Grades 3 - 5 Resources

13 Best Websites and Games for US History and Civics: CommonSense

Sometimes, the history that students learn about in textbooks is boiled down to key events and dates. These great websites and games let them explore tricky topics from different perspectives and walk a mile in the shoes of important decision makers. Use them to help your students look back in time -- or at current events -- in a whole new way.

A Kid’s Guide to Running for President from the Rendell Center

Did you ever wonder how the United States decided to have a president as its leader instead of a king or queen? Let’s go back to 1787, four years after the Revolutionary War had ended. The American colonies had won their independence from England and needed to form a new government. As they had done before, delegates from each of the states met in Philadelphia. This time they gathered to further develop a plan for their government. This plan became known as the Constitution.

Annenberg Classroom: Best Civics Sites for Teachers

An annotated list of websites for the social studies teacher who wants to review the most relevant resources for curriculum development or wants to direct students to authoritative sites for research.

Center for Civics

The Center for Civic Education has links to a wide variety of free lesson plans, as well as the Project Citizen and Civitas Programs, as well as its premier program: We The People: The Citizen and the Constitution, with texts and materials available at the elementary, middle school and high school levels. Most of the lessons are appropriate for grades 7-12, but some of the ideas listed under More Lesson Plans are suitable for grades K-6.

Constitutional Rights Foundation

The Constitutional Rights Foundation is a nonpartisan, nonprofit community-based organization that focuses on law and government and civic participation by young people. Its site pulls together resources for curriculum and professional development.

Discovering Justice

Discovering Justice’s mission is to prepare young people to value the justice system, realize the power of their own voices, and embrace civic responsibility by connecting classrooms and courtrooms.

Exploring Community Responsibility: The Web of My Community

In an interactive exercise students create an actual web of community resources that introduces concepts of citizenship and responsibilities of local government.

First Amendment Center

Lesson plans, podcasts, and an interactive glossary are provided on this website, which focuses on First Amendment issues in the Courts and Congress and the relevance of the five individual freedoms that make up the First Amendment.

Habits of Mind

The place to begin exploring how the Habits of Mind, skillful and mindful problem solving dispositions, are being practiced in schools throughout the world.

Integrating the Habits of Mind

Terry Heick, a Social Learning Facilitator at Institute for Habits of Mind, offers a brief explanation and concise description of the 16 Habits of Mind.

Kid Citizen

In Kid Citizen episodes, children interactively explore Congress and civic engagement through historical primary sources, and connect what they find with their daily lives.

Kids Discover Online

Access our award-winning library of visually stunning social studies articles on any internet-enabled device, at any time.

Kids Voting USA

Kids Voting USA is a nonpartisan, grassroots-driven voter education program committed to creating lifelong voting habits in children, increasing family communication about citizenship, and encouraging greater adult voter turnout.

Law for Kids

Options for every learner, at any age wherever in the world they may be. Download activities for youth to complete and learn about civics education.  Access available resources, information and organizations who help kids.

Law For Kids - Lesson on Goldilocks

Prepare your students for the amazing, educational Goldilocks video with this “what’s going to happen in the courtroom at the trial of Goldilocks” tutorial.

Library of Congress

Lesson plans on American history are supplemented with primary sources from the Library of Congress collection. Class starters include Today in History and American Memory Timeline. Interactive learning activities are available for younger children, and professional development programs for teachers are offered.

Moose on the Loose from NH Historical Society

“Moose on the Loose” is an upper elementary social studies curriculum for the State of New Hampshire. Created by the New Hampshire Historical Society, it explores the Granite State’s history, economics, geography, and civic life, introducing elementary students to the state’s rich cultural heritage. The site offers lots of material for kids in the upper elementary grades (Grades 3-6), much of which is adaptable even for students in older grades. "Moose on the Loose" provides many ways for kids to connect what they learn about the past to current, statewide issues. It also provides a foundation for lifelong learning about New Hampshire, America, and the democratic traditions that unite us all. So dive in and find out more about the state we all love!

National Archives

A series of lesson plans that use primary sources to teach about different periods of U.S. history and the Constitution. This site also provides links to state and regional primary sources andpresidential libraries, as well as professional development opportunities for teachers.

National Conference of State Legislators

NCSL is proud to offer a wide variety of resources for state legislators and staff, who are the face of state government for most of their constituents.

National Endowment for the Humanities

Lesson plans aimed at students K-12 cover topics ranging from presidential families to the judicial power of the Supreme Court to trial by jury as a right and as a political institution. Also covered are the Document-Based Questions in the Advanced Placement Exam for U.S. History.

New Hampshire Bar Association Law Related Education

A site focused on NH curriculum and resources about law, the legal system and the fundamental principles upon which our constitutional democracy is based. Activities are intended to foster partnerships between NH schools and attorneys who volunteer their time foreducational purposes. Most of the resources and programs are for middle and high school teachers, but several exercises are designed to introduce concepts of law and justice in the lower elementary grades. Fourth grade teachers who are teaching NH history might also find some helpful information.

New York Times Learning Network: Civics

A collection of current and past New York Times articles with comprehensive lessons plans is available at this website. Useful for adding Common Core "informational text" to the high school Social Studies curriculum.

NH Curriculum Frameworks: Social Studies

An outline the official NH Social Studies Standards with a list of resources and alink to information about professional development opportunities.

North Carolina Civic Education Consortium

A well organized, searchable database of lessons and activities classified by courses or grade level (K-5, 6-8, 9-12) and by clearly defined topics. Lessons include NC State Standards, but teachers can easily substitute NH State Civics Standards. The lessons (grades 5-12) includedetailed procedures that make them easy to implement. Many of the K - 5 activities correlate with Responsive Classroom and Habits of Mind curricula.

PBS Learning Media - Civics and Government

Resources located under Civics and Government focus on the relationships between governments and individuals, and international relations. Classrooms can explore videos to compare the Magna Carta and the United States Constitution, examine an interactive map to study United States diplomatic relationships across the globe, or create a document-based questions using a collection of resources that analyzes Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Topics such as the history of the Supreme Court, the role state and local governments play in the United States, and the path a bill takes to become law are also examined.

PBS Teachers

Subject areas including civic participation, the three branches of government, and current events are among the many covered on this site, which provides lesson plans, videos, audio recordings, interactive activities for younger students, online professional development courses for teachers, and an archive of webinars.

PBS Teachers Democracy Project

Developed to help teachers in Grades 3-6 engage their students in understanding the structure of local, state and federal governments and how the function of government affects our everyday lives. The site includes online activities and lesson plans.

Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement

The mission of The Rendell Center is to promote civic education and engagement. To do this, The Rendell Center offers opportunities for educators, students, and the broader community to develop the knowledge, practices, and dispositions of engaged citizenship. For educators, The Rendell Center creates curriculum content, pedagogical tools, and professional development experiences. For students, The Rendell Center develops literacy based programs and experiential learning exercises.

Responsive Classroom

A thorough exploration of the social curriculum that has developed practical strategies for helping children build  academic and social-emotional competencies. The Responsive Classroom approach teaches social skills that encourage academic engagement andpromote responsible citizenship.


Resources for every teacher to reach each and every child.

Star Light Star Bright: Considering Positive Possibilities

A simple lesson in which students discuss their group goals and then design a star to illustrate their goals for their classroom community. Focusing on the group encourages civility and respect.

Time for Kids

Since 1995, TIME for Kids has published a weekly magazine for elementary school students. With exclusive access to TIME’s award-winning content, TIME for Kids is uniquely positioned to teach kids to recognize and value authentic and trustworthy journalism.

US Government Printing Office

Ben’s Guide to U.S. Government for Kids features information on government, citizenship, elections, and voting. It also includes student-friendly links to most government agencies. Activities include print as well as interactive games.

What To Do When You Have a Bad Day

A concrete lesson in Civics and Language Arts uses the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst and travel brochures from around the world in order to learn how to cope with feelings of discouragement and frustration in a positive and respectful manner.

Youth Leadership Initiative

The University of Virginia's Center for Politics developed this web site, which includes more than 100 teacher-developed K-12 lesson plans. The site also features a Mock Election tailored to legislative districts throughout the US; an ECongress simulation; A More Perfect Union which simulates a Senatorial campaign; and Democracy Corp, a link to service learning plans and projects. Teachers need to sign up to get the full use of this extensive civics resource.

Our programs in action!

I am so pumped! I have so many ideas that I want to try. I love the idea of mock trials and making your classroom into a court
- Teacher
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