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Teaching the Colorado Academic Standards in social studies is supported through a wide array of free instructional resources. This webpage lists just a few of these resources and will be updated regularly.
If you are an educator in Colorado and have suggestions for a great free resource please email Stephanie Hartman.
The resources provided on this website are intended to provide a quick access list for educators to use in a way that supports their instructional planning. Provided resources should be previewed and used with teacher discretion. Because this page contains resources outside of the CDE website, CDE cannot control changes in outside content and listing these resources does not indicate an endorsement by the Colorado Department of Education.
Boulder County Latino History Project: Primary Source Sets
Primary Source Sets are collections of original material on particular topics that can be used in preparing lesson plans.
The Colorado Encyclopedia includes entries and essays leveled for 4th, 8th-, and 10th-grade students and curricular materials such as primary sources and Annotated Resource Sets.
Colorado Foundation for Agriculture
The Colorado Foundation for Agriculture develops a wide range of print and electronic educational materials for Colorado students, many of which are available online. These resources are free and include activity books, and a Colorado “reader” which is an eight-page student activity newspaper that covers topics such as water, conservation, agriculture, energy, etc.
Colorado’s Geography: Mapping Our Past
“MapCO” is a set of activities and lesson plans for elementary- and middle-grades students to explore Colorado's historical geography. The project includes standards-based social studies content, using interactive geographic information science (GIS) mapping technology. Lessons recently revised, written by elementary teachers.
Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection
The Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection (CHNC) currently includes more than 800,000 digitized pages, representing 199+ individual newspaper titles published in Colorado primarily from 1859 to 1923.
Colorado History Detectives
A free Colorado history book! Colorado History Detectives enables school-aged readers to learn Colorado and American West history by doing it. Drs. Laugen and Frisbee guide students through the process of interpreting primary sources by starting with questions rather than answers.
Colorful Coloradans: Biographies for Kids
Biographies of notable Coloradans written for 4th grade students by the Denver Public Library.
Colorado State Facts
This site includes a brief history of Colorado, an image of the flag, a map of the state, the state symbols, and many other pertinent facts about the state.
Denver Public Library: Western History Resources
The Denver Public Library has an extensive database of digital photographs, maps, drawings, etc. relating to Colorado history.
Doing History, Keeping the Past
A variety of historical sources (photos, journal entries) and lesson plans for use in elementary-level social studies. Activities engage students in creating their own historical understanding by interpreting primary and secondary materials.
Great Lives in Colorado History
Thirty -Three “little” biographies for elementary readers have been authored by Colorado teachers, are written at the 3rd grade level, and are available in both English and Spanish. Each book contains relevant historical photos and a wealth of information about significant Coloradans in history for young or learning readers.
History Colorado: Biographies of Notable Coloradans
These short biographies of significant historical figures who helped shape the history of Colorado are written specifically for elementary students and are available in both English and Spanish.
History Colorado: Artifact Kits & Primary Sources
History Colorado provides a variety of artifact trunks available for check out! They also have primary source sets and lesson plans for all things Colorado!
History Colorado: School Resources
This site, which is part of the History Colorado website, provides students of all ages with everything from homework help to online museum activities and exhibits. History Colorado offers fun, authentic classroom materials that bring the past to life. Check out artifact kits and grandmother trunks, find local resources, or download lesson plans created by teachers for teachers.
History of the Colorado Coal Field War
This site provides a historical overview and lesson plans on the 1913-1914 Colorado Coal Strike. In addition, there are images of the families of Ludlow and information about the daily lives of the families.
How to Participate in State Government
This 7 minute video gives a brief description of the legislative process in Colorado and how Coloradans can participate in their government.
Lessons on Local Government
A free resource for elementary, middle, and high school teachers in Colorado to easily find curriculum materials that meet the state's social studies and civics standards. This site includes numerous local government lesson plans for use in the classroom. They can be used “as is” or customized to work within specific classroom contexts.
Pop Culture Classroom - Colorful History
A FREE, bi-weekly comic strip called Colorful History, with the goal of educating students about significant and diverse characters and events from Colorado’s history. Students have the opportunity to zoom through the cosmos with Scott Carpenter, relive the Titanic tragedy through the eyes of Molly Brown, ride to Washington D.C. with Madeleine Albright, celebrate victory with John Elway, and learn so much more about the “colorful” state of Colorado and beyond. Each comic is accompanied by a teacher’s guide.
The Civilian Conservation Corps
The Colorado State Archives has an extensive collection of images and information about the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps’ work in Colorado in the 1930s.
The 1776 Dominguez-Escalante Expedition
A historical overview of the Dominguez-Escalante Expedition. While it focuses primarily on Utah, the site provides a great excerpt from Escalante’s journal. Map of Dominguez-Escalante Expedition from the Library of Congress. Map of the route of the Dominguez-Escalante expedition of 1776, drawn in 1778 from the Center of Southwest Studies at Ft. Lewis College