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Core Documents of U.S. Democracy - Government Printing Office

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7 to 12
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Access current and historical U.S. government documents with the click of a mouse. This electronic collection includes the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Gettysburg Address, Emancipation...more
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Access current and historical U.S. government documents with the click of a mouse. This electronic collection includes the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Gettysburg Address, Emancipation Proclamation, as well as Supreme Court decisions, the Budget of the United States Government, and so much more. Selected and authenticated by the Government Printing Office's GPO Access service.

tag(s): american revolution (85)

In the Classroom

Use this as a resource for research projects or papers, particularly those debating a specific court decision or amendment. Useful resource for a US government class!

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U.S. Capitol Virtual Tour - U.S. Senate

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6 to 12
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If taking your students to Washington, D.C., just isn't a possibility, this site is the next best thing to being there. The interactive and user friendly multi-media tour provides panoramic...more
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If taking your students to Washington, D.C., just isn't a possibility, this site is the next best thing to being there. The interactive and user friendly multi-media tour provides panoramic views, fascinating historical information, and interesting details about many of the objects encountered along the way. This is an extensive tour, so a teacher-created map with explicit directions is strongly suggested before students embark on the virtual field trip. This one works best with a high speed connection.

tag(s): house of representatives (9), senate (9)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center or station during a unit on the branches and houses of government. Students will be able to connect the visual images with the content, and also gain more insight from the text. To highlight whats more important from the site, have students complete a follow-along guide of questions. For help creating one, we recommend using Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here).

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Presidency in Action - American Presidents - University of Virginia

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6 to 12
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This is a thematic look at the conduct and evolution of the American presidency since the founding of the republic. It examines the executive structures that manage domestic, economic,...more
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This is a thematic look at the conduct and evolution of the American presidency since the founding of the republic. It examines the executive structures that manage domestic, economic, foreign, and legislative activities in more than enough detail for secondary students. Even a quick tour will demonstrate the current complexity of the executive branch.

In the Classroom

This site has a variety of uses within a US government or history classroom. To begin with, teachers can use this site as a resource for research projects; a source for speeches and writings, as well as a learning center during a unit on a particular president or time period. A very useful and flexible source that can easily be worked into your curriculum!

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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 (27), constitution (85)

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.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Lesson Plans from the State Department - U.S. State Department

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6 to 12
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The U.S. State Department offers a surprisingly rich collection of lesson plans and related information about American history and foreign policy, past and present. The units on Vietnam...more
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The U.S. State Department offers a surprisingly rich collection of lesson plans and related information about American history and foreign policy, past and present. The units on Vietnam and the Cuban missile crisis look particularly interesting.

tag(s): cultures (106), foreign policy (16)

In the Classroom

There's a wealth of information here; teachers will need to examine it closely to see how it might fit into secondary government or history curricula.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Rulers

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6 to 12
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Deceptively simple and not at all pretty, this site offers a wealth of information on the historical governance of scores of countries. (Where else could you find a chronological list...more
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Deceptively simple and not at all pretty, this site offers a wealth of information on the historical governance of scores of countries. (Where else could you find a chronological list of the prime ministers of Spain?) It doesn't offer complete histories, but secondary students studying the history of other countries may find its synopsis-by-ruler an interesting starting point.

tag(s): countries (81), presidents (123)

In the Classroom

Save this site as a favorite on your class wiki or webpage and refer students to it for reference. It's best use would be to help students compile the executive history of a country and search that way, rather than searching for information on a specific ruler. This would be a great starting point for a student studying monarchy in a particular country such as Britain or Saudi Arabia.

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Project Vote Smart

Grades
6 to 12
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One of the more complete election sites, Vote Smart offers a wide array of campaign information at federal, state, and local levels. There are also backgrounders on the election process,...more
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One of the more complete election sites, Vote Smart offers a wide array of campaign information at federal, state, and local levels. There are also backgrounders on the election process, the Electoral College, and election laws and voting.

tag(s): college (49), elections (74), electoral college (15)

In the Classroom

Use this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge as you start your study of representative democracy. Select a few choice politicians from your state through the "Issue Positions" section. This activity would work even better if politicians selected were representative of your local area or hometown. Seperate students into groups and have them research the politicians based on certain issues. We recommend using issues such as crime, guns, and immigration. Have students compare and contrast the politicians stance to voting records in their area, or teachers can have students vote on the issues just in their classroom to determine their own "public opinions." Have the groups compare the public opinion to the voting record of the politician via venn diagram. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram, reviewed here. Have students use their results in a class discussion of the pros and cons of a representative government. Where are potential problems? What are the benefits? This would be extremely useful in a AP Government or Civics course.

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The Color of Money - U.S. Bureau of Engraving

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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 (182)

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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Supreme Court Historical Society

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6 to 12
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This site offers one-stop shopping for a history of the Supreme Court and the ways in which it operates. There are additional links from this site to more complete anthologies ...more
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This site offers one-stop shopping for a history of the Supreme Court and the ways in which it operates. There are additional links from this site to more complete anthologies of court decisions and their interpretation. Middle schoolers could use elements of this one for basic research about the separation of powers and branches of government; high school students should find many uses for the additional materials.

tag(s): constitution (85), supreme court (24)

In the Classroom

This would be a great resource in a civics or government class. Open the site on the interactive whiteboard and tour students through the make-up of the court today. Each Judge has his own separate biography that can also be explored to demonstrate the political alliances of the court. Assign cooperative learning groups different judges to research, with the intent of presenting the material to the class. Try something new, like a podcast! Use a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Chinese Exclusion Act - Separate Lives; Broken Dreams

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6 to 12
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From the 1880s to the 1940s, the Chinese Exclusion act prevented immigrants of Chinese descent from gaining full citizenship. The site includes background information on how the act...more
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From the 1880s to the 1940s, the Chinese Exclusion act prevented immigrants of Chinese descent from gaining full citizenship. The site includes background information on how the act came to be, as well as a discussion of its repercussions.

tag(s): chinese (50), immigration (59), migration (58)

In the Classroom

Consider using this one as part of a study of immigration in the late 19th century.

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AMU Cartoon Reprints

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6 to 12
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This site is a searchable archive of cartoons (both comics and editorials) available ONLY FOR USE IN THE CLASSROOM. It's a wonderful source of discussion starters and topical humor,...more
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This site is a searchable archive of cartoons (both comics and editorials) available ONLY FOR USE IN THE CLASSROOM. It's a wonderful source of discussion starters and topical humor, but please read the copyright information carefully. Government and social studies teachers will find the editorial collections particularly interesting.

tag(s): air (144), comics and cartoons (65)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a means to search for political cartoons or cartoons that reflect upon current political events. Showing the image on the interactive whiteboard, use them as a springboard to have a class discussion on where we get information and biases from in the media. What is it that these artists are trying to say? Is humor more effective in getting a point across than text? A very interesting resource for a US government class.

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Military Fact Files from BBC - BBC

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6 to 12
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Prepared as background material to the increasing tensions in Iraq and the rest of the mideast, this page offers summaries of military capabilities of the various nations that have...more
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Prepared as background material to the increasing tensions in Iraq and the rest of the mideast, this page offers summaries of military capabilities of the various nations that have troops in the area. These pages offer reams of information on capabilities, training, missions, etc.

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Mideast Maps from BBC - BBC

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6 to 12
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Prepared as background material to the increasing tensions in Iraq and the rest of the mideast, this BBC map collection offers surprisingly detailed information on force strengths in...more
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Prepared as background material to the increasing tensions in Iraq and the rest of the mideast, this BBC map collection offers surprisingly detailed information on force strengths in various mideastern nations. The page includes links to similarly detailed information on other aspects of this looming conflict.

In the Classroom

Use these maps on the interactive whiteboard or projector as a supplement to text for a discussion or lecture on the war in the Middle East. Because of the focus on the Iraq War, these maps do a great job of emphasizing the impact of the military in these regions. These would be a great addition to a World History or Cultural Geography class.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Japanese American Internment Curriculum - National Japanese American Historical Society

Grades
6 to 12
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Developed by the National Japanese American Historical Society, this page is a well-organized meta-list of lessons relating to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War...more
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Developed by the National Japanese American Historical Society, this page is a well-organized meta-list of lessons relating to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. The lessons include material for all grade levels, and they address the historical, literary, and constitutional aspects of these Americans' experiences. Today's students can learn much from this experience.

tag(s): constitution (85), japan (60), japanese (45), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and activities offered on this site! Save this site as a favorite for easy use and retrieval for future unit planning. Social studies teachers will love this one!

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WorldoMeters - Osearth

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6 to 12
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World cultures or government classes will find the multidimensional counters on this site a wonderful way to illustrate the growth (or depletion) population, resources, and other global...more
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World cultures or government classes will find the multidimensional counters on this site a wonderful way to illustrate the growth (or depletion) population, resources, and other global activity. It's a very tangible illustration of the rate at which things are changing in our world. Teachers can be creative with this one.

tag(s): ecology (138), population (64), resources (110)

In the Classroom

This is a really great way to demonstrate a lot of the concepts taught in a Cultural Geography or US government class. Assign cooperative learning groups to investigate a portion of this site, based on what's being taught at the time. A good example would be having environmental sustainability group looking at water and land resources, as well as the growing population. Have cooperative learning groups create podcasts demonstrating their understanding of one of the concepts. Use a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here

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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 (14)

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.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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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 (27), civil rights (119), constitution (85)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the many games and lesson plans featured on this site. Include with your Constitution Day activities.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Civil War Classroom Activities - PBS

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6 to 12
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Based on the Ken Burns PBS production that aired in 1990, this collection of lesson plans is complete, thought-provoking, and covers a wide range of topics whose relevance extends well...more
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Based on the Ken Burns PBS production that aired in 1990, this collection of lesson plans is complete, thought-provoking, and covers a wide range of topics whose relevance extends well beyond the war itself. Designed for use in grades 7-12, these one- and two-period lessons are well-annotated, include lots of web links, and come complete with downloadable PDF files. Students will find these an interesting set of source ideas for reports and the like, and teachers will be able to take this content in many different directions. Well worth a look!

tag(s): civil war (143), lincoln (83), slavery (67)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and classroom activities offered in this site! The majority are somehow tied into the video, but there are some that also are broad enough that showing the video is not necessary.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Star Spangled Banner - Smithsonian

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6 to 12
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Learn about the flag that inspired the National Anthem at this Smithsonian site. The site includes a quiz, a teacher section, and descriptive information about the flag, the War of...more
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Learn about the flag that inspired the National Anthem at this Smithsonian site. The site includes a quiz, a teacher section, and descriptive information about the flag, the War of 1812, and the battle at Fort McHenry that inspired Francis Scott Key's poem.

tag(s): national anthem (4), war of 1812 (15)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an introductory activity for a lesson on the Flag's creating during a unit on the American Revolutionary War. Introduce the site on the interactive whiteboard before allowing students to explore it in cooperative learning groups on classroom computers. Have the students search the site with, answering specific questions on a follow-along (created by you) that encourages them to explore the site in depth. For help with making that follow-along, we recommend using Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here). Afterward, have a class discussion or some sort of reflection piece to allow students to vocalize questions and opinions about the information presented.

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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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