacola area in the 19th century as they can.
Gran Quivira: A Blending of Cultures in a Pueblo Indian Village (66)
• "Retrieving Data:" Have students make a retrieval chart for the information about the groups of people Gran Quivira's inhabitants probably traded with, and then divide the students into groups of four or five and have them discuss their completed charts.
Herbert Hoover: Iowa Farm Boy and World Humanitarian (34)
• "Citizenship and the Local Community:" Have students list ways in which they could act as good citizens in their own community.
Hopewell Furnace: A Pennsylvania Iron-making Plantation (97)
• "Working at Hopewell:" In three groups—furnace work, forest work, and field work—have students list all the jobs in their category, and on a chalkboard draw three circles (furnace, forest, and field) and ask each group to report its list.
Knife River: Early Village Life on the Plains (1)
• "Drawing Conclusions from Art:" With a partner, have students make lists of the details they see in two paintings of Knife River by George Catlin. After comparing lists with classmates, students should make generalizations about the paintings image of the Hidatsa and Mandan Indians.
• "Researching Local Indians:" If it is possible for the students to visit a local museum that displays prehistoric artifacts from their region, have the students construct a matrix of cultural items. Back in class, have the students compare the matrices and then draw conclusions about the reasons for cultural differences.
The Liberty Bell: From Obscurity to Icon (36)
• "Symbols in the Local Community:" Have students list reasons why people use symbols. Ask students to look for and list several patriotic symbols found in their communities or found in advertisements in their local newspaper.
Life on an Island: Early Settlers Off the Rock-Bound Coast of Maine (16)
"Living on an Island:" In two groups, have students list the advantages of the way of life on two separate islands.
Little Kinnakeet Lifesaving Station: Home to Unsung Heroes (57)
• "Today’s Lifesavers:" Have students prepare a list of questions to ask a member of a rescue team.
A Nation Repays Its Debt: The National Soldiers' Home and Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio (115)
• "Local Cemeteries:" Have students inventory the veteran grave sites in the local cemetery and: create a database and status report on the markers to present to the caretaker.
The Penniman House: A Whaling Story (112)
• "Preserving the Night Sky:" Have students compare what is on a sky chart with what they can see on a clear night outside their homes.
The Rockets' Red Glare": Francis Scott Key and the Bombardment of Fort McHenry (137)
• "Debating the War of 1812:" Have students create charts or matrixes comparing the positions of different political parties, different economic groups, and different areas of the country before the outbreak of the War of 1812, during the war, and immediately after it. Learn how a classroom teacher uses this lesson.
The Shields-Ethridge Farm: The End of a Way of Life (145)
• "Hanging by a Thread:" Ask students to imagine living in 1920 on the Shields-Ethridge Farm and have them each draw a chart showing the process of cotton farming, from preparing the field to getting the raw cotton to market.
Skagway: Gateway to the Klondike (75)
• "Gold Rushes:" Have the class compile a list of gold rushes such as those that occurred in California, Nevada, and Colorado.
• "History and the Use of Local Buildings:" Have students compile a list of buildings that illustrate the development of their community.
Learn how a classroom teacher uses this lesson.
The Spanish Treasure Fleets of 1715 and 1733: Disasters Strike at Sea (129)
"Preserving Local Historic Resources:" As a class, have students create a chart comparing some of the preservation issues faced by their community’s local sites and the shipwreck sites. Headings for the chart should include Natural Threats and Manmade Threats.
Springwood: Birthplace and Home to Franklin D. Roosevelt (82)
• "Lifestyles:" In groups, have students research an aspect of life in the late 19th century—comparing it with contemporary life. Students may present their findings through drawings or photographs, written reports, skits involving objects or costumes, charts, computer slide-shows, or other means.
The Trail of Tears and the Forced Relocation of the Cherokee Nation (118)
• "Historical Evidence:" Have students review the lesson’s readings and visual materials and list the kinds of evidence presented. In groups, have them select four pieces of evidence and list what kind it is, when it was created, what facts it contains, what other kinds of information it provides, why it was created, and what it adds to their understanding of the Cherokee experience. Learn how a classroom teacher uses this lesson.
Two American Entrepreneurs: Madam C.J. Walker and J.C. Penney
• "Starting a Business:" After the groups have decided on the type of business they would like to start, have them draw up a list of steps they would have to take to make the business successful.
Ulysses S. Grant and Julia Dent Grant at White Haven Farm: The Missouri Compromise in American Life (154)
• "Consider the Evidence, Evaluate the Perspectives:" Have small student groups each go through the lesson and create a chart to record different evidence of slavery, the source of that evidence, and their own analysis of what that evidence reveals.
The Vieux Carré: A Creole Neighborhood in New Orleans (20)
• "Architectural Change:" Ask students to look at pictures of French and American influenced buildings and then list their observations on the similarities and differences of the styles of these buildings.
The Washington Monument: Tribute in Stone (62)
• "Qualities of a Leader:" Students should work in groups to create a list of Washington’s admirable qualities and achievements.
Waterford, Virginia: From Mill Town to National Historic Landmark (88)
• "Change Over Time in Your Town:" In groups, have students research the occupational history of their town in 1850, 1880, and 1930. Ask each group to share the information it has found in a class presentation that may include graphs and charts. Compile a list of all the occupations of their parents, guardians, or local relatives.

Lightning Lessons

Discover Colonel Young's Protest Ride for Equality and Country: A Lightning Lesson from Teaching with Historic Places, featuring the historic Colonel Charles Young House (Lightning Lesson 2)
• "Breaking Barriers to Military Service in Military History": Have students work in groups or as individual investigators, to select and research a topic related to Civil Rights and U.S. military service… Students should create a bibliography to list the primary and secondary sources they find, including books, newspaper articles, and legal documents.
Discover the Solar Eclipse of 1900 in Historic Wadesboro, NC (Lightning Lesson 4)
• "Charting Solar Eclipses around the World:" Have students use an online eclipse database to create a chart that outlines the date, duration, and paths of totality where total solar eclipses occurred in the last fifty years. Have them display their findings and then facilitate a discussion of eclipses in a global cultural context.

(back to top)

Civic Engagement


Adeline Hornbek and the Homestead Act: A Colorado Success Story (67)
"Researching Important Women:" Have students design and create an exhibit about an outstanding woman who lived (or lives) in the area for the school and community.
At a Crossroads: King of Prussia(119)
"Endangered Sites:" Have students find out if there is a historic place in their community that is endangered, and in groups have students research the significance of one of the endangered places and what efforts are being made to preserve the place.
Attu: North American Battleground of World War II (7)
"War and the Individual:" Encourage students to invite a veteran of a recent military engagement to speak to the class.
The Battle of Bentonville: Caring for Casualties of the Civil War (69)
"In Your Own Community:" Have students interview a member of a mobile military hospital or a local physician, a veteran of foreign wars, or a volunteer. Then have them create a case study of that individual and what motivated them to volunteer in extreme circumstances.
The Battle of Bunker Hill: Now We Are at War (42)
"Community Issues:" Have students investigate their community to find out if there was a significant issue, recent or long ago, that united or divided the local citizens; have students work together to prepare a report about this event and discuss other ways in which the problem could have been solved.
The Battle of Honey Springs: The Civil War Comes to the Indian Territory (68)
"Working Together Across Ethnic Lines:" Have students consider their communities and whether there are examples in which distinct groups previously at odds banded together to meet a common goal. After this discussion, assign a skit or a written or oral report where students further study and learn about their example.
The Battle of Mill Springs: The Civil War Divides a Border State (72)
"Community Action:" Have students find a memorial and describe it, including a physical description, what it says, and where it is located. Students may also want to research the history of this memorial.
Boston's Arnold Arboretum: A Place for Study and Recreation (56)
"Park Rules and Regulations:" In small groups, plan a new park or arboretum for the community. List the qualities and characteristics for a park or arboretum. Plan the type of open space and decide on the park rules. Discuss the effect of their choices on the characteristics the group defined in the beginning of the activity.
Building America's Industrial Revolution: The Boott Cotton Mills of Lowell, MA (21)
"The Mill as a System:" Have students identify elements that come together to produce a school system. List the positive and negative internal and external forces that affect the smooth running of the school system, and develop a plan for action that might moderate negative forces.
Californio to American: A Study in Cultural Change (8)
"Locating Significant and Local Properties:" Have students examine a property in their own community that is listed on the National Register or that students believe should be listed. Have them discuss which areas of significance they would use if they were preparing a nomination for that property, and how they would justify their decisions.
Camp Misty Mount: A Place for Regrowth (47)
"Recreation and Conservation:" In groups, have students locate and research a protected natural place in their area, and have each group present its findings to the class and discuss the quality of the remaining natural places. Have them write letters to public officials praising contributions, or appealing for conservation.
Chicago's Black Metropolis: Understanding History through a Historic Place (53)
"Nominating a Local Historic Place:" Ask each student to select a site, building, monument, or structure in their community that could be nominated for a local, state, or national register of historic places. Have them complete the action steps needed to create a narrative about the historic significance of that place. This activity could be extended to a large, cooperative project for a nomination to have the place listed in a local, state, or national register, or for a history fair, term paper, classroom display, or videotape.
Chicago's Columbus Park: The Prairie Idealized (81)
"Save that Site:" Have students research a historic or natural site, either in the community or beyond, which is endangered due to population pressures, pollution, development, etc.
"Green Scene:" Have students compile a list of native plants in order to design a park or garden for their school or community. Have them present the reasons why the project should be funded and implemented to the appropriate school, parks, town, or city officials.
Clara Barton's House: Home of the American Red Cross (27)
"Local Assistance Groups:" Have students (individually or in small groups) investigate organizations in their area which offer assistance, and have them discuss how each organization’s similarities helps meet the needs of the community. Have them brainstorm ways they could help members of their community.
"Comfortable Camps?" Archeology of the Confederate Guard Camp at the Florence Stockade (142)
"Learning about war veterans buried in your Community:" Have students conduct research on either a local or national cemetery and participate in a commemorative program like decorating graves with flags for Veterans and Memorial Day.
"Women in the Civil War:" Have students research and compare the experience of women in the Civil War to women in the military today. Ask the local VFW or American Legion Post to help identify veterans who would let students interview them.
Decatur House: A Home of the Rich and Powerful (19)
"Access to Power:" Have students choose a current issue they wish to express an opinion about to their state governor, and have students show their support or disapproval by petition, letter, fax, E-mail, telephone, or the news media. Students should consider and discuss if a personal visit would be effective.
“The Electric Project”: The Minidoka Dam and Powerplant (160)
• “How do you get your electricity?:” Have students work in groups to investigate power plants and stations in their community. Some of these facilities may be impressive structures that were sources of great local pride when they were first created. Ask the students to consider nominating these historic places to state or national registers.
The Emerald Necklace: Boston's Green Connection (86)
"Parks Brochure:" Have students work in groups to create a brochure of a local park or park system; the final product should be displayed and/or sent to the local parks commission.
"Landscape Fun:" Invite a local landscape architect to speak to the class and show students some before and after images of projects; ask students to work within a $50 budget to design a plan to beautify the school by the addition of some landscape elements.
Federal Courthouses and Post Offices: Symbols of Pride and Permanence in American Communities (97)
• "What If... :" Have students work in small groups to identify and conduct research on a courthouse, post office, or other government building in the area. Ask them to investigate the history of the building, its impact on the community when it was built, and the role it plays today. Have them incorporate what they have learned into a poster or exhibit for display at a local library or historical society.
First Lady of the World: Eleanor Roosevelt at Val-Kill (26)
"Local Volunteer Organizations:" Ask students to make a list of the volunteer groups and programs in their community that are dedicated to helping others. If the school has a community service program, ask students to consider volunteering a few hours of their time.
Floyd Bennett Field: Naval Aviation's Home in Brooklyn (120)
"Oral History Interview, World War II in the Local Community:" Ask students to interview either veterans or women who worked during World War II, study the effects of the war in their community and use that research to find sites where they can go on field trips, and help plan a program for Veterans Day or Memorial Day honoring local veterans.
Fiftieth Anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act
"Activity 1:" Divide students into groups and ask each group to select a place from their community that is listed in the National Register of Historic Places or one that they think should be listed. After they have completed their research about their place, hold a class discussion about the benefits of preservation to the community. Have them share their findings to the PTA or a local historical organization in a Power Point presentation, a community walking tour, an exhibit, or a website.
"Activity 2:" For a more ambitious project, the class may whish to consider preparing a draft nomination form for one or more of the properties they investigated for the state inventory list or register or for a National Register nomination. Alternatively, students may write letters to local planners or work with local preservation organizations to preserve the places they identified.
The Frankish Building: A Reflection of the Success of Ontario, California (43)
"Determining Community Sites of Historic Significance:" Students in the class will learn how to identify and nominate eligible buildings to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). They will create a nomination for their home and a building in their community that they believe is eligible for inclusion on the Register.
Frederica: An 18th-Century Planned Community (31)
"Moving Day:" In groups that represent Frederica families, have students discuss what they would do when the fort closed. Have them consider how they would react if a modern military base, military industry installation, or a major factory that employed a large percentage of the town’s population closed.
Going-to-the-Sun Road: A Model of Landscape Engineering (95)
"Investigating the Local Community:" Have the students identify and research a road that they think is important to their community. Was there controversy about the road?
"The Great Chief Justice" at Home (49)
"Historic Sites in the Local Community:" Have students research a historic site in their community associated with an important figure and prepare a written report; have them read their reports aloud and participate in a classroom discussion on whether they feel it is important to preserve historic sites that are associated with important persons of the past.
“The Greatest Dam in the World”: Building Hoover Dam (140)
• "Hoover Dam and the Arid West :" Have students compare the supply of water available in the Colorado River with the needs of its consumers and consider the possible implications of what they find for the future of the region.
• "Public Works in the Local Community :" Have students work in small groups to identify and conduct research on public works in the area. Ask them to investigate the history of the examples they find and consider nominating them to state or national registers. If the properties need maintenance, the student may want to call that situation to the attention of local authorities.
Growing into Public Service: William Howard Taft's Boyhood Home (15)
"Leadership Characteristics:" Using the Taft family as an example, have students define characteristics associated with leadership and identify someone in their community who fits those characteristics. If possible, interview this person, using a set of student developed questions. Write a profile of the interviewee and submit it to the school or local newspaper. Have students write their governor, congress person, or senator using the same questions.
Guilford Courthouse: A Pivotal Battle in the War for Independence (32)
"Eyewitness Accounts:" Invite an eyewitness of a significant event (e.g. war battles or natural disasters) to speak to the class.
Harry Truman and Independence, Missouri: "This is Where I Belong" (103)
"The Place We Call Home:" Have students design and undertake a project to improve their neighborhood. Projects might include: a local cleanup project, planting trees, starting a community garden, or visiting elderly family friends or relatives to learn about local history.
Herbert Hoover: Iowa Farm Boy and World Humanitarian (34)
"Citizenship and the Local Community:" Have students construct a survey on the attitudes a cross section of their local community holds toward the concept of good citizenship. Then have them work in groups to discuss and tally responses. As a class discuss the results of the survey, develop a definition of good citizenship, and list ways in which they could act as good citizens in their own community.
Johnson Lake Mine: Mining for Tungsten in Nevada's Snake Range (110)
"Life During WWI:" Have students research how their community supported the World War I effort. Or, have students conduct an oral history on the life of a specific person who lived through WWI or WWII. Have the students make a class presentation on their findings.
The Joseph Bellamy House: The Great Awakening in Puritan New England (85)
"Historical Research in the Community:" In small groups, have students identify an individual who was prominent in the history of their community by investigating what documents, artifacts, historic places, and/or place names associated with the person remain in the town.
"Journey from Slavery to Statesman": The Homes of Frederick Douglass (147)
"Activity 4: Slavery All Over:" Have students research slavery in their state. How did state views compare with Douglass’s views on slavery? Have students look for an example of a modern social injustice and write an Op-Ed column with their point of view.
The Liberty Bell: From Obscurity to Icon (36)
"What Do Symbols Tell Us About Ourselves?:" Have students think of events that have occurred in their lifetimes that might one day become symbolized as important in American history.
Life on an Island: Early Settlers Off the Rock-Bound Coast of Maine (16)
"Local History:" Have students create their own historical museum with prepared documents of written short accounts of their own family history, family papers, and artifacts. Students should also write about their current lives or a current issue as if they were writing in 2050.
Lincoln Home National Historic Site: A Place of Growth and Memory (127)
"A Visit From a Hometown Politician:" Invite a locally elected official to talk to the class on his or her experience in politics, with students asking questions.
Little Kinnakeet Lifesaving Station: Home to Unsung Heroes (57)
"Today's Lifesavers:" Arrange for the class to visit a local fire station (or Coast Guard station if possible), and have students prepare a list of questions to ask a member of the rescue team. After the visit, hold a classroom discussion about how modern lifesaving procedures and conditions differ from those encountered by lifesavers of the U.S. Lifesaving Service.
“Making the Desert Bloom”: The Rio Grande Project (141)
• "The Future of the Rio Grande :"

0 Replies to “Out Of Town Assignments For Students”

Lascia un Commento

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *