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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.

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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.

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The Census Bureau’s website offers far more than its up-to-the-second clocks with estimates of the U.S. and world populations. There is, of course, a general summary of the most recent census. A link from the home page brings up the American FactFinder, which allows the user to retrieve complete census breakdowns of the U.S. population by age, race, home ownership status and many other categories within cities, counties, states or even ZIP codes.

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Brookings is the oldest and one of the best-known of the Washington-based think tanks, tracing its origins back to 1916 and founder Robert Somers Brookings, a wealthy St. Louis businessman. Its scholars generally have very strong academic credentials.Reports from the institution and its scholars can be viewed by research programs, policy centers and research projects. They fall mainly into the categories of competitiveness, education, migration, health care or energy security.

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The Urban Institute says it is a “nonprofit, nonpartisan policy research and educational organization” focusing on “the social, economic, and governance problems facing the nation.” It has its roots in the Great Society era of government anti-poverty programs. The institute was chartered by a blue-ribbon commission assembled by President Lyndon Johnson to examine problems and issues faced by the nation’s urban populations.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 Story from America’s Library and a page of resources for teachers.

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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 available on the website.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 the Be Washington game, which let students take on the role of Washington and make decisions as commander in chief and president. Mount Vernon also offers professional development opportunities.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 PDF documents. 
Level: Middle and high school

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National Rifle Association, one of the nation’s oldest advocacy groups, was formed in 1871 to “promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis.” Since that time, the NRA has evolved into the largest gun-rights lobbying organization in the United States.

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The Heritage Foundation, one of the nation’s best-known think tanks on the right, says its mission is to “formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.”

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According to its website, FactCheck.org 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.

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The Consumer Federation of America, formed in 1968, acts on behalf of consumers through “advocacy, research, education, and service.” The group has 300 member organizations – all nonprofit, pro-consumer groups.

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The Library of Congress houses the Congressional Research Service, “the public policy research arm of the United States Congress.” The CRS performs independent, nonpartisan and objective research for members of Congress and their staffs on a nearly endless array of issues. The Librarian of Congress appoints the director of the service, which has a large, knowledgeable staff and receives a sizable budget.