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ReadyKids - U.S. Department of Homeland Security

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2 to 6
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This unique site is all about being prepared for emergencies and was created by the Department of Homeland Security. The information is presented in a "Kid Friendly", non-scary manner....more
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This unique site is all about being prepared for emergencies and was created by the Department of Homeland Security. The information is presented in a "Kid Friendly", non-scary manner. Topics include "Creating a Kit", "Making a Plan", "Knowing the Facts", and a "Graduate" quiz. There are also interactive games and resources for students, teacher and parents. Specific emergency situations include tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, fires, floods and terrorism. Some of the activities require FLASH.

tag(s): fire (27), fire safety (13), floods (13), safety (92), sun (69), terrorism (46)

In the Classroom

Get an interactive whiteboard and help your class prepare for severe weather, terrorism and more. Most activities are interactive, educational and fun! Check out the "Parents and Teachers" link for lesson plans, standards, activities and more.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Congress For Kids

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4 to 10
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This website provides students with a wealth of information on the federal government. Specific topics include independence, constitution, branches of government, elections and more....more
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This website provides students with a wealth of information on the federal government. Specific topics include independence, constitution, branches of government, elections and more. The "for kids" title inaccurately characterizes some fairly sophisticated topics and vocabulary. There are three quizzes, plus activities on nearly every page. Some of the activities are interactive and require FLASH. This site has won numerous awards - check it out! Some of the text is too challenging for younger students and will require an adult or more able reader.

tag(s): congress (32), constitution (88)

In the Classroom

Try an interactive whiteboard and introduce your students to the United States government. There are numerous interactive activities provided at this website. Then turn them loose to investigate a specific topic or set of questions on their own or with a partner.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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CIA for Kids - CIA

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3 to 12
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Divided into introductions at two levels, K- 5 and 6 - 12, the home pages explain briefly what the CIA does. Sites of interest for children include information ...more
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Divided into introductions at two levels, K- 5 and 6 - 12, the home pages explain briefly what the CIA does. Sites of interest for children include information about the Canine Corps, a story about pigeons, games and a feature on saying no to drugs. Links from the two levels of homepages do not necessarily go to reading matter of the level; for example, the "Who We Are and What We Do" pages require a sophisticated vocabulary and high reading level (9+). Links from features like "Spy-Fi Archives" display some inconsistency in formatting, but the source is a good general one for older children. An extensive book list on drug awareness and abuse prevention is helpful.

In the Classroom

Include this site when studying the three branches of government as a concrete example of one thing the Executive Branch does. Students could explore it on a "scavenger hunt" to learn answers to questions you pose, or the whole class could visit on a projector to learn about what the CIA does. If you ask students to research different government agancies, this would be a great reference site for them to use.

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Awesome Stories - Awesome Stories Internet Productions

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3 to 8
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A great source of primary documents covering many topics of interest to grade school children including the real stories some of the people killed on Sept. 11. Although this ...more
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A great source of primary documents covering many topics of interest to grade school children including the real stories some of the people killed on Sept. 11. Although this is usually a pay site ($9.95/yr), free membership is available for educators, schools, and libraries. Each feature article is divided into "Story Chapter Links" and highlighted vocabulary clicks to photographs, maps, artifacts, documents, audio-visual clips, and articles with more information about the word. Topics offered include history, culture, literature, disasters, and media. You can find passages on topics related to almost any student's interests and use the resources to teacher reading skills. In December, 2006, Awesome Stories announced free accounts for individuals, as well, but for a "limited time." If you would like your students to be abe to use it at home, consider setting up accounts for students, as well, while they are free.

tag(s): dinosaurs (55), disasters (40), literature (272), movies (70), space (223)

In the Classroom

This is a great jumping off point for beginning researchers. You will find a wonderful compilation of photographs and other realia about the topics. Teach comprehension skills by using the first four chapters and asking students to predict or write aht they think would come next. Bring up the stories on an interactive whiteboard to highlight important terms and access the links that help students build connections to content. Maybe let students select the next topic to help engage reluctant readers.

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Students Concerned by U.S. Plan to Sell Trees - New York Times

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4 to 12
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This New York Times article highlights a class of sixth graders in North Carolina that has gotten directly involved in questioning a proposal to sell timber in a national forest ...more
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This New York Times article highlights a class of sixth graders in North Carolina that has gotten directly involved in questioning a proposal to sell timber in a national forest near their homes. The letters class members wrote provoked an unusual response.

In the Classroom

Try using this story as a springboard to a discussion about government and citizen involvement. Is there an issue or project about which your students feel strongly? What can they do to affect the outcome?

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The First Amendment: What's Fair in a Free Country? - National Endowment for the Humanities

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3 to 6
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The cherished right of Freedom of Speech is carefully analyzed in this thoughtful unit plan that illustrates the delicate balance between rights and responsibilities in a free society....more
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The cherished right of Freedom of Speech is carefully analyzed in this thoughtful unit plan that illustrates the delicate balance between rights and responsibilities in a free society. A series of six lessons guides upper elementary students through an authentic scenario in which the expressive rights of individuals are in question, provides connections to constitutional interpretations, and analyzes related Supreme Court cases. Aligned to Standards.

tag(s): bill of rights (28), freedom of speech (11), speech (89)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of this free lesson plan about the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights! To help ELL students, share the vocabulary with them beforehand OR make and print out easy to understand definitions of words that these students may have trouble with. Be sure to save this site as a favorite to allow for easy retrieval later on.

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FBI Kids' Page

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2 to 5
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Take a virtual field trip through the FBI with this interactive site that provides an excellent overview of the organization and its many functions. Students can learn about fingerprinting,...more
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Take a virtual field trip through the FBI with this interactive site that provides an excellent overview of the organization and its many functions. Students can learn about fingerprinting, DNA analysis, polygraph tests, and much more. Each informational segment is followed by a printable review game. The links to Safety Tips, Working Dogs, and Games are also worth exploring.

tag(s): dna (64), forensics (26)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center or station during a lesson on the government and how they enforce the laws. Introduce the site over the interactive whiteboard before allowing cooperative learning groups to participate in the online field trip. To summarize the topic, or to give groups who finish first something to do, let students play the games available after the field trip. Though they may not be rich in content, they do provide a review and respite for students.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Kids and Teens Action without Borders - Action Without Borders

Grades
3 to 12
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This site presents thoughtful and inspiring ways for kids to take an active role in improving the community around them. Click on the "Take a Lead" link for practical ways ...more
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This site presents thoughtful and inspiring ways for kids to take an active role in improving the community around them. Click on the "Take a Lead" link for practical ways to turn your ideas into reality. Plenty of real-life examples are provided, but some creative brainstorming in your classroom is a must. Dozens of lesson plans, covering everything from environmental issues to economics and human rights are provided in the "For Teachers" section.

tag(s): civil rights (119)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site in a civics or government course in order to show students how important political awareness and activism can be - and how they can get involved. Dependent on your class, it may not be important to advocate that they join the cause - but more introduce it and let them know that they can. This might be better at the end of a civics course, culminating all the information they have learned thus far and showing a practical application of it.

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Kids in the House - Office of the Clerk, U.S. Capitol

Grades
4 to 8
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This site introduces students to the role of the Clerk of the House of Representatives, and then takes them on an entertaining journey that culminates in an understanding of America's...more
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This site introduces students to the role of the Clerk of the House of Representatives, and then takes them on an entertaining journey that culminates in an understanding of America's legislative system. The structure of Congress and the process by which a bill becomes a law are presented, along with a collection of fun facts, activities and puzzles. Click on "Time Traveler" to discover important people, events, and works of art that have played a role in the history of the House. Students can even take virtual tours of Capitol Hill, the House Chamber, and Statuary Hall. This site requires FLASH player for the site to work.

tag(s): congress (32), house of representatives (10)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and activities hosted on this site. The plans are all separated by grade level, and range from elementary school to high school. All utilize the site and are great for a government or civics class.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Zoom Out the Vote! - WGBH

Grades
2 to 5
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The democratic process and importance of voting are highlighted in this fun and informative site that involves students in a "kids only" election. The site also includes tips for ...more
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The democratic process and importance of voting are highlighted in this fun and informative site that involves students in a "kids only" election. The site also includes tips for getting adults to register to vote and a crash course on the American election process.

tag(s): elections (73)

In the Classroom

During a lesson on the democratic process, have students "vote" on the site to practice the theories learned in class! Teachers can also use the election 101 as a learning center or station to help students review the information. Because it summarizes the information so well, this might be a good site to include on a teacher wiki or webpage, allowing students to review the content both in and out of the classroom.

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Kids' Corner - US Census Bureau

Grades
3 to 6
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This practical research tool provides useful, kid-friendly information about each of the fifty states. Students can learn about the census, discover state-related facts, and test their...more
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This practical research tool provides useful, kid-friendly information about each of the fifty states. Students can learn about the census, discover state-related facts, and test their knowledge with some challenging quiz questions. An interactive map serves as an easy navigational tool to reveal state-by-state information including total population, urban and rural residences, school enrollment, and languages spoken.

tag(s): states (165)

In the Classroom

Use this site during state research. Compare various states and have cooperative learning groups create two circle Venn Diagrams comparing two specific states using a site such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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h.i.p. Pocket Change - US Mint

Grades
1 to 6
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This outstanding, incredibly creative site is truly a "treasure" for elementary classroom teachers! Information about coins, the U.S. Mint, and American history are presented in a...more
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This outstanding, incredibly creative site is truly a "treasure" for elementary classroom teachers! Information about coins, the U.S. Mint, and American history are presented in a fun and interactive format with many choices for visitors! For teachers, there are extensive resources including lesson and unit plans, an on-line community for idea-sharing, and a large selection of project ideas for the classroom. Students can follow links to games and interactive cartoons, step into a time machine (coin operated, of course) to learn about significant coin-related events in our nation's history, and join Camp Coin - an online camp where kids can learn about coin collecting. The site also includes information on National Coin Week (did you know there was one?), the new nickel, and the coin of the month.

tag(s): coins (7), money (185)

In the Classroom

Save this site as a favorite on classroom computers and use it as a learning center or station! There are word games, time machines, and art projects that can all be done on this site. Some of the games can also be printed out if that technique works better in your classroom. This is an excellent site to accompany any unit on currency or the Treasury Department in the United States.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Constitution for Kids - Constitution Center

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4 to 12
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Philadelphia's new Constitution Center offers a full collection of online information and activities for students. Both format and quality vary, but the Flash activity about the Bill...more
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Philadelphia's new Constitution Center offers a full collection of online information and activities for students. Both format and quality vary, but the Flash activity about the Bill of Rights is a good start. Click elsewhere to learn lots more about the Constitution, how it was created, and what it means today. Requires FLASH.

tag(s): bill of rights (28), constitution (88)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center or station during a unit on the constitution and the creation of the bill of rights. This would be a great tool to use for a review session, and could break up the monotony of a study guide. Very useful for a US history course.
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The Color of Money - U.S. Bureau of Engraving

Grades
3 to 8
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This U.S. Bureau of Engraving site is dedicated to exploring the recent changes to the U.S. $20 note. The site provides an interactive look at the new bill and the ...more
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This U.S. Bureau of Engraving site is dedicated to exploring the recent changes to the U.S. $20 note. The site provides an interactive look at the new bill and the changes made to prevent counterfeiting. There is also an interactive learning center with flash sites where students can explore the new bill, design their own currency, and play a currency trivia game.

tag(s): currency (19), money (185)

In the Classroom

Use the interactive video quiz as an activator or introductory activity during a unit or lesson on US currency. The information on the $100 bill is interesting, relevant, and does a great job at hooking students into the content. This would be useful for an economics or government classroom.

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Folding the Flag

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1 to 5
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This site offers instructions for proper flag folding, along with a discussion of the symbolism contained in the flag folding ceremony. ...more
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This site offers instructions for proper flag folding, along with a discussion of the symbolism contained in the flag folding ceremony.

tag(s): flags (22)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a refresher course before a Labor day lesson or celebration, helping students understand the significance of the flag and the procedures that care for it. Teachers could even have students practice the flag-folding procedures with small classroom sized flags!

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Social Studies Activities from Scott Foresman - Scott Foresman

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1 to 6
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This publisher's site offers a neat little collection of activities for K-6 students to accompany their text materials. Most of these are simple drag-and-drop Flash animations; some...more
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This publisher's site offers a neat little collection of activities for K-6 students to accompany their text materials. Most of these are simple drag-and-drop Flash animations; some lead to additional activities. Teachers using the publisher's texts may find these sites particularly useful.

In the Classroom

Use these collections for review activities before assessments in your US or World history course. Each collection is separated and divided by time period or events, (Age of Exploration for example) and could easily be divided to better suit the curriculum you've studied. Have students complete the activities as learning centers or stations, individually or as cooperative learning groups.
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Life in the White House - US Government

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4 to 12
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Created by the White House, this "inside look" offers lots of current photos, images and interviews. There are also a number of historical tidbits scattered through the site - just...more
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Created by the White House, this "inside look" offers lots of current photos, images and interviews. There are also a number of historical tidbits scattered through the site - just enough to show how the nation's first home has changed over the years. Add this one to your list of "What's it really like???" sites.

tag(s): white house (15)

In the Classroom

Have cooperative learning groups explore this site during a lesson on the White House and its' history. Have students create a multimedia presentation using UtellStory, reviewed here. This site allows users to narrate a picture. Challenge students to find a photo (legally permitted to be reproduced), and then narrate the photo as if it is a news report - summarizing the history of the White House. To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try PhotoPin, reviewed here. This would be a great review activity before an end of the year assessment, or a quiz on the topic.
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National Constitution Center

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K to 12
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This center for the study of the U.S. Constitution provides a nice introduction to the Constitution and the principles of governance on which it is based. Resources include an interactive...more
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This center for the study of the U.S. Constitution provides a nice introduction to the Constitution and the principles of governance on which it is based. Resources include an interactive Constitution, podcasts, and educational resources including lesson plans and games.

tag(s): bill of rights (28), civil rights (119), constitution (88)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the many games and lesson plans featured on this site. Include with your Constitution Day activities.
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American History Timeline Links - Smithsonian

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4 to 12
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The Smithsonian's timeline links are a sort of chronological trip through the Smithsonian's attic. Each presents an exhibit, artifact, or other piece of history from a particular period....more
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The Smithsonian's timeline links are a sort of chronological trip through the Smithsonian's attic. Each presents an exhibit, artifact, or other piece of history from a particular period. Part of the attractiveness of this site is the eclectic nature of the results that you get from the various links. If you're interested in teaching history from different angles, there are lots of resources here.

In the Classroom

For virtually every topic in history, there is a corresponding site and activity here! Every topic has a variety of resources, from webquests to free lesson plans. Look at the time-line for your corresponding unit, and take advantage of the free resources the Smithsonian has put together! An excellent resource for any Social Studies teacher.

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Presidents' Day Page - Sheila A. Simmons

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1 to 5
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Here's a very simple pictorial introduction to the lives of Washington and Lincoln, created for California's SCORE program. Primary students will have no trouble navigating these pages...more
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Here's a very simple pictorial introduction to the lives of Washington and Lincoln, created for California's SCORE program. Primary students will have no trouble navigating these pages and reading the simple descriptions. This site offers a slideshow with some authentic pictures of both famous presidents. Includes links to literature, class activities, bibliography, and related information. The class activities are ready to go and easy to follow. Most include standards, and all but two of the outside links were working at the time of this review.

tag(s): lincoln (84), presidents (123), washington (29)

In the Classroom

This site is ideal for research projects or a quick President's day activity. Check out the class activities section for some "ready to go" lesson ideas (with standards). Share the slideshow on your interactive whiteboard or projector.

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