Civics Resource Review


Civics Resource Review

Below are some of our favorite online resources for teaching Civics.  Check them out and make sure to post a blog entry responding to the following questions:

  1. What resource(s) did you find particularly engaging?  Why?
  2. What resource(s) would you use with students?  How?
  3. Are there any gaps in the resources available for this discipline?  In other words, are the resources available incomplete or do you see a need for any new resources to be developed?
  4. Please share any additional discipline-specific resources you have found or have used not listed on this site.

In addition to answering the above questions, you should also respond to other students’ posts.  You could either incorporate responses to other students’ posts in your own resource review or post separate responses, questions, etc. to other students’ posts.  Initial posts must be made by the Tuesday night prior to the class meeting.  You are responsible for checking the blog and responding to any additional questions or comments prior to the class meeting on Thursday.


Bill of Rights Institute
The Bill of Rights Institute is a non-profit organization that develops instructional materials and educational documents on America’s founding documents and principles.  The resources are developed with high school educators in mind!  Check out:

C-Span in the Classroom
C-Span Classroom is a free, membership service for social studies teachers.  Their mission is to enhance social studies teaching using their primary source programming and websites.  The site includes video clips, lesson plans and handouts, and they offer free resources like posters to their members.  Be sure to browse some of the other good sites and resources under the heading “C-Span Websites.”

  • Use the search feature in the upper right hand corner of the page and search for a topic you could use in the classroom (for example, “First Amendment”). Browse through the clips and find one that would be good to use with students.

Our Documents
This site includes is based on 100 documents that “reflect our diversity and our unity, our past and our future, and mostly our commitment as a nation to continue to strive to ‘form a more perfect union’.”  The site also includes resources to get students, teachers, and the general public to consider the significance of our documents.

 Center for Civic Education
The Center for Civic Education specializes in civic/citizenship education, law-related education, and international educational exchange programs for developing democracies.  Its programs are some of the best for engaging students in civic action:

iCivics is a program developed by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.  The purpose of the program is to teach students civics and encourage them to be active participants in our democracy. 

  • For Teachers Check out the lesson plans and interactive games on the Constitution, the Courts, and the Foundations

Landmark Supreme Court Cases
This site is sponsored by StreetLaw and the Supreme Court Historical Society.  It features lessons and resources for 17 of the most significant Supreme Court decisions.  It not only includes lesson ideas and activities, but also tiered readings for various student ability levels!  Make sure to look at:

 Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the largest archive out there.  What better place to find a wealth of primary sources to help students understand our nation’s government and founders?  A little difficult to navigate, the educators there have set up a site for teachers that make the archives and resources easier to find.  Make sure to check out the following:

  • Themed Resources In particular, peruse the Civics & Government and Elections themes.  Within each, look at:
    • Primary Source Sets
    • Lesson Plans
    • Exhibitions and Presentations
    • Collection Connections

 National Archives
Like the Library of Congress, the National Archives offers great resources for teachers and students, including primary source documents and activities for Constitution Day.

  • Lesson Plans Be sure to check out the Constitution Day lessons under “Revolution and the New Nation, 1754-1820s”.
  • Presidential Libraries Resources Scroll to the bottom of this page to check out the Archives’ featured resources using the Presidential Libraries.

National Public Radio
You can’t (shouldn’t) teach government and civics without including current events.  Go to the “Politics” and/or “News” sections on NPR’s website to follow the latest happenings in national and international politics.  Also consider the use of podcasts in the classroom!

Deliberating in a Democracy
Hosted by the Constitutional Rights Foundation and StreetLaw, Deliberating in a Democracy features lesson plans and resources to assist students and teachers in engaging in discussions of controversial issues.

Constitutional Rights Foundation
The mission of the Constitutional Rights Foundation is to help students develop their critical thinking skills, civic participation, and commitment to the rule of law.  It provides student programs, training for teachers, and curriculum resources.

  • Lessons
  • Programs While some of their programs are limited to Illinois (CRFC is based in Chicago), others are open to national and international educators and students.