Teacher Resources


"Making Invisible Histories Visible assures that students, through the research of various cultures and ethnicities (their own and those of their classmates), bridge cultural differences. The students' use of differing perspectives increases innovation and the quality of work."

 -Barry Thomas, Social Studies Supervisor, Omaha Public Schools


Why should I use this content in my classroom?

The Making Invisible Histories Visible project provides teachers with a great opportunity to bring local, minority history into their classroom. There are profound benefits to doing so: research demonstrates that when a teacher integrates literature and resources that reflect the diverse backgrounds of his or her students, the teacher contextualizes or connects to students' everyday experiences. The content on this website gives social studies teachers throughout the District diverse resources that can be integrated into the classroom to support students' academic and personal success.

How do I use this content in my classroom? Utilize the materials found right here in the Teacher Resource section.

*Many of the projects have a lesson plan created by an Omaha Public Schools educator. The lesson plans are found below and on each of the project pages.

*The General Lesson Plan and Graphic Organizer found below can be applied to all of the projects.

*The 9 iBooks found below

*Additionally, each of the project pages starts with a guiding question.

Past Summer Programs

Each summer, students create projects around a theme. To date, students have explored the history of North and South Omaha, Nebraska's Indigenous history, and minorities honored through landmarks.

North Omaha

This subject area focuses on the history of African Americans in Omaha as well as other areas of the state of Nebraska. Spanning three summers, this section comprises twenty-four student projects covering nearly as many topics: politics, religion, education, housing, labor, war, music, visual and dramatic arts, sports, buisness, journalism, community events, and migration and immigration. Within these topics, numerous themes appear and recur, including the role of the spiritual and sacred in the personal and public lives of African Americans.; the role of major figures as well as community mobilization in the advance of black civil rights in Omaha; the effects of segregation and integration on black education; the role of black-owned businesses in the economic strength of the local community as well as their role as multipurpose sites, doubling as community institutions and social centers; and much more. In the end, these projects off a wide-ranging and in-depth look at the history of African Americans in Omaha and greater Nebraska.

South Omaha

This subject area focuses on the South Omaha area and the various racial and ethnic groups that populated it over the years: Latino/as, African Americans, Czechs, Poles, Irish, Italians, Romanians, and more. The topics covered are just as diverse. The students explored the role of music in bridging generational divides and preserving identity.; the role of sports in community building and community pride as well as a means of assimilation and an escape from the hardships of everyday life; the way immigration and racial and ethnic identity shaped businesses; the role of social movements in advancing labor rights, improving education, and preserving language; the push and pull factors that influenced decisions to immigrate to South Omaha; and a number of other fascinating and important subjects.

Indigenous Nebraskans

This subject area focuses on the history of Native Americans in Nebraska from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day. The students covered a wide scope of topics in their exploration of the past. Within this section, you will find projects examining the role of disease and ecological destruction in the displacement of Native Americans and the success of early white settlements., efforts by Indigenous people in Nebraska to gain government recognition of their personhood and citizenship rights, and the representation o Native cultures as vanishing in the age of imperialism at the turn of the century. Topics covering more modern history examine the military service of Native Americans in World War II; the status of tribes as determined by the federal government and how that status is tied to the land ownership, employment, health care, and other aspects of life; the role of education as a tool for both advancement and oppression; attempts to revitalize traditional culture; and the use of marches, occupations, and litigation to retain land, uphold treaties, and much more.

Historical Landmarks

In this unique category, students used historical landmarks to explore the lives of important but often underappreciated Nebraskans in the state's history. This approach afforded the students the opportunity to explore a wide range of subjects all tied together by the fact that each has a place or structure that is intended to preserve it in the public memory. Within this section, you will find student projects on the Nisei at UNL during Word War II, the role of Jewish immigrant women in business (Rose Blumkin), the role of Latinos in the military (Miguel Hernandez Keith), and education (Jim Ramirez), efforts to improve Native American health care (Susan LaFlesche Picotte), African American movements for integration and empowerment (Dorothy Eure, Lerlean Johnson, and Charles B. Washington), and women's environmental activism (Dorothy Patach).


General Lesson Plan

Download the General Lesson Plan and Graphic Organizer. It can be applied to all of the Making Invisible Histories Visible web projects. That is the perfect tool for teachers looking to have students explore multiple pages and for independent student work.

Lesson Plans

Download these in-depth lesson plans connected to specific Making Invisible Histories Visible web projects. The lesson plans can also be found on the related web project page.

Mapping with GIS

map of Omaha with dots where Jazz musicians lived

map of Omaha with dots where Jazz musicians lived


Omaha Public Schools students and teachers collaborated with history graduate students to research and map out the homes of African American musicians living and working in Omaha's Near North side neighborhood from roughly 1940 to 1960. The students' starting point was the account ledger for the Local 558, the black musician's union for Omaha.


picture of an aerial map of Omaha with a marking pointing out the Central High Vietnam War Memorial


Upper level OPS students created interactive GIS map tours that connect Omaha history to place. The GIS map tours connect with the OPS 9th grade U.S. History curriculum.  The maps are broken out by unit (below) and explore what people and events were contributing to local and national stories of the time. 

  • The Roaring 1920s 
  • Great Depression (1929-1930) 
  • World War II (1939-1945)  
  • 1950s and the Cold War (1945-1959) 
  • Civil Rights Movement (1955-1975) 
  • 1960-1970 and Vietnam


Want more great content? Download the Making Invisible Histories Visible iBooks! During the summer of 2013, eight Omaha Public Schools elementary teachers developed an iBook on a topic of Omaha and Nebraska history as it relates to African American History. Each book allows students to go beyond the content through analysis activities using photos, documents, and other artifacts. Through these iBooks, students will experience history and its connections to their own cultures and backgrounds.

In 2015, a ninth iBook was created, exploring contemporary Native American history in Omaha. "Jefferson Square: Omaha's Indigenous Neighborhood" remembers the urban Native American community living and working around Jefferson Square in the middle of the twentieth century.