Social studies takes a look at the different branches of human society, and as we’ve navigated this global pandemic, we’ve watched a major moment in history unfold. Why not use this opportunity to push our kids and students to explore humanity? Whether you’re teaching online or in-person, this list of the best social studies websites will help you create lessons that are informative, fun, and interactive. We’ve categorized over 55 of the best social studies websites as follows:
Social Studies Lessons
This historical atlas of the United States combines cutting-edge research with innovative interactive mapping techniques.
American Social History Project
This resource challenges traditional ways of learning about the past by exploring the diverse social and cultural histories of the United States. The site also offers professional development seminars for teachers.
Big History Project
Focused on high school students, the Big History Project is a joint effort between teachers, scholars, scientists, and their supporters to bring a multi-disciplinary approach to knowledge.
Crash Course World History
This fantastic YouTube channel provides an engaging glimpse into some of the most notable events and developments in history. With sequences of videos on the World Wars, the history of science, U.S. History, and more, it’s a great first introduction or review.
Crash Course Kids
The creators of Crash Course have also created a second channel geared towards younger students. This biweekly show is meant for elementary school kids and covers topics ranging from Earth science to chemical reactions.
Need a list of some great history websites? EdTechTeacher has done the hard work and compiled them all for you!
The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
A nonprofit organization that has developed an array of programs for schools, teachers, and students that now operate in all fifty states, including a website that features more than 60,000 unique historical documents.
The Idea of America
At its heart, America is an idea. What keeps this idea vibrant? The Idea of America is a digital U.S. history program that presents our nation’s rich history through an original framework that views America as an enduring “Great Debate.”
A free inquiry-based distance learning curriculum created by inquirED. The 20-minute social studies lessons can be done at home and address questions like How can I capture where I am in time and place?, How can we communicate with others to share our thoughts and ideas?, and How can we celebrate our everyday heroes?. New inquiries are being released weekly.
Library of Congress
It’s hard to beat the National Library of Congress. It’s one of the best social studies websites and even features an entire portal just for teachers.
Use the online tool to access countless primary source documents to enhance learning. Find lesson plans and more on the Educator Resources page.
This colorful site contains lessons that meet national and state standards as well as STEM and College and Career Readiness goals. They’ve even got lessons on coronaviruses!
Smithsonian’s History Explorer
Developed by the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian’s History Explorer is designed for K-12 teachers and students and offers hundreds of free, innovative online resources for teaching and learning American history.
Stanford History Education Group
The Reading Like a Historian curriculum promotes historical inquiry while engaging students. The lessons are designed to explore a central historical question and include a set of primary documents for students of various reading skills.
Studies Weekly Online
It’s easy to see why we’ve included this on our list of the best social studies websites. Studies Weekly Online allows you to create a customized, standards-based curriculum for social studies and offers a free trial.
TCI offers the full package! You’ll find resources to help you better prepare, present, assign, grade, and teach—even through distance learning!
Teaching American History
The Ashbrook Center at Ashland University worked with the National Endowment for the Humanities to develop web-based lesson plans for U.S. history and American government teachers.
This site is designed to help K–12 history teachers access resources and materials to improve U.S. history education in the classroom and through distance learning.
Teaching Tolerance is dedicated to reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations, and supporting equitable school experiences for our nation’s children. There is even a special module specifically designed for the racism surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
Utah Education Network
This interactive site is designed for 3-6 grade students and includes lessons on geography, environment, U.S. history, and U.S. government.
Voices of Democracy
On this site, you will find scholarly articles offering critical analyses of significant speeches, curriculum units designed for undergraduate teachers and students, lesson plans for high school and middle school teachers, and a blog with brief commentaries on speeches and pedagogical issues.
World History Matters
A portal to world history websites including Women in World History, World History Sources, and more.
World History Project
This infinitely adaptable, free standards-aligned world history course for high school students connects to the past to the present, with an eye to the future.
Art Institute of Chicago
Enjoy virtual visits to the galleries, go behind the scenes, and engage with art from anywhere with our virtual events, videos, and themed audio tours.
Boston Children’s Museum
Explore three floors of the Boston Children’s Museum on this virtual tour which includes fun stops at the Explore-a-Saurus and Japanese House exhibits.
British Museum, London
Located in the heart of London, students can explore this iconic museum with exhibits dedicated to everything from Egyptian mummies to the Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies.
Detroit Institute of Arts
Explore the “At Home With DIA” museum experience at the Detroit Institute of Arts that offers virtual field trips, online exhibits, weekly film screenings, and more.
Guggenheim Museum, New York
This is definitely one of the best social studies websites around! Use Google’s Street View feature to tour the world-famous Guggenheim museum, including works of art and the breathtaking spiral staircase.
J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
The Street View tour of this California museum gives students access to European artworks that date back as far as the 8th Century.
Musée d’Orsay, Paris
Travel to Paris might be out of the question right now, but students can virtually walk through this gallery which includes works from Monet, Cézanne, Gauguin, and more.
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Scope out two incredible online exhibits through Google: one dedicated to American fashion and another featuring a collection of works from Dutch Baroque painter Johannes Vermeer.
National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City
Dig into the archaeology and history of Mexico’s pre-Hispanic heritage with a virtual tour of 23 exhibit rooms, including artifacts from the Mayan civilization.
National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul
South Korea might be on the other side of the Pacific, but you can still visit one of the country’s most popular museums through this extensive virtual tour of Contemporary art from Korea and more.
Pergamon Museum, Berlin
This historical museum in Germany provides a virtual glimpse of ancient artifacts, including the Ishtar Gate of Babylon and the Pergamon Altar.
Explore the masterworks from the Dutch Golden Age, including works from Vermeer and Rembrandt. Google offers a Street View tour of this iconic museum, so you can feel as if you’re actually wandering its halls.
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Vincent Van Gogh is one of the most iconic painters of all time, and this virtual tour allows visitors to marvel at the largest collection of his artwork.
Virtual Field Trips
Discovery Education Virtual Field Trips
Go beyond the classroom walls and explore some of the world’s most iconic destinations—no permission slips required.
Explore a variety of remote learning opportunities for students, including virtual field trips (Elkhorn Slough), science challenges, walkabouts, and more. The site also offers a teacher resource library.
The Great Lakes
Embark on a virtual field trip that covers three main components: coastal wetlands, algae, and lake sturgeon. The videos are short and targeted at middle schoolers.
The Great Wall of China
Even through a virtual tour on a tiny screen, students will be dazzled by the magnificence and wonder of this thousands-year-old fortification system.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
There’s so much to see at this iconic New York museum—even on a virtual tour. From couture ball gowns to a history of music, students will be captivated by the 26 online galleries.
Nature Works Everywhere
These wonderful virtual field trips allow students to explore a coastal rain forest or the coral reefs in the Dominican Republic, and so much more.
San Diego Zoo
Check out the fantastic behind-the-scenes videos and stories. Then, be sure to check out the great list of activities and downloadables.
The Seattle Aquarium hosts a 30-minute virtual field trip. Students can learn about the animals and the food web that can be found in the Puget Sound waters.
This incredibly cool and responsive website allows students to explore more than 60,000 stars, watch sunrises, search for planets, and more!
These self-guided virtual tours give students an up-close look at permanent, current, and past exhibits.
U.S. Census Bureau
This site details the Census Bureau’s plans used to engage, educate, and ultimately count an increasingly diverse and growing population.
Virtual Field Trips
Perfect for K-8 social studies students, this site includes curriculum content, online learning videos, and quizzes along with a list of the corresponding national and state Standards.
Yellowstone National Park
The best way to experience Yellowstone is to visit. The second best way is to explore the cool interactive maps and, of course, the live stream of the Old Faithful Geyser eruptions.
Social Studies Games and Simulations
Classroom Law Project
Dive into engaging civics and law-related education programs. Students of all grade levels can learn more about the values and skills essential to being a responsible citizen.
Kids Discover Online
Choose articles based on reading level, so you can use these articles for various ages and skillsets. Schools and districts closed due to the outbreak can request free unlimited access to Kids Discover Online.
This free, core academic website delivers videos, animations, and simulations for middle-school and high-school students.
Horrible Histories BBC
This pick for best social studies websites allows students to “watch episodes, play games, and sing along to your favorite Horrible Histories songs!”
iCivics provides tools to help students learn about civic life. Teachers and students can access printable lesson plans, interactive digital tools, and award-winning games.
National Constitution Center
Established by Congress, this interactive website provides free online resources for remote students of all ages who are learning more about the Constitution.
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