Social Studies & Civics Resources
Civics & Government
Bill of Rights Institute
The goal of the Bill of Rights Institute is to provide a better understanding of the Constitution and Bill of Rights through 4000 resources that are free and generally leveled for the middle/high school classroom. Educators can access primary source-based lessons and and current event articles that are frequently updated. There is also an extensive collection of videos and podcasts to introduce and engage students on a variety relevant topics. Moreover, teachers can pull individual lessons from ready-made curricula that are generally based on America's founding principles. For professional development, the site provides eLearning for teachers to support their planning and delivery on topics related to U.S. Government.
C3 Teachers: College Career & Civic Life
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.
EL Civics for ESL Students
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.
Living Room Candidate
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.
National Coalition for Literacy: The 2020 Census
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.
National Constitution Center
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 Social Studies Generation
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.
Teaching Skills that Matter Civics Education
The Teaching the Skills That Matter in Adult Education project (TSTM) trains teachers to integrate the skills that matter to adult students using approaches that work across critical topics. This page houses resources specifically related to Civics Education, including an overall Issue Brief, a case study, several lesson plans, an annotated resource and reference list, and a classroom video.
United States Census Bureau Statistics in Schools
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.
Youth Leadership Initiative
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.
- Social Studies & Civics