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Best Government and Civics Websites and Games

Help students grapple with government and learn their rights as human beings and citizens with these great websites and games for civics and government. It's through politics that power gets distributed, and if students are to fight for social change and make a better world, they need to understand how different governments function, the rights granted to their citizens, and how people can influence them. These websites and games also offer students resources to explore the history of political movements, the rise and fall of governmental systems, and the way human rights have evolved over time. While this list isn't limited to the U.S., there's a healthy focus on the rights granted and governed by the U.S. Constitution, voter information for U.S. election, and how the U.S. government operates, including info on the executive, judicial, and legislative branches.

Government and Civics Websites

Center for Civic Education

Good lesson plans, resources boost students' political awareness

Bottom Line: There's some great content here amidst some so-so tie-ins to a textbook series; take a look and find a few nice tools to drop into your year.

Grades: K–12
Price:
Free

Kids in the House

Detailed, age-appropriate intro to the U.S. Congress and its history

Bottom Line: A great starting point for accessing the rich history and complex work of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Grades: K–12
Price:
Free

Statistics in Schools

Interactive data, practical plans bring the Census to the classroom

Bottom Line: Engaging and authentic material connects the U.S. Census to many subject areas.

Grades: K–12
Price:
Free

Youth Leadership Initiative

Immersive simulations, in-class activities bring democracy to life

Bottom Line: A gateway to some great activities for getting kids engaged in what it means to be a citizen in a democracy; definitely mine these riches for some activities for your classroom.

Grades: K–12
Price:
Free

National Archives

Access U.S. history with treasure trove of docs, genealogy, and other resources

Bottom Line: NARA's website wasn't designed for kids, but they can definitely use it to research and learn about history, genealogy, and the U.S. population and government.

Grades: 4–12
Price:
Free

Street Law

Excellent info, activities get kids engaged in SCOTUS's work, impact

Bottom Line: An exceptional resource for learning about the law and justice system in the United States.

Grades: 5–12
Price:
Free

AllSides for Schools

Civics site offers building blocks for meaningful dialogue

Bottom Line: This site meaningfully promotes dialogue rather than argument, and collects a lot of resources you might normally have to curate yourself.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free

Annenberg Classroom

Civics website makes teaching the Constitution manageable, meaningful

Bottom Line: Go for the videos, stay for the lessons: Annenberg Classroom saves teachers' prep time when teaching the Constitution, current events, or other civics lessons.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free

KQED Learn

Civic discussion site encourages media literacy and deep thinking

Bottom Line: This platform features excellent videos students will enjoy discussing, but teachers will need to prep students to make quality contributions.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free

270 to Win

Follow dynamics of red and blue states through cool U.S. election maps

Bottom Line: It's a solid resource for teaching about the election system, but a more kid-friendly interface would make it even better.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free

Project Vote Smart

Thorough, unbiased information on candidates and elected officials

Bottom Line: Easy-to-use search tool is a must for any classroom that is learning about the United States government and our representatives.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free

Zinn Education Project

Resources, lessons help teach a more inclusive version of U.S. history

Bottom Line: Free downloadable resources encourage critical thinking and active learning in search of a more accurate picture of American history.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free

Digital Civics Toolkit

Superb, timely civics lessons focus on social media and student voice

Bottom Line: For teachers looking to make civics relevant to students, there's nothing else out there as extensive or relevant.

Grades: 7–12
Price:
Free

Fandom Forward

Fan site promotes real-world heroics with activism for social justice

Bottom Line: A smart, fun, and accessible way for people of all ages to better engage with critical social issues and take meaningful action as a result.

Grades: 7–12
Price:
Free

Kialo Edu

A terrific, troll-free zone for structuring student discussion and debate

Bottom Line: A valuable platform for students to learn about social and political issues while practicing digital citizenship and argumentation.

Grades: 7–12
Price:
Free

YourCommonwealth

Engage with passionate international perspectives from youth

Bottom Line: Offers a rich variety of news and opinion stories on global issues, and its young writers will get U.S. students hooked on civic engagement.

Grades: 7–12
Price:
Free

Data USA

Elegant treasure trove of data could fuel lessons and projects

Bottom Line: An efficient research tool that makes it easier to incorporate stats into a host of lessons or projects focusing on the U.S.

Grades: 8–12
Price:
Free

Voices of Democracy

Vast collection of primary source documents a solid starting point

Bottom Line: A great place to begin when you want to make history feel more real, but "begin" is the operative word; plan on creating your own scaffolding.

Grades: 8–12
Price:
Free

Constitute

Extensive, highly searchable collection of the world's constitutions

Bottom Line: Quickly and easily access almost any country's constitution, locate an excerpt, or compare governments.

Grades: 9–12
Price:
Free

iSideWith

Easy-to-use political quiz provides instant results, provokes debate

Bottom Line: A great tool to help students determine and compare political views; especially useful during the election cycle.

Grades: 9–12
Price:
Free

The Living New Deal | Still Working for America

Archival site is a treasure trove for New Deal researchers

Bottom Line: While it doesn't offer much specifically for teachers or students, it's a must-use site for primary source material if you have a unit on the New Deal or Great Depression.

Grades: 9–12
Price:
Free

SCOTUSblog

Real-time updates and in-depth content on U.S. Supreme Court decisions

Bottom Line: A comprehensive resource for any educator or student following the Supreme Court's work.

Grades: 9–12
Price:
Free

Stanford History Education Group

High-quality, document-based lessons spark stellar historical inquiry

Bottom Line: A gold mine of cross-curricular literacy lessons that encourage sound, research-backed strategies for reading, analysis, and critical thinking.

Grades: 8–12
Price:
Free

Government and Civics Games

Cast Your Vote

Lively civics sim introduces the hows and whys of voting decisions

Bottom Line: This game valuably shows students the importance of researching candidates and how to do it, and along the way gets students to define their political points of view.

Grades: 5–8
Price:
Free

Community in Crisis

Game shows real-world uses for literacy and decision-making skills

Bottom Line: A clever, real-world, and civic-minded context to learn and practice ELA skills.

Grades: 5–9
Price:
Free

Fantasy Geopolitics

Impressive fantasy "sports" game engages students on current events

Bottom Line: This game could be the hook that gets students engaged with international news.

Grades: 5–12
Price:
Free to try, Paid

Civics! An American Musical

Primary source-focused game has students create their own "Hamilton"

Bottom Line: This is a quick and useful way to introduce middle schoolers to primary sources, or to kick off discussion on some key U.S. history topics.

Grades: 6–8
Price:
Free

iCivics

Well-designed games, lessons can spice up your civics curriculum

Bottom Line: This game-based curriculum would be an excellent addition to any secondary social studies.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free

SimCity

Exciting city simulator great for online play

Bottom Line: SimCity does a great job teaching kids about cities by putting them in control of designing them, but this game needs a constant Internet connection.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Paid

That's Your Right

Card game gets students to wield the power of the Bill of Rights

Bottom Line: This is a high-quality, surprisingly fun way to see how the Bill of Rights relates to everyday situations.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free

Sid Meier’s Civilization VI

Best entry in classic strategy series might not be best for classrooms

Bottom Line: As with all games in this series, Civilization VI is a great learning experience with the right support, but older, cheaper versions may be more practical for classrooms.

Grades: 7–12
Price:
Paid

Political Animals

Charming political campaign sim mixes data analysis and civics

Bottom Line: It's a highly entertaining and surprisingly deep way to help students see the strategy -- as well as ethical choices -- involved in elections.

Grades: 8–12
Price:
Paid

Democracy 3

Nuanced political sim about the balancing act of government

Bottom Line: This is a grown-up civics sim, full of tough choices, compelling cause and effect relationships, and controversial issues that will work best for older government students.

Grades: 9–12
Price:
Paid

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