Common Sense

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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. There are compelling news sites and podcast apps for keeping up with current events, timeline creators for demonstrating historical knowledge, pen-pal sites to connect with and learn about people from other cultures, and treasure troves of historical documents and media. No matter what you choose, students will develop skills that'll make them better global citizens who respect diversity and strive for social change. 

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Current Events

News-O-Matic: School 2018-2019

Flexible, interactive daily stories for elementary school students

Bottom line: Engaging, high-quality news stories help students learn about the world.

News-2-You

Draw kids into weekly news with powerful symbols and voice narration

Bottom line: Students can expand literacy skills, learn about the world, and get involved with discussion questions and activities.

Listenwise

Bring real-world stories from public radio into the classroom

Bottom line: A fantastic resource that brings both historical and current event public radio stories into the classroom.

New York Times App

Easy access to news, but most content is available only to subscribers

Bottom line: Provides an easy-to-use news resource, but only section front pages are accessible without a subscription.

NPR: Borderland

Illuminating, up-close-and-personal visit to the U.S.-Mexico border

Bottom line: As a truly unique resource that's worth using, teachers will need to create lessons that scaffold students' understanding of the complex issues found within.

NPR One

Trusty podcast app has quality content but lacks learning supports

Bottom line: An enticing free option for connecting current events to content through podcasts, but student engagement hinges on how you incorporate it.

Geography & Exploration

Google Earth

Cool geographical exploration tool has endless classroom applications

Bottom line: Google Earth is an engaging and completely open-ended app perfect for use across the educational spectrum.

Barefoot World Atlas

Visually stunning 3-D globe piques students' interest in world facts

Bottom line: Dive right in to world geography with a beautiful, interactive globe full of narratives and photos of different cultures and traditions.

Stack the Countries

A whole world of facts, maps, and fun waiting to be stacked

Bottom line: Kids learn about the world through easy-to-use flashcards and exciting stacking games.

Stack the States 2

Geography trivia game balances facts and fun

Bottom line: This is a clear go-to if you're looking to help students memorize state locations, shapes, capitals, history, and more.

Expeditions

Fire up the warp drive to bring VR field trips to your classroom

Bottom line: With stunning scenes and a flexible delivery method, your students will thank you for journeying together through space and time.

Google Earth VR

Explore the world with an incredible new perspective and sense of scale

Bottom line: An amazing experience that brings the world to life, despite the heavy investment in VR required.

The Pyramids

Tap into students' inner archaeologists as they discover Ancient Egypt

Bottom line: Students can experience some of Egypt's most famous pyramids and tombs while learning more about the life of Ancient Egyptians.

Global Awareness & Cultures

Homes by Tinybop

Explore homes -- and cultures -- around the world in exquisite detail

Bottom line: Offers a delightful and accessible way for kids to learn about the world's cultures.

One Globe Kids - All Friends

Engaging stories, activities introduce kids to peers around the world

Bottom line: A smart, thoughtful way to learn about the lives of kids around the world.

Teaching Tolerance

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.

Oddizzi

Kids travel the world, cultivate global curiosity and responsibility

Bottom line: Kids get a sense of culture and global responsibility via kid-friendly articles and great multimedia.

PenPal Schools

Give students global perspective with pen pal projects in any subject

Bottom line: A thoughtful, ready-to-go platform that facilitates authentic, cross-cultural collaboration.

Facing History and Ourselves

A wealth of resources explore racism, prejudice, and anti-Semitism

Bottom line: These valuable materials empower students to understand and address difficult ethical choices -- past and present.

Global Oneness Project

Dynamic multimedia resources explore life experiences around the world

Bottom line: Unique approach to incorporating global issues into the curriculum; monthly stories capture interdisciplinary topics.

Parable of the Polygons

Dynamic interactive helps classrooms explore topics of bias, diversity

Bottom line: A fascinating way to address how communities become segregated due to individual bias.

History & Historical Figures

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.

EDSITEment

Extensive humanities resource offers deep well of great content

Bottom line: The National Endowment for the Humanities has put together an outstanding place for art, history, language, and literature.

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.

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.

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.

Think Like Churchill

Stunning visuals, thoughtful feedback bring critical decision points to life

Bottom line: An excellent tool for studying the events and ethics that guide pivotal moments in history.

IWitness

Explore survivor testimony with lessons, video on teacher-geared site

Bottom line: IWitness allows students to reflect upon the past, looking toward today’s values and society. Students build knowledge about the past using a dynamic, specific tool.

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.

Cuba's Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis

Make historic decisions in this absorbing choose-your-own adventure

Bottom line: Offers a captivating way to retrace and reflect on steps taken during a major historical event.

U.S. History & Civics

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.

The Oregon Trail

Strong pioneer-simulation game with secondary emphasis on history

Bottom line: Classic westward expansion game just as fun as ever, but would benefit from some diverse updates.

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.

iCivics

Exceptionally well-designed games, lesson plans demystify government

Bottom line: This excellent addition to a civics classroom simplifies complex topics.

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.

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.

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.

Timelines

Sutori

A slick way to share knowledge via interactive timelines and stories

Bottom line: With a super simple design, interactive features, and an imaginative personal approach, it's an easy and flexible tool for all kinds of classrooms.

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.

Tiki-Toki

Create eye-catching multimedia timelines for any purpose

Bottom line: Multimedia timelines connect events visually, creating pathways for deeper analysis of any chronological story.

TimeToast

Simple timeline creator could use more features and options

Bottom line: An easy to use timeline tool for one-off projects, but for sustained use teachers will need to upgrade, and ultimately the features might not be robust enough.

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