Common Sense


Social Studies Tools Backed by Research

A lot of tech tools claim to have learning benefits, but how do teachers know which are the real deal? One way is to look eitherĀ for tech that's inspired by the latest research into learning, pedagogy, and instructional design or tech that's been evaluated by researchers. It's not always easy to find this information, so we've curated a list of social studies apps, games, and websites that fit the bill.

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Schoolhouse Rock meets Tupac in this delightful hip-hop-based platform

Bottom line: Flocabulary has the goods: It's savvy enough to keep kids focused, and teachers will be tapping their toes to the unorthodox learning method.

Who Am I? Race Awareness Game

Q&A game gets students talking about diversity honestly, responsibly

Bottom line: Kids learn to ask questions and have open conversations about diversity.

News-O-Matic for School, 2016-17 Nonfiction Reading

Flexible, interactive daily stories for elementary school students

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


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.

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.


Exceptionally well-designed games, lesson plans demystify government

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

Roadtrip Nation

Outstanding site motivates kids to follow dreams, work hard

Bottom line: Incredibly inspirational, fun, and helpful guide for kids trying to figure out a sustainable, happy future.

SimCityEDU: Pollution Challenge!

Truncated environmental city-planning sim geared toward classrooms

Bottom line: This version of the SimCity game still has something to offer, but it's probably not worth the subscription cost on its own.


Compelling test of kids' empathy and problem-solving skills

Bottom line: It'll give students an impactful lesson on the complexity of human conflict, and the ongoing tensions in the Middle East that emphasizes empathy and the delicate nature of diplomacy.

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