Top Pick

Great Social Studies Apps and Websites

From world geography to U.S. government, this collection of resources covers key social studies topics for all grades. Students may be listening to podcasts of the latest current events, manipulating timelines of WWII, talking with and learning about people from other cultures, or viewing historical documents. Either way, students will be developing skills that will allow them to demonstrate global awareness, respect diversity, and be driven to social justice. Browse our editors' picks, and try a new tool for your next unit. 

Current Events

News-O-Matic, School Edition, 2014-15 Publisher: Press4Kids
Flexible, interactive daily stories for elementary school students
Grades 2-5
Type App
Price $6.99
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
News-2-You Publisher: AssistiveWare
Draw kids into weekly news with powerful symbols and voice narration
Grades 2-6
Type App
Price Free to Try, Paid
Platforms iPad
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 5
Listen Current Visit Website: https://listenwise.com
Bring real-world stories from public radio into the classroom
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
NPR: Borderland Visit Website: http://apps.npr.org/borderland/
Illuminating, up-close-and-personal visit to the U.S.-Mexico border
Grades 9-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 5

Geography & Exploration

Google Earth
Cool geographical exploration tool has endless classroom applications
Grades K-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Barefoot World Atlas Publisher: Touch Press
Visually stunning 3-D globe piques students' interest in world facts
Grades 1-5
Type App
Price $4.99
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 2
Stack the Countries Publisher: Dan Russell-Pinson
A whole world of facts, maps, and fun waiting to be stacked
Grades 2-6
Type App
Price $1.99
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Windows Phone, Apps for Windows
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 3
The Pyramids Publisher: Touch Press
Tap into students' inner archaeologists as they discover Ancient Egypt
Grades 5-12
Type App
Price $6.99
Platforms iPad
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4

Global Awareness & Cultures

Homes by Tinybop Publisher: Tinybop
Explore homes -- and cultures -- around the world in exquisite detail
Grades K-3
Type App
Price $3.99
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
One Globe Kids - children's stories from around the world Publisher: Globe Smart Kids
Beautiful photos and stories build cultural knowledge, self-awareness
Grades K-4
Type App
Price Free to Try
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Teaching Tolerance Visit Website: http://www.tolerance.org/
Thought-provoking classroom resources support diversity education
Grades K-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
Oddizzi Visit Website: http://www.oddizzi.com/
Kids travel the world, cultivate global curiosity and responsibility
Grades 3-8
Type Website
Price Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
PenPal Schools Visit Website: https://penpalschools.com/
Collaborative lessons connect students across the globe
Grades 3-8
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 5
Facing History and Ourselves Visit Website: https://www.facinghistory.org/
A wealth of resources explore racism, prejudice, and anti-Semitism
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
Global Oneness Project Visit Website: https://www.globalonenessproject.org/
Dynamic multimedia resources explore life experiences around the world
Grades 9-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Parable of the Polygons Visit Website: http://ncase.me/polygons/
Dynamic interactive helps classrooms explore topics of bias, diversity
Grades 9-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4

History & Historical Figures

BrainPOP Jr. Visit Website: http://www.brainpopjr.com
Top-notch educational videos a boon for elementary school teachers
Grades K-3
Type Website
Price From $175
Common Sense Rating 5
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
BrainPop Visit Website: http://www.brainpop.com
Clever animated hosts Tim and Moby masterfully tackle complex topics
Grades 4-8
Type Website
Price From $220
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
EDSITEment Visit Website: http://edsitement.neh.gov/
Extensive humanities resource offers deep well of great content
Grades 3-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Flocabulary Visit Website: http://www.flocabulary.com/
Schoolhouse Rock meets Tupac in this delightful hip-hop-based platform
Grades K-12
Type Website
Price Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
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
Think Like Churchill Publisher: Touchpress Limited
Stunning visuals, thoughtful feedback bring critical decision points to life
Grades 6-12
Type App
Price $3.99
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
IWitness Visit Website: http://iwitness.usc.edu/SFI/
Explore survivor testimony with lessons, video on teacher-geared site
Grades 7-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
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
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

U.S. History & Civics

Smithsonian's History Explorer Visit Website: http://historyexplorer.si.edu
Lessons, activities, artifacts, artfully presented by the Smithsonian
Grades K-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
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
PBS LearningMedia Visit Website: http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/
Impressive collection of classroom-ready, free digital resources
Grades Pre-K-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
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
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
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
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
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

Timelines

Sutori Visit Website: http://www.sutori.com
A slick way to share knowledge via interactive timelines and stories
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
The Knotted Line Visit Website: http://knottedline.com/
Unique, artistic timeline lets kids explore freedom in U.S. history
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Timeline World War 2 with Robert MacNeil Publisher: Ballista Media
Vast interactive multimedia resource makes history come alive
Grades 6-12
Type App
Price $9.99
Platforms iPad
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated