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Best U.S. History Websites for Students

Humanize history by getting students to unearth the real remains -- from the mundane to the magnificent -- of United States history. By curating and contextualizing text, audio, and images, these websites aim for accessibility, giving students tons of content likely to touch on topics they care about. There are websites with vast collections of primary source material that can fuel research as well as those with intriguing lesson plans and activities for creating great units. Many sites also push past dominant narratives, highlighting the essential contributions and perspectives of people from historically marginalized or systemically silenced groups.

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PBS LearningMedia

Treasure trove of lesson resources will benefit from adaptation

Bottom line: For teachers with time to sift through and adapt materials, PBS LearningMedia has a lot to offer with some highly useful support materials.

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Powerful stories and media centralize African-American history

Bottom line: While there aren't ready-to-go curricular materials, this modern, well-curated, and well-contextualized digital collection is sure to inspire compelling lessons.

Smithsonian's History Explorer

Lessons, activities, artifacts, artfully presented by the Smithsonian

Bottom line: A fantastic resource for kids and teachers alike, it has everything you need to fall in love with history.

Library of Congress

Visit our largest library's online collection of multimedia goodies

Bottom line: The Library of Congress delivers the best of America's past and present, but it's a little tricky to navigate.

National Geographic Education

Top geography resource site provides global exploration opportunities

Bottom line: This is a must-bookmark site for classrooms across the curriculum hunting for inspiring geography-based resources.

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.

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.

Digital Public Library of America

Impressive online collection of historic and cultural artifacts

Bottom line: This epic database of history and culture is a labor of love that all students can benefit from.

American Panorama

Interactive atlas magnifies events in United States history

Bottom line: With layers of learning opportunities, this is a unique interactive resource to supplement curriculum.

Beyond the Bubble

Top-quality assessments challenge students to think like historians

Bottom line: A ready-to-go, pedagogically sound route for refocusing formative assessment on critical thinking and literacy rather than memorization.

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

Stellar history website, gateway to cool PD and scholarship

Bottom line: In class, a good resource for U.S. history; beyond, a great website for free teacher PD and some great in-depth exploration of primary sources.

Google Arts & Culture

Excellent curation and an unmatched art collection invite exploration

Bottom line: A one-stop shop for a vast amount of compellingly curated and contextualized art, but it's lacking educator supports.

The Knotted Line

Unique, artistic timeline lets kids explore freedom in U.S. history

Bottom line: Students will benefit from this eye-opening and interactive approach to studying history.

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.

Zoom In

Top-notch lessons teach historical content, boost analytical skills

Bottom line: A go-to resource for the CCSS era, filled with rich content and meaningful opportunities for skill development.

American Social History Project

Deep, research-backed resources highlight America's rich diversity

Bottom line: Worth the time investment, because these valuable, socially progressive materials will add depth to the study of American history.

National WWII Museum

High-quality resources and activities offer an in-depth study

Bottom line: Materials and activities support a thorough study of World War II, making this a valuable resource for both teachers and students.

Historypin

Crowdsourcing is key to making history accessible, approachable

Bottom line: Historypin is an engaging tool to get kids interested in the history of their community and the world.

The Idea of America

High-quality digital history curriculum encourages debate

Bottom line: A dynamic collection of resources and instructional strategies to enhance the teaching of U.S. history.

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.

K-TOWN'92

LA riot videos shake up dominant narrative

Bottom line: This artful re-examination of the '92 LA riot can offer new insights and diverse perspectives, if students don't get too lost in the design.

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.

Stanford History Education Group

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

Bottom line: A gold mine of CCSS-aligned lessons for U.S. and world history teachers; encourages reading, analysis, and collaboration.

Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database

Deep, complex database is challenging but a peerless research tool

Bottom line: This is a highly academic site for better and for worse; it's filled with deep, research-backed resources and primary sources but is intimidating without clear guidance.

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