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Teacher Resources

Primary SourcesWorkshopsFive Star LeadersEisenhower Life Series
Ike's Abilene: 1890-1910 WWII Spy Kit


Working With Primary Sources

Students using primary sourcesOnsite research experiences for secondary students may be tailored to the needs of the students and the requirements of the class. Teachers who would like more information about bringing a class of students to the Eisenhower Presidential Library for original research should contact the archives staff.

Primary Sources

The manuscript collections and audiovisual archives contain many documents and photographs that may be useful to students working on historical papers, exhibit projects, History Day projects, and media or dramatic performances. Scanned copies of original documents and photographs relating to topics such as the development of the Interstate Highway System, the Salk Polio Vaccine, World War II, the Jewish Holocaust and many more are included in the Online Documents section.


Educators Workshops

Teachers come to the Eisenhower Library to research with original documents, to develop document-based curriculum, and to attend conferences and workshops on a wide variety of topics related to the life and times of Dwight D. Eisenhower and the presidency.

Primarily Teaching     Primarily Teaching

Primarily Teaching: A Professional Development Opportunity

These workshops provide a varied program of lectures, demonstrations, analysis of documents, independent research, and group work that introduces educators to the holdings and organization of the National Archives. Participants learn how to do research in historical records, create classroom material from records, and present documents in ways that sharpen students' skills and enthusiasm for history, social studies, and the humanities. Each participant selects and prepares to research a specific topic, searches the topic in the records of the National Archives, and develops a teaching unit, or presentation, that can be presented in his or her own classroom or to colleagues.

Teachers of history, geography, government, civics, sociology, psychology, economics, American studies, literature, and the humanities take Primarily Teaching. Professors, college instructors, librarians, media specialists, curriculum supervisors, archivists, and museum educators also find it useful to their work. Primarily Teaching demonstrates secondary strategies, but educators at all levels can easily adapt them to their particular needs.

Topics researched by participants include: the Little Rock Crisis, Khrushchev’s 1959 U.S. visit, Operation Overlord (D-Day), Eisenhower and Cuba, the Rosenbergs, Eisenhower’s boyhood years, the use of intelligence gathering to make Cold War political decisions, the Interstate Highway System, the liberation of the concentration camps in WW II, and the Sputnik Crisis and how it led to the creation of NASA.


Five Star Leaders Program

Five Star Leaders video
Five Star Leaders Video

What is Five Star Leaders?

Five Star Leaders is an experiential-learning leadership program which challenges students in grades 8-12, college students and adults to work together to solve a problem, confront a crisis, or accomplish a mission. Armed with original documents and knowledge of history and leadership, students take on the same challenges as those experienced by historical figures.

Teachers and students complete four classroom modules to prepare for a half-day experience at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene, Kansas. On site, students assume the roles of historical characters while immersed in an historic event. What they experience mirrors, as closely as possible, the authentic experience of the original history makers. At the conclusion of a challenging and exciting day, students depart with a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the requirements of democratic leadership and decision making.

What are the classroom modules?

Module 1 — Students explore the concept of leadership. They learn about theories of leadership and come to realize that effective leadership is a complex, yet essential, endeavor in a democratic society.

Module 2 — Students apply what they have learned about leadership by identifying and evaluating examples in documents that address leaders and leadership situations.

Module 3 — Students acquire the historical background and context for one of three pivotal historic events. In addition, they become acquainted with the historic characters they will portray and that character’s role in the overall operation.

Module 4 — Working in teams, students read and analyze documents as they prepare for the half-day onsite module at the Eisenhower Presidential Library.

What will students experience at the Eisenhower Presidential Library?

Module 5 — Students come to the library to recreate the sequence of events associated with one of three historic scenarios. As they progress through the module, students put into practice what they have learned about leadership, decision making, and history while completing their mission.

What happens after the onsite experience?

Module 6 — Returning to the classroom, students will reflect on all they have learned about democratic leadership and decision making and how they might apply the principles of Five Star Leadership to the challenges of today and tomorrow.

Read more about Five Star Leaders.

Five Star Leaders     Five Star Leaders


The Eisenhower Life Series (grades 5-12)

The Eisenhower Life Series is a curriculum series that traces the life and times of Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1890 until 1969. Each unit includes an engaging summary of an historical period, a fascinating review of Eisenhower’s life within the context of the times, and primary sources from the holdings of the Eisenhower Presidential Library. The series is published by The Eisenhower Foundation.


Ike's Abilene: 1890-1910

The years of 1890-1910 mark the two decades of Eisenhower’s formative years in shaping his personality, character and values and leading him down the path of life-long leadership. Abilene has a long and proud American history of contributing to the success of many who have gone on to become national and international figures. The Abilene of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “growing up” years is recreated through this series of documents, photos, and first-hand accounts.


World War II Spy Kit: The Great Nazi Intelligence Coup
by David Haight, Archivist

The Dwight D. Eisenhower Library and The Eisenhower Foundation invite teachers and students to download materials from World War II Spy Kit: The Great Nazi Intelligence Coup. This engaging simulation/project is designed to introduce students to primary source material by having them participate in an exercise in historical "what might have been". Students will engage in critical thinking and document analysis and through the process, will learn more about Operation OVERLORD and World War II in general.


Want to learn more about the presidents? Visit the Presidential Timeline or Search Presidential Libraries Web Sites to locate information or photographs on specific events or topics and to find information on any of the Presidential Libraries web sites. Check the box next to the library or libraries you wish to search. Enter search terms to narrow your search.