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10 Best Social Studies Tools for Elementary School

As young kids grow and their world expands, they're increasingly curious about what's around them and what happened before they got here. This collection of elementary-level social studies tools will get kids digging into history and exploring places near and far, all while learning about different societies and cultures, and how they fit into the big picture. There are also a few tools on this list that help kids expand their present horizons. There are news sites that'll help them process current events as well as pen pal platforms for communicating and collaborating with other kids across the globe.

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National Geographic Kids

Stunning photos and in-depth stories of Earth's peoples and wildlife

Bottom line: This large collection of multimedia resources teaches younger students about animals, habitats, countries, and cultures.

Time for Kids

Digital news magazine for kids can drive current events conversation

Bottom line: While some articles lack differentiation, and lessons don't always stretch higher-order thinking skills, this site is one of the best options for bringing current events into elementary classrooms.

Google Earth

Cool geographical exploration tool has endless classroom applications

Bottom line: Google Earth is an engaging and completely open-ended app perfect for use across the educational spectrum.

Teaching Tolerance

Thought-provoking classroom resources support diversity education

Bottom line: It's an invaluable teacher tool to help reduce prejudice and encourage tolerance in schools, as well as within society as a whole.

MetKids

Whimsical, kid-friendly intro to the wide world of art

Bottom line: A wonderful, endlessly detailed way to get kids engaged in the world of art.

The Wonderment

Ambitious global community aims for public good through student engagement

Bottom line: A powerful, improving social network for exploring the world and effecting positive change.

Expeditions

Fire up the warp drive to bring VR field trips to your classroom

Bottom line: With stunning scenes and a flexible delivery method, your students will thank you for journeying together through space and time.

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Newsela

Great stories, just-right leveled reading; now mostly by subscription

Bottom line: Up-to-date, high-interest articles will meet students right at their level, and help teachers bolster students' nonfiction reading skills.

PenPal Schools

Give students global perspective with pen pal projects in any subject

Bottom line: A thoughtful, ready-to-go platform that facilitates authentic, cross-cultural collaboration.

Smithsonian Learning Lab

Discover, create, remix, and share first-rate museum artifacts

Bottom line: This thoughtfully crafted, open-ended curation and creation tool has a place in most classrooms.

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