American Civics Resources

1 American Bar Association

Jan 28, 2016 - - 305

The American Bar Association provides a wealth of information. Their Division for Public Education provides information about the 2016 Law Day theme, “Miranda: More Than Words”. Also included is information about the 2016 Summer Teachers Institute – “Federal Trials and Great Debates in U. S. History”. The ABA is also sponsoring a series of programs in 13 cities around the country on the topic of “Civility and Free Expression in a Constitutional Democracy – a National Dialogue” to explore the balance between norms of civility and the laws of free expression within our society and system of government.

The site also includes links to lesson plans organized by grade level and topic, including lessons on topics such as antitrust law, environment and law, intellectual property and international issues.


2 Annenberg Classroom

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The Annenberg Classroom website provides “Resources for Excellent Civic Education”. The “Knowledge” section of the site includes videos, games and a play giving examples of information about the Constitution in action. The Annenberg Guide to the U. S. Constitution divides the document into its Articles and Sections followed by the document’s text and an explanation for each section.

The site also includes a number of lesson plans that highlight case studies of the Constitution in action. For example, there are two lessons related to Japanese internment during WWII: “The Importance of the Japanese Internment Cases” including a conversation with Supreme Court Justices and “When National Security Trumps Individual Rights”. Additionally the site includes a section of “Critical Thinking Lesson Plans” using a variety of topics to spark student interest. The “News” section highlights current events stories that relate to Constitutional issues.


3 Teaching American History | The leading resource for American History teachers & students

Jan 28, 2016 - - 375

The Ashbrook Center at Ashland University provides training to teachers of American history and government. Ashbrook’s website offers teachers, at no cost, an extensive and growing library of primary source documents (currently near 2,500 documents) related to American history and government. The website also contains special exhibits on the Constitutional Convention, Ratification Debates, and Bill of Rights, designed in conjunction with a leading scholar, to assist teachers in teaching these materials in a way that interests and engages their students. Teachers can also learn about and register for the free professional development opportunities Ashbrook offers.


4 Bill of Rights Institute

Jan 28, 2016 - - 464

The Bill of Rights Institute provides very useful information and materials for teachers and students. The site includes free lesson plans on a wide variety of topics related to the Bill of Rights. Also, the eLesson Newsletter, sent via email to teachers who register, includes historical content, connections to real life, classroom activities and discussion questions. Professional development opportunities for teachers such as Constitutional Seminars, Constitution Day and Founders Fellowship are explained.

In addition, the site includes information on student programs such as “Think the Vote”, “Constitution Connection” and “We the Students Essay Contest”.


5 Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools

Jan 28, 2016 - - 328

The Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools, a coalition of forty organizations, has as its goal the improvement of civics education in schools. One resource, Civic Learning Online, provides links to other organizations that feature lesson plans and practices for all grade levels. The site also provides access to research study results focused on civics education and civic engagement.


6 Center for Civic Education

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The Center for Civic Education, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational corporation dedicated to fostering the development of informed, responsible participation in civic life by citizens committed to the values and principles fundamental to American constitutional democracy. The Center specializes in civic/citizenship education, and international education exchange programs for developing democracies.


7 Civics Renewal Network

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The Civics Renewal Network allows teachers to search by topic and grade level for free teaching materials from their many partner organizations. Teachers can create a free account allowing them to bookmark materials to their account for future account.


8 Civic Engagement Research Group

Jan 28, 2016 - - 262

Civic Engagement Research Group conducts research focused on understanding the nature of youth civic engagement, the impact of civic learning opportunities and digital media participation. The site includes a series of videos highlighting youth engagement, information on CERG’s publications, and a series of Connected Learning webinars exploring ways to support youth engagement in public life. Also included is a press release of a very interesting Education Week article titled “Why Are We Teaching Democracy Like A Game Show?” that questions the wisdom of requiring all students to pass the U.S. Citizenship Test as a graduation requirement.


9 Library of Congress

Feb 03, 2016 - - 258

The Library of Congress provides a wide variety of materials for teachers related to civics and government (click on themes then civics). There are lesson plans that have been created by teachers. In addition, a vast collection of civics related primary source materials can serve as the basis for the creation of exciting inquiry lessons for classroom use. The site also offers multimedia resources to improve teachers’ content understanding and to serve as materials to use with students.


10 Judicial Learning Center

The Judicial Learning Center was created to promote public understanding of the function and value of the judicial branch of government, especially at the federal level. It is both a physical space (located at the Thomas F. Eagleton U. S. Courthouse in St. Louis) and a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to promoting the rule of law in American society. The site includes a number of court and law related lesson plans for students in grades 6-12 such as How to Create a Law (including articles about recent laws in the U. S.), Separation of Powers, The Federalist Papers and The Federal Judiciary, State and Federal Courts, What’s Wrong with This Court and Trial By Jury.

11 iCivics

iCivics is an organization founded by former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. The website was created to help and support civic educators to engage students in the study of the Constitution and government. The site includes units organized by topic that include lesson plans, materials, background information tied to each state’s standards and grade levels. It also includes games and web quests to teach a variety of topics about the government. There is a wealth of information and material here for civics teachers to use with students. The information is free to educators who register – teachers are given a user name and password.