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Web Resources

The following is a list of some favorite websites and cool online resources compiled for social studies teachers. Some links are to sites with lesson plans and curriculum material, some are to cool interactive games or maps for students to explore, and some are just cool sites to give teachers lesson ideas. If you know of a useful website or online resource for teachers, please send the link and a brief description to smcbrady@misd.net.

Stanford history Education Group - Reading Like a Historian curriculum (US and World History lessons based on inquiry and primary source analysis)

World History For Us All – curriculum for teaching world history in middle and high schools

TeachingHistory.org – K-12 American history content, teaching methods, and current research

Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources – classroom materials and professional development to help teachers effectively use primary sources

LOC Primary Source Sets - Classroom Materials at the Library of Congress (sort by topic, era, or grade band)

PBS Learning with Ken Burns - Documentary films, primary sources, lesson plans/guides regarding several topics (including those for Women’s History Month) housed by PBS (produced by Ken Burns).

PBS Learning US History - resources to support US history

Bringing History Home - K-5 history lesson plans and materials

PBS Learning World History - resources to support World history

Crash Course World History - This fantastic YouTube channel provides an engaging glimpse into some of the most notable events and developments in history. With sequences of videos on the World Wars, the history of science, U.S. History and more, it’s a great first introduction or review. 

Crash Course Kids - The creators of Crash Course have also created a second channel geared towards younger students. This biweekly show is meant for elementary school kids and covers topics ranging from Earth science to chemical reactions.

The 1619 Project - Created to commemorate the origins of slavery in the United States on its 400th anniversary, This New York Times interactive website is an eye-catching presentation of Black history.

Digital History - This site includes an up-to-date U.S. history textbook; annotated primary sources on United States, Mexican American, and Native American history, and slavery; and succinct essays on the history of ethnicity and immigration, film, private life, and science and technology.

Center for History and New Media: History Matters - A production of the American Social History Project/Center of Media and Learning, City of University New York, and the Center for History and New Media, George Mason University, History Matters is a wonderful online resource for history teachers and students.

Edsitement — The Best of the Humanities on the Web - EDSITEment is a partnership among the National Endowment for the Humanities, Verizon Foundation, and the National Trust for the Humanities. All websites linked to EDSITEment have been reviewed for content, design, and educational impact in the classroom. 

Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History - Gilder Lehrman offers Lesson Plans, Primary Source Documents, Online Exhibitions featuring engaging images, and other content to enrich at-home learning, organized by time period and topic.

The National Archives: Teachers’ Resources - The National Archives Lesson Plans section contains incorporates U.S. primary documents and its excellent teaching activities correlate to the National History Standards and National Standards for Civics and Government. Lessons are organized by chronological era, from 1754 to the present.

Digital Vaults - The National Archives Experience: Digital Vaults is an interactive exploration of history that examines thousands of documents, photographs, and pieces of history that have been integrated in a digital format. The homepage provides a list of categories on the right sidebar such as Citizenship, First Ladies, and Immigration.

DocsTeach - With DocsTeach, educators can create interactive history activities that incorporate more than 3,000 primary-source materials in a variety of media from the National Archives. Tools on the site are designed to teach critical thinking skills and integrate interactive elements such as puzzles, maps, and charts.

AP US History Study Guide - Gilder Lehrman's modules to prepare for the APUSH exam

Historical Thinker – research paper steps

History Detectives Special Investigations - Based on the PBS series seeking to answer probing questions behind a single iconic mystery from America's past.

History Matters - Designed for high school and college teachers and students, serves as a gateway to web resources and offers other useful materials for teaching U.S. history.

Historical Thinking Matters - Website focused on key topics in U.S. history designed to teach students how to critically read primary sources and how to critique and construct historical narratives.

Historical Scene Investigation - designed for social studies teachers who need a strong pedagogical mechanism for bringing primary sources into their classroom.

Teaching American History - Online resource for teachers and students

Teaching and Learning About 9/11 - The New York Times has several webpages dedicated to providing teaching resources on specific topics. This page dedicated to understanding and teaching about 9/11.

Underground Railroad Clickable Map

Underground Railroad Simulation

George Washington’s portrait - This interactive site allows you to to explore a portrait in detail, from three very different vantage points: the symbolic, the biographic, and the artistic. 

Valley of the Shadows - a digital archive of primary sources that document the lives of people in Augusta County, Virginia, and Franklin County, Pennsylvania, during the era of the American Civil War. 

Investigating History - College level introductory US History modules (lab type experiences)

The Big History Project - 13.8 billion years of history told through engaging videos, animations, articles, and classroom activities targeting middle- and high-school students

Battles of Europe - Brief drag and drop interactive activity locating the major battles of Europe throughout history on a map

Manifest Destiny tells the story of the United States in 141 maps from the Declaration of Independence to the present.

Graphic: Out of Africa – Did the Colonial Powers ever Really Leave?

Young Adult Historical Novels

Our Spatial Brains - Helping children learn to think spatially; activities, presentations, maps, and Michigan GLCE and MC3 connections

National Geographic Resources & Lesson Plans - Videos, lesson plans, and discussion available K-12

National Geographic Map Skills for students - lessons for teachers and students

The Great Lakes - Embark on a virtual field trip that covers three main components: coastal wetlands, algae, and lake sturgeon. The videos are short and targeted at middle schoolers.

Map Maker Interactive - National Geographic tool to explore the world with map themes, data, and tools for customizing maps. 

National Geographic MapMaker Kits Unique large-scale maps and activities allow students to immerse themselves in the exploration of dynamic environmental and cultural aspects of the world.

Grolier online atlases - geopolitical, thematic, historical, and exploration maps

The New York Times' interactive GIS map with selected historical census data (1880-2000) showing immigrant populations from selected countries by county.

American Migrations - site focused on educational GIS tools that provide different ways to interact with census data.

City Data - Detailed, informative profiles of all cities in the United States.

Geography World Online - links for Geography teachers

Michigan Geographic Alliance Resources - lesson plans and materials developed by staff and trained Teacher Consultants of the MGA

Interrupted Maps and Projections with animated transitions

Pew Research Center interactive features

Standards-based Geography Curriculum…with Zombies! (pay resource, $100) Using a zombie apocalypse narrative to teach geography aligned to National Geography standards, the curriculum is crafted for grades 4-8 to include Project-Based Learning into the instruction. * I have note reviewed this resource but it sounded too cool to leave off this list! Please send me feedback if you purchase it!

Urban Mapping tool that lets you explore changes from 1980 to 2010 in where poor people of different races and ethnicities lived, for every metropolitan region nationwide.

Interactive Map of Poverty and Race in America, Then and Now

Animaps – Animaps extends the My Maps feature of Google Maps by letting you create maps with markers that move, images and text that pop up on cue, and lines and shapes that change over time.

World Climate data by city

International database to create population pyramids


Constitution Day

Bill of Rights Institute – Constitutional documents, lesson plans, and other resources

United States Courts – Educational resources about the federal court system

The National Archives

Classroom Law Project - Dive into engaging civics and law-related education programs. Students of all grade levels can learn more about the values and skills essential to being a responsible citizen.

National Constitution Center - Established by Congress, this interactive website provides free online resources for remote students of all ages who are learning more about the Constitution.

C-SPAN Classroom - Access to lesson plans and bellringers regarding current events and civics. Teachers can create their own log-in and a generic class log-in for their students to access OR they can use the provided log-in below for their students to use: Username: students, Password: C-SPANCLASSROOM

Bill of Rights Institute -Primary source-based lesson plans regarding the founding documents. Also includes digital courses in history, geography, government, and economics.

Center for Civic Education - lesson plans for educators

Kid Citizen - growing set of interactive Episodes where K-5 students work with primary source photographs to explore Congress and Civic Engagement

Teaching Civics - repository of current, professionally vetted, and unbiased civics, law-related education, and government lesson plans and materials

https://www.civics101podcast.org/ - Civics 101 provides brief podcasts regarding past and current government elements. It includes graphic organizers and discussion materials to help students follow along with the materials.

http://www.icivics.org/ - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor founded iCivics in 2009 to transform the field through innovative, free educational video games and lessons that teach students to be knowledgeable, curious, and engaged in civic life. Today, iCivics is the nation’s largest provider of civic education curriculum, with our resources used by over 113,000 educators and more than 7.1 million students each year nationwide

Teaching Tolerance - Teaching Tolerance is dedicated to reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and supporting equitable school experiences for our nation’s children. There is even a special module specifically designed for the racism surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

Econ Ed Link - Interactive economics and personal finance content for K-12 (videos and clickable tasks and quizzes)

Kiddynomics - economics lessons for young learners

Economics is Everywhere - Grades 4-8 resources

Everfi: Financial Literacy resources for educators

Federal Reserve Education – classroom resources and information

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia publishes lessons for K-12 teachers to use to teach economics and personal finance in their own classrooms.


Econ Lowdown provides free classroom resources to teach about economics, personal finance, money and banking, and the Federal Reserve.

Foundation for Teaching Economics

Online economics lessons from Nebraska

The Stock Market Game

Songs - sing along econ songs for kids

MC3 Curriculum (K-12 all social studies disciplines) - free curriculum resource based on the 2007 Michigan content standards. It is a model curriculum with instructional materials for K-12 aligned to Michigan standards for social studies and content literacy. These materials, available online, are grounded in research and delineate best practices in social studies education. Many lessons can be adapted for use with homebound students.

The MI Open Book Project (textbooks.wmisd.org) has free, digital social studies textbooks for all grades levels that address Michigan’s state standards.

C3 Teachers - Collaborative website, sponsored and supported by NCSS where you can interact with other teachers about enhancing social studies.

Inquiry Lessons from EngageNY based on the C3 Framework

Discovery Education has videos, lessons, and other digital content accessible to all Macomb County teachers. (K-12 all social studies disciplines)

Social Studies Central – lots of good resources; check out the History Tech blog too

New York Time: Room for Debate – knowledgeable outside contributors discuss and debate news events and other timely issues.

See the article “Constructing Arguments: ‘Room for Debate’ and the Common Core Standards

Children’s Literature with Social Studies Themes – list of books and summaries compiled by the Delaware Social Studies Education Project

Discovery Education Virtual Field Trips - Go beyond the classroom walls and explore some of the world’s most iconic destinations—no permission slips required.

The Great Lakes - Embark on a virtual field trip that covers three main components: coastal wetlands, algae, and lake sturgeon. The videos are short and targeted at middle schoolers.

The Great Wall of China - Even through a virtual tour on a tiny screen, students will be dazzled by the magnificence and wonder of this thousands-year old fortification system.

Metropolitan Museum of Art - There’s so much to see at this iconic New York museum—even on a virtual tour. From couture ball gowns to a history of music, students will be captivated by the 26 online galleries.

Nature Works Everywhere - These wonderful virtual field trips allow students to explore a coastal rain forest or the coral reefs in the Dominican Republic and so much more.

The Smithsonian - These self-guided virtual tours give students and up-close look at permanent, current, and past exhibits.

U.S. Census Bureau - The 2020 Census is coming up, and this site is a great resource for showing kids how census data is collected and used.

Yellowstone National Park - The best way to experience Yellowstone is to visit. The second best way is to explore the cool interactive maps and, of course, the livestream of the Old Faithful Geyser eruptions.

E3T Technology for Learning resources

21 Things for Students

21 Things for Teachers

From Free Technology for Teachers (by Richard Byrne):

Flipgrid enables you to post a video prompt and then have students respond through video by using the webcams in their laptops or through the cameras on their smartphones or tablets. All responses are collected and displayed in a grid format. You can choose to respond to your students’ videos in video form or in text form. You can also allow students to respond to their classmates’ videos. Flipgrid includes a feature that lets teachers and students create whiteboard videos. This feature can be used in conjunction with all of the other features of Flipgrid’s recording tools including stickers, emojis, and trimming the beginning and end of videos. As a teacher you can record and post a whiteboard video for your students and have them reply with whiteboard videos of their own.

Screencast-O-Matic is a tool for creating screencasts that will let you capture your webcam while simultaneously capturing your screen.

Loom is a free screencasting tool that works on Chromebooks, Macs, and

Windows computers. Loom is a Chrome extension. With Loom installed you can record your desktop, an individual tab, and or your webcam. That means that you could use Loom to just record a webcam video on a Chromebook or to record your webcam while also recording your desktop.

Screencastify is a popular choice for creating screencasts on Chromebooks as well as on Windows and Mac computers. The free version limits recordings to five minutes and puts a watermark on the recording, but you can draw on your screen while talking and recording and can have your Screencastify recordings automatically saved in Google Drive and directly post them on Google Classroom.

EDpuzzle is a tool for creating flipped video lessons. It allows you to add your voice and text questions to educational videos. On EDpuzzle you can search for educational videos and or upload your own videos to use as the basis of your lesson. In your EDpuzzle lessons you can make it a requirement for students to answer a question before moving forward in the video and has an online classroom component that you can use to assign videos to students and track their progress through your video lessons.

Padlet is a free online common notice board.  Posts by teachers and students can contain links, videos, images and document files. It is great for gathering feedback from students and having them share digital creations.

Google Expeditions let you guide your students on virtual tours of hundreds of interesting places around the world. The apps also let students go on self-guided virtual tours of hundreds of interesting places. The virtual tours in Google Expeditions include audio narration, text, and highlighted points of interest.

Civic Online Reasoning is a free online resource produced by the Stanford History Education Group to help students learn how to evaluate online information. We all are. The COR curriculum provides free lessons and assessments that help you teach students to evaluate online information that affects them, their communities, and the world.

Common Sense Education has free lesson plans for teaching digital citizenship to all K-12 students. The lesson plans are listed by grade level on Common Sense Education’s Digital Citizenship Curriculum homepage

Planet Nutshell's Net Safe series contains eighteen episodes covering topics like protecting personal information, responsible posting of pictures, and mobile location privacy.

Be Internet Awesome is Google's Internet safety curriculum which features a game set in a virtual world that students navigate by correctly answering questions about Internet safety.

Ruff Ruffman: Humble Media Genius is a PBS Kids online series of videos and online quizzes designed to help elementary school students understand the importance of things like online privacy, safe texting behaviors, and managing screen time.

A Thin Line is a digital safety education resource produced to educate teenagers and young adults about the possible repercussions of their digital activities.

Factitious is a game for testing your skills at identifying fake and misleading news stories.

Checkology is a service that is designed to help students develop media literacy skills.

Bad News is a website that offers simulations that show visitors how misinformation is spread through social media. Through the simulation players learn how headlines, memes, and Tweets are designed to manipulate people and prompt reactions from them.

Teaching Tolerance provides free resources to K-12 educators to supplement the curriculum to create civil and inclusive school communities where children are respected, valued and welcome participants. Their program emphasizes social justice and anti-bias to encourage children and young people to challenge prejudice and learn how to be agents of change in their own lives.

The National Museum of African History and Culture has tools and guidance to help in communicating black history and culture. What and how the history of race in America is presented is an opportunity to engage in thoughtful, respectful and productive conversations.

Common Sense Education has a list of resources to help teachers and students build social and cultural literacies  to have difficult conversations, acknowledge and challenge bias and prejudice, create inclusive classroom spaces, and fight for social justice. You’ll find links to comprehensive curriculum as well as lessons, videos, print resources, and games organized by topic areas, such as facilitating tough conversations, understanding bias and prejudice, and getting students civically engaged.

Teaching for Change offers resources to help K-12 teachers and students build a more equitable, multicultural society, and become active global citizens. It encourages “teachers and students to question and rethink the world inside and outside their classrooms.” Programs include anti-bias education for young children, a high school history curriculum based on Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” and a civil rights curriculum that focuses on everyday people instead of a few major heroes and dates.

The 1619 Project is an ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that began in August 2019 to mark the 400th anniversary of American Slavery. The essays, on different aspects of contemporary life, show how various modern phenomena are connected to slavery. The package also includes 17 literary works by black writers on key moments in American history. You’ll also see a visual history of slavery and find a link to the 1619 podcast. The content is gruesome, because the subject is gruesome. Therefore, it might be better suited for older students.