Top Pick

Best Websites and Games for U.S. History and Civics

Sometimes, the history that students learn about in textbooks is boiled down to key events and dates, and is all-too-often limited to traditional narratives of progress that privilege war, leaders, and American exceptionalism. These great U.S. history and civics websites and games, flip the script by letting students explore the complexity and contradictions of American history from different perspectives. Use these sites and games to help your students look critically on historical narratives, delve into primary documents, learn about the contributions of regular people, honor the contributions of diverse people and cultures, and bring this knowledge to bear on current events.

U.S. History Websites

ArtsEdge Visit Website: https://artsedge.kennedy-center.org/educators.aspx
Impressive cross-curricular resource helps put the A in STEAM
Grades K-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
National Museum of African American History and Culture Visit Website: https://nmaahc.si.edu
Powerful stories and media centralize African-American history
Grades K-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
National Archives Visit Website: http://www.archives.gov/
Access U.S. history with treasure trove of docs, genealogy, and other resources
Grades 4-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
American Panorama Visit Website: http://dsl.richmond.edu/panorama/
Interactive atlas magnifies events in United States history
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Beyond the Bubble Visit Website: http://beyondthebubble.stanford.edu/
Top-quality assessments challenge students to think like historians
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Visit Website: https://www.gilderlehrman.org/
Stellar history website, gateway to cool PD and scholarship
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 5
Zinn Education Project Visit Website: https://zinnedproject.org/
Resources, lessons help teach a more inclusive version of U.S. history
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Zoom In Visit Website: http://zoomin.edc.org/
Top-notch lessons teach historical content, boost analytical skills
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
American Social History Project Visit Website: http://ashp.cuny.edu/
Deep, research-backed resources highlight America's rich diversity
Grades 7-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
National WWII Museum Visit Website: http://nationalww2museum.org/
High-quality resources and activities offer an in-depth study
Grades 7-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Historypin Visit Website: http://www.historypin.com
Crowdsourcing is key to making history accessible, approachable
Grades 8-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
The Idea of America Visit Website: http://theideaofamerica.org/
High-quality digital history curriculum encourages debate
Grades 8-12
Type Website
Price Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Smarthistory Visit Website: https://smarthistory.org/
Bring traditional art education to life with fresh, interactive multimedia
Grades 8-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4
Stanford History Education Group Visit Website: http://sheg.stanford.edu/home_page
High-quality, document-based lessons spark stellar historical inquiry
Grades 9-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 5

U.S. History Games

Ansel and Clair: Paul Revere's Ride Publisher: Cognitive Kid, Inc.
Charming play brings American Revolution to life in ways that stick
Grades 1-5
Type App
Price Free to Try
Platforms iPad
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 5
The Oregon Trail Publisher: Gameloft
Strong pioneer-simulation game with secondary emphasis on history
Grades 4-8
Type App
Price $.99
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 3
Mission US: For Crown or Colony? Publisher: Thirteen/WNET
First-person journey through pre-Revolutionary War America
Grades 6-8
Type Game
Price Free
Platforms Mac, Windows
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
iCivics Visit Website: http://www.icivics.org/
Exceptionally well-designed games, lesson plans demystify government
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
Cuba's Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis Publisher: Flight of the Mobile
Make historic decisions in this absorbing choose-your-own adventure
Grades 9-12
Type App
Price $.99
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4