How to address violence in the news with your students.

Learn more
Common Sense


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.

Continue reading

Top Picks


PrintPrint | Save as PDF

National Geographic Kids

Kid-friendly science and social studies info via videos, games, and more

Bottom line: Large collection of approachable, fun multimedia resources about animals, habitats, countries, and cultures.

Time for Kids

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

Dazzling globe-trotting tool has endless classroom applications

Bottom line: This tool defines engagement and offers a completely open-ended experience perfect for use across the educational spectrum.

Learning for Justice

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.


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.

Common Sense Selection


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: This is a thoughtful, ready-to-go platform that facilitates authentic and safe 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.

Get tips for using these tools in the classroom

See related resources