Social Studies & Civics Resources
Based on the "Inquiry Design Model" that emphasizes student inquiry in social studies instruction - including Civics/U.S. government. These free lessons, or “inquiries,” are K-12 leveled and also cover all other sub-disciplines of social studies (Ancient/European/World/U.S. history, geography, economics), as well as state history, local history, and human rights. Each instructional inquiry is framed around a compelling question, and all related formative/summative performance tasks, subject matter-specific texts, and suggestions for extending the inquiry are included.
The goal of Citizens, Not Spectators is to demystify the voting process for students at all levels. It provides free downloadable elementary, middle, and high school level lesson plans and supporting materials that cover a wide range of topics, such as the history of voting rights in the United States, becoming an informed voter, and participating in an in-class simulated election. Especially useful for students is a printable leveled timeline regarding the election and voting process in the U.S.
English Language Civics provides an easy way to learn about U.S. history, government, citizenship, geography, and culture. New lessons, worksheets, PowerPoint presentations and lesson plans are added to elcivics.com every week.
- Branches of Government
- Citizenship Prep & Test
- Electoral System
- Local Government
- State Government
- U.S. Constitution
iCivics is a free, non-partisan, one-stop website for all topics related to civic knowledge. It includes curriculum units and downloadable lesson plans for government-related topics such as the Constitution, the three branches, and civil rights. Other units focus on citizenship, core literacy skills, and persuasive writing. The lessons are written for middle to high school leveled students. iCivics also offers a variety of online educational games that emphasize social studies skills and topics.
This ESL-focused Census curriculum has printable student workbooks and teacher's manuals for Beginning Low, Beginning High, Intermediate Low, and Intermediate High students. The Beginning Low and Beginning High workbooks both have leveled lessons on introducing the Census, the Census form, the importance of the Census, and talking to a Census enumerator. The Intermediate books have similar topical lessons plus ones on removing barriers to participation.
The Living Room Candidate website contains more than 300 candidate commercials for every presidential election since 1952. The ads can be viewed and incorporated into classroom activities or there are ready-made, high school leveled lesson plans that include discussion questions, assessments, and extensions. The site also has links to additional online resources about political commercials.
The National Coalition for Literacy’s 2020 Census website maintains a repository of Census-related information and links to resources for use by adult education teachers, program administrators, and other ABE practitioners. Resources range from Census overview guides and information about Census jobs to a regularly updated collection of Census-focused lessons, webinars on key Census topics, and conference presentations on the importance of the Census for adult education.
With a strong emphasis on the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the National Constitution Center offers a wide range of educational materials for classrooms at all levels. Resources include lesson plans, engaging and interactive video games, hands-on arts and crafts activities related to the Constitutional period, and opportunities to explore historical documents and primary sources. In addition, there are web interactive exercises that explore the concept of rights in the U.S. and the world and an online interactive Constitution.
SERP’s Social Studies Generation is comprised of three units, including a civics-related unit called "Complex Questions Related to American Democracy." Written for the middle school level, the lessons provide opportunities for students to read, write, discuss, and build arguments. Brief activities for ELA, math and science are also included in each unit.
A repository of non-partisan civics, law-related, and government lesson plans and other supporting materials for use in elementary, middle, and high school leveled classrooms, including ESL. The lessons focus on both national and Minnesota state government topics and have been developed and provided by the Learning Law and Democracy Foundation.
Offers hundreds of free activities that teachers can use in any year. Statistics in Schools (SIS) uses Census statistics to create classroom materials for grades pre-K through 12. The SIS site also includes materials specifically designed for the 2020 Census; these materials can be used with adult English language learners for building skills in history, math, geography, and English.
A paid subscription publication that highlights current news and events and offers a wide range of print and online activities. Print issues of the magazine are published 14 times during the school year, and the subscription includes teacher’s guides, lesson plans, and differentiation tools. Also included are activity sheets, assessments, videos, and access to comprehensive digital resources for student use.
The mission of Vote Smart is to provide free, factual and unbiased information on candidates and elected officials at the federal, state and local levels. Vote Smart provides candidates' biographical information, voting records/positions on various issues, endorsements, speeches, and contribution history. There are links related to ballot measures, election contacts, and voter registration by locality. For teachers and students, Vote Smart offers a free K-12-level government curriculum and an online “Government 101” tutorial with informative overviews on all aspects of American politics.
The Youth Leadership Initiative (YLI) offers free education resources for teachers along with other materials to encourage students to participate in the political process. Teachers can download K-12 and adult leveled lessons on topics such as the political process, foundations of American government, the presidency, and political beliefs and behaviors. Teachers can sign-up for YLI’s E-Congress program that allows students to learn about Congress by writing original legislation. YLI’s online mock election activity uses electronic ballots tailored to each student’s home legislative district.