Social studies classrooms are an interesting place because at any given time you can learn about history, culture, art, politics and civics, economics, and more. This wide variety of topics means teachers have to work harder than ever to assemble fun resources, activities, and lesson plans.

We’ve compiled a list of some of the best social studies resources available on the web, so teachers can focus more on using these awesome resources, and less on how and where to find them.


24/7 Science

Authentic History Center

Why we like it:

This site compiles resources on American History, but through the lens of popular culture. Rather than reading about the civil rights movement, students and teachers can listen to songs, watch television interviews, and see photos involving that point in history.


Annenberg learner

BBC History

Why we like it:

With lessons based on a variety of historical topics and pieces written by experts from around the world, BBC’s history site is a great place for teachers to find discussion topics, ideas for lesson plans and assignments, and videos to share with their students.


awesome science teacher resources

Be Washington

Why we like it:

This is a compelling choose-your-own-adventure type game where students play as George Washington and make decisions based on real-life events. It is long, but interesting, and can be played as a single player, or as a class.


BJ’s Resources

Big History Project

Why we like it:

It is rare to find such a thorough curriculum available for free for teachers to just grab and run with. The site has everything from course plans to lessons to professional development and allows teachers to jump in and have everything they need to offer an engaging curriculum to their students.


Bozeman Science

CIA World Factbook

Why we like it:

Although there is not a lot of commentary on this site, the collection of maps, flags, comparisons, and information on leaders, military and economies provides a wealth of information for student projects, lesson plans, or anything else that might arise in a social studies classroom.


Chem Collective

Conversations with History

Why we like it:

UC Berkeley has compiled nearly 40 years of one-on-one interviews with various people, both famous and unknown, giving their perspective of their lives and the historical context that affected them. These are a great way to give students personal connections to different points in time over recent history.


Data Nuggets

Crash Course

Why we like it:

YouTube is still a popular resource for students and this channel does a great job breaking down entire high school social studies courses into their own video series. The comments on the videos speak for themselves when it comes to determining how popular these are with students.


Dr. Saul’s Biology in Motion

David Rumsey Map Collection

Why we like it:

This site has an extensive collection of maps, including many rare maps from as far back as the 16th century. These are great resources to show students the progression of civilization throughout time.


Earth Exploration Toolbook

Digital History

Why we like it:

The interactive nature of this site, along with the truly impressive amount of information makes it an invaluable resource for US History teachers. The timeline on the home page allows students and teachers to select resources by time period, but there is also the ability to browse by topics ranging from art to fashion to science and technology.


Edheads

EdTechTeacher Best of History Websites

Why we like it:

Although this site as a lot of links to other sites and can be a bit overwhelming, the section on games and animations is well-organized and includes descriptions of all of the games and activities linked to. Some time was spent gathering all these games into one place, and it is a great resource for teachers of these age groups.


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Hhmi BioInteractive

Gazillionaire

Why we like it:

This game has a fun take on a business simulation, allowing students to start as a small company and work their way up to a Gazillionaire.


How Stuff works

Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

Why we like it:  

This organization offers extensive professional development and training opportunities for US History teachers, as well as AP US History resources that can be shared with students.


Impact Earth

Global Connections: Liberia

Why we like it:

This site combines timelines, videos, lesson plans, and links to outside resources to tell the story of US/Liberia relations and puts it in historical context.


Khan Academy

Global Connections: Middle East

Why we like it:

This site combines timelines, videos, lesson plans, and links to outside resources to tell the story of the Middle East and puts it in historical context.


Kinetic City

Global Trek

Why we like it:

Students can travel around the world without leaving their computers. Along the way, they can keep a travel journal and there are lesson plans provided for teachers to use along with the student activities.


Kitchen Chemistry

Historical Thinking Matters

Why we like it:

A major part of social studies education for older students is looking at context of historical primary sources and understanding how events unfolded based on that context. This site provides activities and lessons to foster historical thinking and help students with these skills.


Laura Candler’s Teaching Resources

History of the UK: Primary Documents

Why we like it:

The sheer number of primary documents, including photos of paintings and artifacts is astounding. Any teacher or student looking for great information about Britain and the UK would certainly find valuable items here.


Learn.Genetics

iCivics

Why we like it:

This site, which was founded by former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, offers engaging games and learning resources to help students understand civics and want to be more engaged in the civic process.


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Middle School Science Blog

National Archives

Why we like it:

What better place to get to the heart of primary documents than from the government’s National Archives. The site has great resources for teachers, including lessons and activities.


NASA

National Constitution Center

Why we like it:

The National Constitution Center has lots of current events information on their site, linking things happening in the government to what the Constitution has to say. There are also engaging civics lessons even for primary school students, which are sometimes difficult to find.


National Center for Science Education

National Council for the Social Studies

Why we like it:

The Council provides training and professional development for social studies educators across the country, including interactive videos, in-person training opportunities, and other resources.


National Science Foundation

National Geographic

Why we like it:

From activities, to videos, to historical documents, National Geographic has abundant resources for teachers and students alike.


National Science Teachers Association

Perseus Digital Library

Why we like it:

This site includes primary and secondary sources for Greek and Classical art, history, culture, and literature. There are photographs of artifacts, as well as texts of classic works for students to access.


Next Generation Science Standards

Simple History

Why we like it:

This YouTube channel breaks down important historical events and brings them to life through animation.


Periodic Table of Comic Books

Social Studies Central

Why we like it:

Sometimes teacher-made sites are the best because they know exactly what is most useful in the classroom. This is definitely the case with this amazingly detailed resource site. Check out the author’s “Favorite Five” section for some great websites and lesson plans!


Periodic Videos

Stanford History Education Group

Why we like it:

This set of resources not only focuses on history, but places emphasis on building students’ reading and comprehension skills, so they can better attack historical documents and find meaning in primary sources.


PhET Interactive Simulations

Teaching History

Why we like it:

This site has everything from videos and lessons, to best practices and resources for teachers. Because there is material for all grade levels, you can see how various parts of history can be introduced and expanded on as students progress through the curriculum.


Planting Science

UNO Center for Economic Education

Why we like it:

Economics teaching resources are a little hard to come by, but UNO has a great collection of lessons and activities from grades K-12.


Population Education

US Mint

Why we like it:

The US Mint uses games, photos, fun facts, and a printable coloring book as resources to teach younger kids about money and economics.


Science Buddies

World History Matters

Why we like it:

With links to other world history websites, this award winning portal has an excellent search feature, as well as spotlights on some interesting parts of world history that teachers can use to grab the attention of students.


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Special thanks to…

Cameron Martel, Conversio