Social Studies can have a bad reputation for being boring. I must admit it wasn’t my favorite subject to teach. I had very limited resources, and I simply wasn’t given much time in my daily schedule. Here I was, guilty of using Brainpop videos to drive my instruction. I knew I needed to find other ways to bring the lessons to life. That’s when I decided to look for interactive social studies websites to create fun and engaging lessons. Today I want to share with you my top 10 websites that you can use in your classroom. Come check them out!
NewsELA is a free database that provides high-interest news articles. Your students can read the texts at multiple levels and in English or Spanish. The reading levels can also be adjusted so that your students have a more enjoyable experience.
When students are reading right at their level, they are more likely to be engaged. Another reason NewsELA is one of my favorite websites is that students can take brief comprehension quizzes to demonstrate understanding.
iCivics is a fantastic way to integrate game-based learning into your social studies curriculum. There are many games and topics to choose from, including government, landmarks, or anything else civics!
What’s really neat is that the more games your kiddos play, the more they learn and the more points they earn! Students can spend their earned points on community service projects they are passionate about. This website is recommended for grades K and up.
3. Library of Congress
This website contains a wealth of knowledge on any social studies topic imaginable! I would recommend using the primary source sets that will be easier for your elementary kiddos to navigate. Even printing out the resources for your students can be very helpful.
For teachers, there is an extensive blog and a teacher’s network that you can join for more support using their website. Another reason I love this website is that it promotes Common Core reading skills and critical thinking skills.
4. Google Earth
Google Earth is packed solid with tons of information! It is the perfect website to use when learning about historical places and monuments. Google Earth is so much more than just a map. There are short tutorial videos that you don’t want to miss. It may take a little time for your students to be able to use this website independently. However, once they get the hang of it, the possibilities are endless!
If you’re struggling to use Google Earth, you can quickly also use Google Maps. Just plug in the place you are learning about and switch to people view. This will allow you to jump into bubbles of 360 degree pictures of the area you are learning about.
Want a lesson done for you that takes your students on a tour of six major National Monuments? Check out this best-selling resource!
This website is designed with teachers in mind! This website has an extensive collection of lessons, instructional strategies, and technology tools. It will make planning your lessons so much easier! There are many ways to encourage critical thinking among your students.
I also love how this website can teach your students to read like a historian or make sense of maps. These are two skills I might struggle with teaching on my own.
6. The British Museum
The British Museum has a virtual experience that allows you and your students to learn about various historical artifacts. The main page is organized by continents and time periods. You can also find specific artifacts based on certain categories, such as art and design or trade and conflict. Teachers can browse lessons and activities by subject, culture, or age group.
There are tons of printables, lesson plans, writing assignments, and more!
7. Social Studies for Kids
This website is great because it contains resources for current world events, book reviews, geography, maps, archeology, and more! This website is very teacher and student-friendly.
8. National Geographic Education
National Geographic Education is a website where education meets exploration. The website provides amazing classroom resources related to topics on geography, social studies, and science. The website also keeps teachers in mind by providing professional development for Pre-K to 12th-grade educators.
9. Smithsonian’s Learning Lab
This interactive lab is free and puts the world’s largest museum at your students’ fingertips! There are millions of digital resources, and you can create collections and share them with others. The website is very student-friendly and easy to navigate. It also makes for a great virtual field trip!
10. Time for Kids
I have used Time for Kids throughout my teaching career. It is still a website I continue to utilize even today! I love the site because it provides real age-appropriate information for your kiddos. The content is very engaging and can be tied to your student’s reading level. I love that the website inspires learners to develop and lifelong interest in world events!
Bringing Social Studies to Your Reading Block
When you’re low on time but still have Social Studies content to teach… it can be tricky to feel like you can fit it all in. That’s why I love bringing Social Studies into my reading block. I’ve taken all the guesswork out of aligning social studies content with reading standards with Reading Comprehension Mini-Lessons: Social Studies.
This bundle of resources includes activities for teaching six of my favorite Social Studies concepts, including:
- Maps and Globes
- Native Americans
- Goods and Services
- America’s Government
Free Social Studies Websites for Elementary Teachers
Okay, so I think it’s safe to say you can say goodbye to boring social studies lessons. Or, if you were like me and simply did not have enough time in your schedule, you can now use some or all of these websites to make your planning a breeze. I know these websites will help you create interactive, fun, and engaging social studies lessons. Please comment below and tell me which websites you plan to use? Or will you use them all?
- 10 Free Tools for Teaching Social Studies
- Easy Social Studies Resources and Activities for Your Classroom
- 5 Ways to Teach Social Studies When You Don’t Have Time
- 5 Ways to Celebrate Native Americans in your 2nd Grade Classroom
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