Lynn Ethan Nielsen papers

Collection Overview

Title: Lynn Ethan Nielsen papers

Record Series: 21/01/02/05

Record Group:

21/01/02 Faculty & Staff Papers

Creator: Lynn Ethan Nielsen

Date: ca. 1975-2012

Extent: 11 boxes (11.96 linear feet)

Repository: Special Collections and University Archives, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa.

Language: Materials entirely in English.

Information for Users

Accessing the Collection:

No restrictions. Materials are open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

After Professor Nielsen died in April 2015, College of Education staff sent the contents of his office to SC&UA.

Sensitive Materials Statement: Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy or similar laws, and the Iowa Open Records Law (see Iowa Code § 22.7). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Northern Iowa assumes no responsibility.

Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], in the [Series Title] #[series number], [folder number or title when applicable], [Collection Name], Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa.  

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Historical Note

Lynn Ethan Nielsen was associated with the Malcolm Price Laboratory School and the University of Northern Iowa for almost his entire life.  He graduated from both the Laboratory School and the University.  He taught and served as principal at the Laboratory School and then taught in the College of Education at the University.

At the Laboratory School, Professor Nielsen taught social studies in the lower elementary grades.  He and Laboratory School colleagues such as Judith Finkelstein, Joan Duea, Janet McClain, and Jeffrey Blaga developed an exceptionally strong and extensive program on the teaching of Iowa history to elementary school children.  The program, Explorations in Iowa History, emphasized the use of primary sources.  Professor Nielsen also conducted research on character education and the vocational choices of male elementary school teachers.


Scope and Content

This collection provides a vry strong look at trends in elementary school social studies teaching in the 1980s and 1990s.  It also gives a good look at character education and male elementary school teachers' vocational choices.  More specifically, the collection provides excellent documentation of Malcolm Price Laboratory School curricula and programming in the 1980s and 1990s.  Researchers may wish to use this collection in conjunction with several other strong Laboratory School collections:  Judith Marshall Finkelstein Papers and Unit III Team Papers.


Box 1

Personnel and evaluation files

  • Newspaper articles on Professor Nielsen and his work
  • Classroom activity photographs
  • Evaluator license, 1996-2001
  • Faculty activity reports
  • Promotion to associate professor
  • Promotion to professor
  • Salary letters
  • Professional evaluation file, 1991
  • Evaluations
  • Courses taught for Department of Curriculum and Instruction, 2000-2008
  • Awards and thanks
  • Outstanding graduate teaching award documentation, 2008
  • MWOne UNIque academic advising award documentation, 2012
  • List of state and local presentations, 1975-1991
  • List of national and regional presentations, 1984-1991
  • Editorships:  Iowa Council for the Social Studies Journal, Iowa History Teacher

Grant proposals

  • UNI summer research fellow, 1981
  • National Endowment for the Humanities, 1982
  • Iowa Department of Education, 1983
  • National Endowment for the Humanities, 1984
  • United States Department of Education, 1987
  • National Endowment for the Arts, 1987
  • United States Constitution Bicentennial, 1988
  • Center for Iowa Social Studies, 1988
  • Apple Corporation, 1990
  • US West, 1994
  • Iowa Sesquicentennial, 1994
  • New Iowa Schools Network, 1994
  • Carver Excellence in Education, 1996
  • James Ackerman, 1996
  • Spencer Foundation, 1996
  • McElroy Trust, 1998
  • First Amendment Schools, 2005

Box 2

Book and chapter reviews

Iowa Council for the Social Studies Journal, 1994-2012, Lynn Nielsen, editor

Consulting work

  • West Des Moines schools, 1991, 1994
  • Ames schools, 1997
  • Keokuk Catholic schools, 1999

Presentations and workshops

  • 1983  Iowa Council for the Social Studies:  Explorations in Iowa History
  • 1983  AEA-5:  Iowa history
  • 1984  Iowa Curriculum and Instruction Conference:  Joyce Model of teaching
  • 1984  NCSS:  Immigration education
  • 1985  WHO radio interview
  • 1986  NCSS:  Teaching black history in the elementary classroom
  • 1987  Iowa Council for the Social Studies:  Celebrating the Constitution
  • 1987  NCSS, Celebrating the Constitution
  • 1988  Iowa Council for the Social Studies:  Stars and stripes for kids
  • 1989  Arizona Council for the Social Studies: Democratic citizenship, a participation model
  • 1989  AEA 11:  Iowa studies
  • 1990  James Doud class:  Issues and trends in K-8 social studies, Iowa history instruction
  • 1992  Regional Social Studies Conference:  Teaching state and local history
  • 1992  Iowa Council for the Social Studies:  Columbus the voyager, elementary teaching activities
  • 1992 Elementary Educators Conference:  Teaching history to children
  • 1992  AEA-11:  Teaching history with primary Source materials
  • 1993  AACTE:  Teacher, administrator, and counselor field-based preparation, a collaborative model
  • 1993  AEA-10:  Teaching Iowa history
  • 1993  Iowa Council for the Social Studies:  Democratic classroom interaction model
  • 1993  NCSS:  Democratic classroom interaction model
  • 1994  AACTE:  Patterns of professional development in seven master teachers
  • 1994  AEA-10:  Historical perspective on Iowa rivers
  • 1994  School Counselors Conference:  Citizenship, a school-wide commitment
  • 1994  AEA-4:  Iowa history
  • 1994  Iowa Council for the Social Studies:  Teaching historical thinking to elementary students
  • 1994  NCSS:  Teaching historical thinking to elementary students
  • 1995  National Association of Laboratory Schools, Teaching historical thinking to elementary students
  • 1996  Character Education Forum:  Character education--state or local initiative?
  • 1996  AACTE:  Gender differences and university students' decision to become elementary education majors
  • 1996  Iowa Council for the Social Studies:  Ethics and character education, theoretical perspectives and classroom practices
  • 1996  NCSS:  Refocusing social studies for young learners, alternatives to expanding horizons
  • 1996 Great Lakes Regional Council for the Social Studies:  Teaching historical thinking skills to students
  • 1997  AEA-10:  Teaching Iowa history
  • 1997  Iowa Council for the Social Studies workshop:  led workshop
  • 1997  AEA 6 staff development day:  Exploration in Iowa history
  • 1997  Creston Community School District:  Elementary social studies curriculum
  • 1997  Waconia Community Schools:  Character education
  • 1997  Association of Teacher Educators:  Ethics and character education:  theoretical perspectives and classroom practices+
  • 1998  Character Education Partnership:  PLS citizenship program, a qualitative assessment
  • 1999  Great Lakes Regional Social Studies Conference:  PLS citizenship program, a qualitative assessment
  • 2000  AACTE Special Study Group:  Link your classroom to the world (Joan Vandervelde)
  • 2000  Iowa History Forum:  I'll be seeing you, World War II diary and correspondence of Cpl. Mary Elizabeth Osen
  • 2002  AACTE:  A seamless transition for work sample implementation
  • 2003  Iowa History Teacher workshop:  Explorations in Iowa history
  • 2003  NCSS:  Building a caring community, curriculum outreach to educators
  • 2004  History Workshop for Elementary Teachers:  Teaching American History
  • 2004  AACTE:  Assessment of learning and assessment for learning
  • 2004  Distance Teaching and Learning:  Constructivist online activities and assessments to engage the undergraduate and graduate learner
  • 2008  NCSS:  History mystery, teaching historical narrative to elementary students
  • 2009  IDEA Diversity Summit:  Constructing gender, contradictions in the life of a male elementary teacher

Meetings attended

  • 1986  Outcomes based education
  • 1992  Mentoring, developing field-based educational administration and counseling preparation programs
  • 1995  White House Conference on Character Building
  • 1996  National Council for History Education--Advancing History in America's Schools
  • 1998  Webnet World Conference
  • 2000  National Council for the Social Studies Leadership Institute

Box 3


  • Teacher's guide for Iowa past to present, the people and the prairie.  First and third editions

Journal articles
Note:  The content of these folders varies, but the folders may include editorial correspondence, manuscripts, and copies of publications in which Professor Nielsen's work appeared.  Professor Nielsen wrote many of these articles with co-authors such as Judith Finkelstein, Jeffrey Blaga, Carmen Montecinos, and other members of the University of Northern Iowa and Malcolm Price Laboratory School faculty.

  • Undated  Highlights:  Building a sense of personal history
  • Undated  Primary elementary social studies instruction:  a status report
  • 1982  National Association of Laboratory Schools Journal:  Personalized individual instruction
  • 1982  Iowa Social Studies Newsletter:  Elementary Iowa history instruction:  a status survey
  • 1983  Journal of Social Studies Research:  The status of state history instruction
  • 1983  Iowa Social Studies Newsletter:  State history instruction in Iowa
  • 1984  Newsletter of Parenting:  A sense of history
  • 1984  Network News Exchange:  A look at pre-collegiate state history instruction
  • 1984  Iowa Curriculum Bulletin:  Primary sources as elementary instructional material
  • 1985  Social Studies:  An investigation of correspondence courses for naturalization applicants
  • 1985  Social Studies:  Teaching historical concepts through celebrating a centennial with young children
  • 1985  Iowa Educational Leadership Journal:  Why Johnny can't read in the content areas
  • 1985  Live Wire:  Choosing and using children's books
  • 1985  Network News Exchange:  Primary sources as elementary instructional materials
  • 1986  Linked:  Elementary Iowa history instruction:  an update
  • 1986  Iowa Educational Leadership:  Elementary Iowa history instruction:  an update 
  • 1987  Hispania:  Opening a window on the world
  • 1987  Schools:  Celebrating citizenship
  • 1987  Hearne Brothers:  Iowa study map
  • 1987  Social Studies:  History in the first person
  • 1988  Social Studies and the Young Learner:  Citizenship education:  looking at government
  • 1988  Religion and Public Education:  Religion in the elementary classroom--a laboratory approach
  • 1988  Learning 88:  Safari adventure:  learning about Africa
  • 1990  ICTE Newsletter:  A view from the back
  • 1990  Social Studies and the Young Learner:  Stars and stripes for kids:  a global perspective with art
  • 1991  Iowa Educational Leadership:  A view from the back
  • 1992  Instructor Magazine:  Children in American history
  • 1992  Social Education:  Primary elementary social studies instruction:  a status report
  • 1993  Teaching pre-K-8:  A new approach to parent conferences
  • 1995  National Association of Laboratory Schools Journal:  The state of character education from the perspective of state departments of education
  • 1996  Renaissance Magazine:  Exploring male's preservice elementary teachers' constructions of teaching and teacher education
  • 1996  Journal of Staff Development:  Patterns of professional development among master elementary teachers
  • 1997  Journal of Teacher Education:  Gender and cohort differences in university students' decisions to become elementary teacher education majors
  • 1997  Social Studies Review:  Research summary:  the status of character education from the perspective of state departments of education
  • 1998  Character Education:  New study shows states returning to character education
  • 1998  Harvard Educational Review:  Performing scripts of masculinities in elementary school teaching
  • 1998  Equity and Excellence in Education:  Teaching metaphors among male elementary preservice teachers:  claiming a profession not intended for them
  • 2003  Journal of Social Studies Research:  Price Laboratory School citizenship program:  a qualitative assessment
  • 2004  Childhood Education:  Teaching from the heart . . . it's about Max and Maurine:  a personal narrative
  • 2004  Multicultural Perspectives:  Male elementary preservice teachers' gendering of teaching
  • 2004  NAESP Journal:  From crisis to community:  what elementary principals learned on 9/11
  • 2006  Nurse Educator:  Implementing case study methodology in critical care nursing:  a discourse analysis
  • 2007  Asian Journal of exercise and sports science:  Coaching efficacy and volunteer youth soccer coaches
  • 2008  Social Studies:  Designing discussions:  four ways to open up a dialogue
  • 2008  Social Studies and the Young Learner:  Citizenship education:  engaging children in building community
  • 2009  Radiologic Technology:  Connecting classroom to clinical practice:  a comparison of programs
  • 2010  Early Childhood Education Journal:  Defining the difference:  comparing integrated and traditional single-subject lessons


  • A brief review of nineteenth and twentieth century educational reforms
  • Aunt May project

Box 4 - Curricular material

Explorations in Iowa History Project and Unit III material--this is a very large collection of curricular material that is not yet inventoried on a title-by-title basis

Box 5

Instructional units, mostly Unit III productions

  • Australia
  • Black history
  • Boiling Point!, Sac and Fox treaties simulation game
  • Celebrating citizenship, with study and evaluation of the program at Malcolm Price Laboratory School
  • Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Celebrating the Bill of Rights
  • Celebrating the Constitution
  • China
  • Columbus the voyager
  • Elections
  • Her Story
  • Maps and globes
  • Stars and stripes for kids
  • Photographic slides relating to the industrial process in Laboratory School classrooms
  • Photographic slides relating to Iowa history in Laboratory School classrooms

College of Education teaching assignments--course outlines, class assignments

  • Teaching elementary school social studies (210:164):  fall 1993, spring 1994, fall 1994, fall 2000, spring 2001, spring 2002, fall 2002, fall 2013
  • Methods and materials for teaching Iowa and local history (28:133g), undated
  • Applications in elementary school social studies (210:143), fall 2007
  • Hands-on History with the WWW, on-line workshop for teachers, 1999

Doctoral study handbook and guidelines, University of Northern Iowa

Iowa and NCATE teacher education standards

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards

Iowa Teacher Quality Partnership, UNI Course Redesign Summit, 2011

Box 6 - Iowa history projects and concerns

Oral history project, older people, 1986

Victorian House field trip guides (Cedar Falls, Iowa), 1999

Area Education Agency 9 History Project, 2005

Marshall Center School Advisory Committee (University of Northern Iowa campus)

Country Heritage Community, Keystone Area Education Agency 1, field trip guides, assessments, 1998-2000

Prairie Voices, Iowa Studies Curriculum Project, 1995

Developmental drama:  the curricular process for pre-kindergarten-grade 6:  Iowa Department of Education, Iowa Arts Council, Iowa Alliance for Arts Education, 1991

State Historical Society of Iowa, committee work

Iowa History Month, October 1985:  Iowa Historical Museum Foundation

Iowans Organizing for World Awareness:  Stanley Foundation

Reflections of yesterday, processes for investigating local history, intermediate and middle school level:  Iowa Department of Public Instruction and Southern Prairie Area Education agency

Core Curriculum for Iowa Schools, Social Studies Committee

Understanding law and the courts, K-12 instructional guide:  Supreme Court of Iowa, Community Education about the Courts Project, 1983

Iowa History Survey, responses and final summary report, submitted to State Historical Society of Iowa, 2001

Box 7 - Teaching history, social studies, and geography

Teaching history with architecture

Teaching history with primary sources

Teaching history with drama and simulation

Teaching history:  The Iowa Play, by Fred Meeker, 1991 (script)

Iowa history textbook plans

Teaching history--trivia

Teaching history--timelines and sequence cards

Teaching history--daily events

Teaching history--photographs

Teaching history--local events

Teaching history--Russell House model

Teaching historical thinking (with History Mystery project)

Teaching standards for history

Local history and total curriculum, 1992

Teaching social studies

Social studies--facts and concerns

Social studies--organizing and analyzing information

Social studies--scope and sequence

Social studies--Malcolm Price Laboratory School curriculum

Teaching social studies--literature and writing

Evaluating elementary social studies textbooks

Social studies--future research

Teaching geography--national standards

Teaching geography--geography education

Teaching geography--warm-up activities

Teaching geography--Iowa map activities

Teaching with supplementary curriculum packages

Teaching with learning centers

Two areas of special interest for Professor Nielsen were: Character education and the vocational choices of male elementary school teachers.  He studied the subjects, conducted research, participated in meetings relating to the topics, implemented programs at the Malcolm Price Laboratory School, presented his research at professional meetings, and wrote on these topics.  In the process of his work, Professor Nielsen accumulated a substantial body of information on these subjects.  Because these were areas of special interest for Professor Nielsen, the processor of this collection retained most of the secondary material that Professor Nielsen collected.  This secondary material includes professional articles, newspaper clippings, and program descriptions that reflect a wide range of views.  This collection also contains some material written by Professor Nielsen himself on these topics.

Research material

  • Gender and vocational choices of male elementary school teachers

Box 8 - Research material, continued

Character education

    Box 9

    Children's classroom work

    Box 10

    Children's classroom work, continued

    Box 11 - Addendum, PhD Thesis, 1980: Received in June 2017, donated by his wife, Mary Nielsen

    Folder 1: Frontmatter

    Folder 2: Chapters I-V and Bibliography

    Folder 3: Appendix A: Primary Sources

    Folder 4: Appendix B: Teacher's Manual

    Folder 5: Appendix C: Permission Letter

    Folder 6: Appendix D: Comprehension Tests

    Folder 7: Appendix E: Pre- and Post-Content Tests

    Folder 8: Appendix F: Test Procedure Guides

    Folder 9I: Appendix G: Log Sheet (Teacher's)

    Folder 10: Appendix H: Teacher Questionnaire

    Folder 11: Appendix I: Student Questionnaire

    Processing Information

    Collection processed by University Archivist Gerald L. Peterson, July 2015; updated, July 8, 2015 (GP); updated June 7, 2017 by Adjunct Special Collections and University Archives Librarian Rachael Acheson, and Special Collections Coordinator and University Archivist Jaycie Vos. Updated by Library Associate Dave Hoing, February 2018. Linear feet updated September 20, 2017.