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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.
Extensive presidential and electoral history, election coverage, presidential speeches, and images.
The American Presidency Project
An on-line source for presidential public documents. There are over 129,000 presidential and non-presidential records available in the database.
Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections
Find national results for presidential elections from 1789 through 2016. Election information, articles and a description of the election process is also available.
Ben's Guide to the U.S. Government
Learn about government branches, citizenship and how laws are made with Ben Franklin as your host. Interactive games and articles provide information in a fun way (designed especially for elementary students).
Bill of Rights Institute
The Bill of Rights Institute offers lessons and activities for teaching students about the words and ideas of the Founding Fathers of the United States. The institute also offers professional development opportunities for teachers.
Center for Civic Education
The Center offers the most effective programs in the world in civic education for democracy. The main curricular programs of the Center are the following
- We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution, which is used at upper elementary, middle, and high school levels and in colleges and universities.
- We the People: Project Citizen, which is used at upper elementary, middle, and high school levels and in colleges and universities.
- Foundations of Democracy, which is used in classrooms ranging from kindergarten through the twelfth grade.
CNN Student News
Designed for middle and high school students. CNN Student News is a 10 minute, commercial free, daily news program produced by CNN journalists.
Colorado Goes Supreme
Join Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser as he prepares to argue a landmark elections case in the U.S. Supreme Court. Weiser will use Colorado Department of State v. Baca as a vehicle to illuminate different civics concepts in this video series, including topics like “How does a case get to the U.S. Supreme Court?” and “What is the Electoral College?”
A new website from the Library of Congress that provides a comprehensive overview of how the Constitution has been interpreted over time. The online Constitution Annotated includes discussions of the Supreme Court's latest opinions.
The Constitutional Sources Project (ConSource)
An organization that provides a free online database for constitutional research and education. Our mission is to increase understanding, facilitate research, and encourage discussion of the U.S. Constitution by connecting individuals to primary source documents regarding its creation, ratification, and amendment.
The C-Span Classroom provides free Current Events videos, Lesson Plans and Bell Ringers, On This Day in History Events, Constitution Clips and Classroom Deliberations.
Digital Civics Toolkit
The Digital Civics Toolkit is a collection of resources for educators to support youth to explore and recognize the civic potentials of digital life. The Toolkit explores a range of civic opportunities and dilemmas via 5 modules focused on: Exploring Community Issues, Investigation, Dialogue, Voice, and Action.
KidCitizen introduces a new way for young students (K-5) to engage with history through primary sources. In KidCitizen episodes, children interactively explore Congress and civic engagement through historical primary resources, and connect what they find with their daily lives. All episodes All are free to play, and a teacher’s guide accompanies each episode. KidCitizen is part of the Congress, Civic Participation, and Primary Sources Project, and is supported by a grant from the Library of Congress.
History & Politics Out Loud
This is site includes audio recordings of hundreds of historical and political speeches. For example, you can listen to Winston Churchill's Iron Curtain speech or Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream Speech.
The Interactive Museum of News (Newseum)
This interactive news "museum" allows the reader to view thousands of news stories, both historical and current. The Newseum has a digital classroom that includes primary sources, interactives, videos and lesson plans.
Lessons on Local Government
A free online resource for K-12 teachers. There is no better way to engage students in Civic life than with issues right out their back door. Written by teachers for teachers and based on the new Colorado Social Studies standards, LOLG provides dozens of lessons and links to other resources that makes local government come alive in your classroom. LOLG is provided free by the Colorado Municipal League and Special District Association of Colorado.
Landmark Cases of the U.S. Supreme Court
This site provides teachers with a full range of resources and activities to support the teaching of landmark Supreme Court Cases, helping students explore key issues of each case through primary and secondary source documents.
The Living Room Candidate
This site contains more than 300 commercials, from every presidential election since 1952, when Madison Avenue advertising executive Rosser Reeves convinced Dwight Eisenhower that short ads played during such popular TV programs as I Love Lucy would reach more voters than any other form of advertising.
The White House
This is the official site to the White House. The site contains historic information regarding presidents and their tenure in the Oval Office; as well as current events news and position statements on the issues.
The White House – Our Government
Everything teachers and students need to know about the structure and function of national, state, and local government.