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Best Civics Websites

Information about three types of recommended websites are provided here. Sister websites are those connected to Annenberg Classroom. Best Civics Websites are organizations that have excellent content for civics education. Most of the resources are free.

Sister Sites and the Civics Renewal Network are projects of the Annenberg Public Policy Center.

Civics Renewal Network

Teachers can find an array of free, standards-aligned online classroom resources at this one-stop website for teaching civics education and history. The resources cover all grade levels and are searchable by subject, resource type, teaching strategy, standards and organization. The material features the best of the nonprofit, nonpartisan organizations in the Civics Renewal Network.

Level: Kindergarten through high school is a “nonpartisan, nonprofit ‘consumer advocate’ for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics.” Its staff monitors factual accuracy in American politics, looking at what’s being said in TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and the like.

The website has three main outlets for its work: Articles, the FactCheck Wire (for shorter items or ones of less national interest) and Ask FactCheck (in which the group’s staff members answer questions sent in by readers, often about chain e-mails on political subjects). The group debunks myths, falsehoods and exaggerations by politicians and outside groups involved in election campaigns and public policy debates. Examples of’s work include stories about misinformation spread during public policy debates such as the one on overhauling the health care system, and inaccurate claims made during election campaigns. The group’s work is often cited by other media organizations. is funded by, and is a project of, the Annenberg Public Policy Center, which was established by the Annenberg Foundation with a $20 million endowment in 1993. The Annenberg Foundation also made additional grants to support’s work. The APPC accepts no funding from business corporations, labor unions, political parties, lobbying organizations or individuals. In 2010, began accepting donations from individual members of the public. Its does not accept any funds from corporations, unions, partisan organizations or advocacy groups.

Political Leanings: None

Annenberg Public Policy Center

The Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania has been the premier communication policy center in the country since its founding in 1993. APPC’s work has informed the policy debates around campaign finance, children’s television, Internet privacy, tobacco advertising, adolescent health, movie violence, and the tone of discourse in Washington.

This website is designed to give scholars, the media and the general public expanded access to the work that began in 1993.

Best Civics Sites

Annenberg Classroom recommends these nonprofit, nonpartisan organizations that provide free civics education curriculum as excellent resources for teachers.

ABOTA Foundation

The ABOTA Foundation provides free civics and law-related education resources and programs to teachers and students. The mission of the ABOTA Foundation is to support the purposes of the American Board of Trial Advocates to preserve the constitutional vision of equal justice for all Americans and preserve our civil justice system for future generations. Lesson plan topics include media literacy; civic participation in the justice system; the Constitution; federal and state courts; judicial independence; Magna Carta; trial by jury; and separation of powers. ABOTA also offers the James Otis Lecture Series on the Constitution and Teachers Law School, a crash course in the law and legal system for middle and high school educators.

Level: Middle and high school

American Bar Association

For teachers and students, the American Bar Association’s Division of Public Education offers lessons plans for K-12. Topics include civic engagement, the Constitution, due process, human rights, and much more. The Dialogue program provides lawyers, judges and teachers with resources to engage students and community members in discussions of fundamental American legal principles and civic traditions. Its Civics and Law Academy engages middle and high school students in learning about law and society.

Level: Elementary through high school

Annenberg Learner

Annenberg Learner develops and distributes multimedia resources for teaching and learning in a range of subjects, including civics and government. Video components are enhanced with websites that include online texts, guides and extensive background information. For teachers, the website offers free professional development workshops and courses as well as the opportunity to earn graduate education credit.

Level: Kindergarten through high school

Bill of Rights Institute

The Bill of Rights Institute provides a trove of online educational resources for teachers, students and parents. Teachers will find lesson plans, founding documents, resources for teaching with current events, and professional development opportunities. For students, resources include essay contests, AP prep webinars, and Think the Vote, in which students participate in online discussions on current events. The Constitutional Academy is a summer program for high school students.

Level: Elementary through high school

C-SPAN Classroom

The cable channel’s site features a wealth of audio and video clips, both current and historical, related to government, history, and current events. Teacher registration is required to access free forums, lesson plans, Bell Ringers, and Constitution Clips. Links to other C-SPAN resources for educators include: American History TV, American Presidents, Politics, Economic Stimulus, Presidential Libraries, Radio Specials, the Capitol, the Supreme Court, the White House and U.S. Economy. Each of these sites features extensive resources on the topic. Tutorials explain how teachers can use C-SPAN resources. The site also contains TV and radio programs that feature, among other resources, recordings of past presidents and oral history interviews with presidents; Supreme Court oral arguments in landmark cases and videos of justices; and interactive Supreme Court timeline.

Level: Middle and high school

Center for Civic Education

The Center for Civic Education is an independent, nonprofit organization based in California. A network of program coordinators throughout the United States and more than 70 other countries administers a range of curricular, teacher-training and community-based programs.

Level: Elementary, middle and high school

Highlights include:

We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution: An instructional program on the history and principles of American constitutional democracy for all grade levels. The program is based on curricular materials developed by the Center for Civic Education. A simulated congressional hearing is the culminating activity.

We the People: Project Citizen: This program for middle, secondary, and post-secondary students, youth organizations, and adult groups is designed to develop interest in public policy as well as the ability to participate in state and local government.

Resource Center: For high school students: links to biographies, historical documents, images and firsthand accounts of historical events. For teachers: free professional development opportunities, free lesson plans, classroom activities.

Podcasts: Users can subscribe to four different podcasts, 60-Second Civics and quiz, Talking Civics, Conversations on Civics and Education for Democracy. Also a series of podcasts supplement text of We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution.

Civics Renewal Network

Teachers can find an array of free, standards-aligned online classroom resources at this one-stop website for teaching civics education and history. The resources cover all grade levels and are searchable by subject, resource type, teaching strategy, standards and organization. The material features the best of the nonprofit, nonpartisan organizations in the Civics Renewal Network.

Level: Kindergarten through high school


Developed by the Comparative Constitutions Project, the website contains the constitution of nearly every independent state in the world. It allows the user to search by country and by topic and to download PDFs of the constitutions. 

Level: Middle and high school

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. Its outreach programs include a mock trial competition and Cops & Kids program. Lesson plans are available on U.S. history, world history and government. Civics on Call provides resources for teaching about current events. Its Civic Action Project is a real-world project-based learning model for civics and government courses.

Level: Primarily middle and high school, but also material for younger students

Companion websites include:

Educating About Immigration:  An information clearinghouse on topics of U.S. immigration, its history and current controversies.

Civic Action Project: A practicum for high school students in civics and government in which they integrate the content of a government class with hands-on learning about public policy in the real world.

Judges, Courts and the Law: Activities, games and stories instruct students on the courts’ role in our government.

CFR Blog: This site features discussion and information for all social studies educators.

Constitutional Sources Project

This project, also known as ConSource, offers K-12 lesson plans and guides to constitutional themes; a three-and-a-half hour “crash course” that explores the Constitution; a U.S. Constitution for Kids; and a Constitutional Index. With the Harlan Institute, ConSource sponsors the Virtual Supreme Court Competition for high school students.
Level: Upper elementary, middle and high school

Core Knowledge Foundation

The Core Knowledge Foundation is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in Charlottesville, Virginia, and founded in 1986 by E. D. Hirsch, Jr., professor emeritus at the University of Virginia and author of many acclaimed books on education. The Core Knowledge curriculum covers language arts, science, music, visual arts, and geography and history. Material are free for download.

Level: Preschool through grades 6-8

Dirksen Congressional Center

Named for Everett Dirksen, who served in the U.S. House and Senate, the site promotes civics engagement by providing a better understanding of Congress and its members. Extensive information covers modern and historical information, the legislative process, the current Congress’ activities, and lawmakers’ duties. Congress for Kids helps elementary school students understand government, the Constitution and voting, and includes an online learning module Democracy Kids. The site provides an extensive number of lesson plans, an interactive Congressional Timeline; webquests; online textbooks; an online civics/government course called Congress in the Classroom; and interactive activities for younger students.

Level: Elementary through high school

Florida Joint Center for Citizenship at the Lou Frey Institute

The Florida Joint Center for Citizenship Institute is a partnership between the Lou Frey Institute of Politics and Government at the University of Central Florida and the Bob Graham Center for Public Service at the University of Florida. FJCC works in partnership with Florida teachers, social studies district coordinators and national partners to develop and distribute K-12 curriculum resources. Civics360 is a student learning tool for middle school civics that includes videos, readings in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole, as well as short and extended practice assessments that help students and teachers understand student progress. Resources are free and available for download.

Level: Kindergarten through 12th grade.

George Washington’s Mount Vernon

At the Mount Vernon website, teachers will find lesson plans for all grade levels; primary sources related to Washington and Mount Vernon; resources for teaching the Constitution; online student quizzes; and distance-learning videos. Among many resources, students will find a digital encyclopedia about Washington and can play a variety of quiz-based games to test knowledge learned on the site. Mount Vernon also offers professional development opportunities. The Fred W. Smith National Library provides research about George Washington, Colonial America and the Revolutionary Era.

Elementary through high school

Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is a nonprofit organization devoted to the improvement of history education. The Institute has developed an array of programs for schools, teachers, and students that now operate in all fifty states, including a website that features more than 60,000 unique historical documents. They also partner with the producers of Hamilton and the Miranda family to bring the history and the musical to Title I schools across the country.

Level: Middle and high school

Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Founded in 1824, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania is a provider of education and information about America’s history for the people of Philadelphia and beyond. Its collection of manuscripts, graphics, and ephemera encompass more than 350 years of U.S. history, from the stories of its 17th-century settlers to those of its most recent immigrants.

Students can find help with homework or research projects. Teachers can find unit plans with primary sources from HSP. Learn about Digital History Projects and other online tools as well as professional development opportunities.

Level: Middle and high school


An initiative of retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, this site features online lessons covering the three branches of government and interactive games that cover citizenship and participation, the Constitution and Bill of Rights, separation of powers, budgeting, and the executive, judicial and legislative branches. Online discussion forums allow teachers and students to give feedback on various topics. Teacher resources include curricula that complement the games, webquests, lessons and activities.

Level: Middle and high school

Indiana University Center on Representative Government

The Center on Representative Government covers all aspects of the legislative branch and civic involvement. Interactive learning activities are aimed at the general public as well as students.
Level: Middle and high school

Highlights include:

Interactive Learning Modules: These activities teach students about topics such as How a Member Decides to Vote, The Impact of Congress, The Importance of Civic Participation, The Dynamic Legislative Process, The Many Roles of a Member of Congress, and Federal Budget Allocation.

Engaging Congress. This interactive game uses primary source documents to explore the basic tenets of representative government and the challenges they face in modern society. The game is available for free here.

Facts of Congress: For middle school students, 60-second videos all about Congress and how students can participate.

James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation

The James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation offers $24,000 James Madison Graduate Fellowships to individuals desiring to become outstanding teachers of the American Constitution at the secondary school level. Fellowship applicants compete only against other applicants from the states of their legal residence. The James Madison Fellows have created lesson plans on the Constitution that are available on the website.

Library of Congress

America’s Library provides classroom materials from a vast array of primary sources — documents, photos, objects — about events and significant figures in U.S. history. Two sections are particularly relevant for educators: America’s Library from America’s Library and a page of resources for teachers.  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. Several professional development programs for teachers are offered.

Level: Elementary through high school

National Archives

The National Archives and the Center for Civic Education partnered to create DocsTeach, a series of lesson plans that use primary sources to teach about different periods of U.S. history and the Constitution. eBooks illustrate American history and government through National Archives documents. The website contains numerous links to state and regional primary sources and presidential libraries as well as professional development for teachers.

Level: Middle and high school

National Center for State Courts

The National Center for State Courts is an independent, nonprofit court improvement organization founded at the recommendation of Chief Justice Warren E. Burger. The center has created a series of graphic novels called Justice Case Files to educate the public and students about how the courts work and their role in a democratic society. The six graphic novels created address Internet piracy, stolen identity, jury duty, cyberbullying, immigration and the three branches of government. The novels can be downloaded at no charge.

Level: Middle and high school/

National Constitution Center

The National Constitution Center site provides classroom resources related to the Constitution as well as civic participation and responsibility, and the executive branch. Online resources include interactive games, videos, webcasts, primary and secondary sources, Constitution Fast Facts, biographies of Constitutional Convention delegates, and the Interactive Constitution guide.

Level: Elementary through high school

National Endowment for the Humanities

The organization’s EDSITEment project provides comprehensive lesson plans on American history, social studies and civics, government and society, among others. Its Introduction to Advanced Placement U.S. History Lessons contains scholar-reviewed website and primary sources; lesson plans focused on the Document Based Questions in the AP exam; and lesson plans based on active learning, mastery of content and engaging the student. Under Student Resources are interactive activities collected from around the web that can be used to support related lesson plans or as standalone activities in the classroom.

Level: Kindergarten through 12th grade

National History Day

National History Day makes history come alive for students by engaging them in the discovery of the historical, cultural and social experiences of the past. Through hands-on experiences and presentations, today’s students are better able to inform the present and shape the future. NHD inspires children through exciting competitions and transforms teaching through project-based curriculum and instruction.

Level: Middle and high school.

National Priorities Project

The goal of this website is to make the complex federal budget process easier to understand and more accessible so individuals can better understand how their tax dollars are spent and how they can participate in the budget process. For teachers and students, Federal Budget 101 provides a plain English guide to the federal budget process. The Educator Toolkit offers activities for middle school, high school and college learners. A Federal Budget Timeline shows major milestones of the federal budget process.

Level: Middle and high school

New York Times Learning Network

The New York Times’ content, current and historical, is the basis for teacher and student resources on this site. The Teaching Topics page is a living index page of links to resources on frequently taught subjects. For each topic, collected resources include lesson plans, related articles, multimedia, themed crosswords and archival material. Lesson plans cover numerous topics, including social studies, current events, civics and American history. The site also provides a daily news quiz, Word of the Day, Student Crossword, Today in History, and more. An online forum invites students to post their opinions on issues in the news. Resources are free.

Level: Middle and high school


The NewseumED website contains free learning tools on media literacy and First Amendment rights. Find lesson plans, primary sources, activities and more. Get ideas for teaching the latest news topics and trends. Connect with other educators in the EDCommunity. Explore the EDCollections on topics such as media literacy, women’s rights, the First Amendment and the Civil Rights Movement, and Decoding Elections.

Level: Middle and high school.


A free, online multimedia database of the U.S. Supreme Court, and its mobile apps offer plain-English case summaries, decision information, opinions, and transcript-synchronized audio for every recorded case in Supreme Court history. The transcript-synchronized audio allows users to hear what it’s like to be present at the Court for arguments or opinion announcements, and to catch the subtleties and emotion unavailable simply from reading the transcript. Users can also clip and download segments of audio or entire arguments as MP3s. Oyez engages a non-legal audience, primarily students, with the judicial branch to promote public understanding in a historical and contemporary context.

Level: Middle and high school

PBS Learning Media

This PBS site for teachers covers all subject areas, including civics participation, community, the three branches of government, politics, economics, current events, the courts and history. Lesson plans are free, with some material downloadable. Videos and audio recordings supplement lesson plans; interactive activities for younger children are available in the Democracy Project. Teachers have access to discussion forums, online professional developments courses, and an archive of webinars.

Level: Preschool through high school

Share My Lesson

Teachers share their learning materials covering a range of subjects for all grade levels. The resources may be downloaded for free. An online forum lets teachers exchange ideas and advice and share best practices. Share My Lesson also provides a resource bank for the Common Core State Standards, which has advice and guides for teachers.

Level: Elementary through high school

Street Law

Street Law and the Supreme Court Historical Society partnered to create Landmark Cases of the U.S. Supreme Court. In-depth information about each case, related activities that involve interactive teaching strategies and external resources are provided. SCOTUS in the Classroom is a project in which Street Law selects the most classroom-relevant, student-friendly cases argued at the Supreme Court. Teachers receive support to conduct moot courts based on each case. A Resource Library has compiled hundreds of teaching activities, case summaries, mock trials and articles. Street Law also offers a Supreme Court Summer Institute for teachers.

Level: Middle and high school

The Ashbrook Center’s includes a historical documents library, Exhibits on America’s Founding, web-based lesson plans, and podcasts. Its American History Toolkits are topically focused collections made up of resources from the site and organized to provide easy access to a variety of materials for teachers. Its 50 Core Documents That Tell America’s Story lists the essential documents that are a starting point for students and teachers to “think more deeply about what it means to be an American.” The website also contains Core Documents Collections on topics such as the Cold War and Documents and Debate. Numerous opportunities for professional development are available.

Level: Middle and high school

Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello

The Monticello Digital Classroom, launched in 2017, combines content from the prior classroom archive with materials from the Sea of Liberty website. The Digital Classroom includes lesson plans, articles, and multimedia content for use by teachers, students and scholars of all levels. All materials are cross-referenced, searchable and available for download.

Level: Middle and high school

U.S. Courts

This government site focuses on court literacy, featuring free, downloadable in-depth resources to help students understand how the courts work, key amendments to the Constitution, federal court basics and fast facts, legal concepts, legal landmarks and Supreme Court cases. Classrooms to Courtrooms provides real-life teen-related scenarios to stage in-class or in-court simulations of trials with accompanying scripts. You Be the Supreme Court features comprehensive material for a class to simulate Supreme Court deliberations. Sections on the First, Fourth and Sixth Amendment gives teacher a variety of formats to present to a class, including Oxford-style debate or a Supreme Court case conference. Homework Help is a set of links to related websites. Videos and podcasts are also provided.

Level: Middle and high school

U.S. Government Publishing Office

This comprehensive site contains Ben’s Guide to U.S. Government for Kids, which features information about all aspects of government, citizenship, elections and voting. It also provides links to kids’ sites for most government agencies. Activities include print games, interactive games and activities; information pages; links to other government agencies’ curriculum; and a glossary.

Level: Elementary through high school

Youth Leadership Initiative

The Youth Leadership Initiative, based at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, has created three interactive simulations. E-Congress, a free, interactive, national online simulation lets students play the part of a member of the House. They research issues, write legislation, debate bills in committee and work to move their bill to the House floor. Students use innovative technology to interact with their legislators and to connect with their peers around the country. Mock Election is conducted each fall by the Youth Leadership Initiative for students around the nation using electronic ballots designed for each student’s home district. A More Perfect Union simulates an actual campaign for Senate. The site also provides teacher-developed lesson plans and a service-learning program called Democracy Corps.

Level: Middle and high school