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Social Studies Lesson Plans

Current Events

New York Times-Learning Network
Lesson plans based on articles appearing in the New York Times, helping teachers integrate current events into their curriculum.
TeachableMoment Classroom Lessons
Timely teaching ideas to encourage critical thinking on issues of the day and foster a positive classroom environment.


Online economic and personal finance lessons and resources for educators and students.
Produced by Rutgers University, this resource provides ideas for using children's literature to teach economics.
Economics Wisconsin
Links to resources that will be of value to the K-12 teacher economics teacher. The "Online Guide" organizes resources by Wisconsin Model Academic Standards.
Federal Reserve Education
Links to instructional materials and tools that can increase your understanding of the Federal Reserve, economics and financial education.
National Council on Economic Education Online Lessons
Standards-based classroom resources for K-12 teachers, students and parents.


Ben's Guide to U.S. Government for Kids
This site focuses on resources that teach about the United States government. It is tailored for educators, parents, and K-12 students.
The Democracy Project
Activities and lesson plans intended to further one's understanding of local, state and the federal government.
Founded by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in 2009, iCivics makes available curriculum units for grades 5-12 on various aspects of governance, such as budgeting, civil rights, the constitution, the three branches of government, etc.


Best of History Web Sites
This is "an award-winning portal that contains annotated links to over 1200 history web sites as well as links to hundreds of quality K-12 history lesson plans, history teacher guides, history activities, history games, history quizzes, and more." (Description taken from the website.)
H. S. I. Historical Scene Investigation
"The Historical Scene Investigation Project (HSI) was designed for social studies teachers who need a strong pedagogical mechanism for bringing primary sources into their classroom. With the advent and accessibility of the internet, many libraries, universities and government agencies are housing their historical documents online. Simultaneously, there has been a push in K-12 history education to give students experiences that more closely resemble the work of a real historian." "In partnership with the College of William & Mary School of Education, University of Kentucky School of Education, and the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Program" (from HSI website)
Historic Maps in K-12 Classrooms
"This resource for K-12 teachers and students developed by the Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography at the Newberry Library is designed to bring historically significant map documents into your classroom. Inside are high quality images of historic map documents that illustrate the geographical dimensions of American history." (description taken from the website)
History in Song
Lyrics of songs arranged by U.S. historical period. [Even though there are a lot of broken links, I thought it a unique enough resource that I should keep it on this list.]
Library of Congress: Lesson Plans Using Primary Sources
The Library of Congress offers lesson plans and classroom materials which utilize primary sources from the Library's vast digital collections.
Making of America
This is a digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction.
National Archives & Records Administration (NARA) Digital Classroom
Reproducible primary documents, educational units correlated to national academic standards, and cross-curricular connections.
Reading Like a Historian: Stanford History Education Group
"The Reading Like a Historian curriculum engages students in historical inquiry. Each lesson revolves around a central historical question and features sets of primary documents designed for groups of students with diverse reading skills and abilities. This curriculum teaches students how to investigate historical questions by employing reading strategies such as sourcing, contextualizing, corroborating, and close reading. Instead of memorizing historical facts, students evaluate the trustworthiness of multiple perspectives on historical issues. They learn to make historical claims backed by documentary evidence." (quote taken from the website)
Teaching History with Technology
This resource was "created to help K-12 history and social studies teachers incorporate technology effectively into their courses. Find resources for history and social studies lesson plans, activities, projects, games, and quizzes that use technology. Explore inquiry-based lessons, activities, and projects. Learn about web technologies such as blogs, podcasts, wikis, social networks, Google Docs, ebooks, online maps, virtual field trips, screencasts, online posters, and more. Explore innnovative ways of integrating these tools into the curriculum, watch instructional video tutorials, and learn how others are using technology in the classroom!" (This excerpt was taken from the "Teaching History with Technology" website.)
This website is funded by the U. S. Department of Education. Its purpose is to provide K-12 history teachers access to a multitude of resources (including lesson plans) to improve the teaching of U.S. history.
The Underground Railroad
Produced by National Geographic, this is an interactive site about the Underground Railroad. Includes maps, classroom ideas and other resources.
This Day in History
A very good resource for those assignments requiring students to access information about the day they were born.
U. S. History for Us All
Lesson Plans and other resources for teaching U.S. history. From UCLA's National Center for History in the Schools.
Wisconsin Historical Society – For Teachers
Resources intended to enliven the study of Wisconsin state and local history.
World History for Us All
A "model curriculum for teaching history in middle and high schools." (from the website) Includes teaching units. From UCLA's "National Center for History in the Schools."

Tolerance & Social Responsibility

ADL Curriculum Connections: Anti-Bias Lesson Plans and Resources for K-12 Educators
"Curriculum Connections is a collection of original lesson plans and resources that help K-12 educators integrate multicultural, anti-bias, and social justice themes into their curricula. Each edition is organized around a particular topic or theme, and a new edition is published approximately two times per school year." (Description taken from the website.)
Educators for Social Responsibility - Online Teacher Center
Provides teaching resources on a range of issues related to international security, conflict resolution, peacemaking, violence prevention, and social responsibility.
Teaching Tolerance
"Founded in 1991 by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Teaching Tolerance is dedicated to reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and supporting equitable school experiences for our nation's children." (from the website)


Links to Other Wisconsin Resources for the K-12 Classroom
Lesson plans pertaining to Wisconsin. Other resources which can be used to support educating youth about Wisconsin.
Wisconsin Historical Society – For Teachers
Resources intended to enliven the study of Wisconsin state and local history.

Other Great Social Studies Lesson Plan Resources

C-Span Classroom
Free primary source materials for social studies teachers
Core Knowledge Lesson Plans
Unit plans developed by teachers in Core Knowledge schools and presented at Core Knowledge National Conferences.
Discovery Education
Lesson plans written by teachers for teachers. Browse by subject and grade.
Lesson plans and websites from the National Endowment for the Humanities in partnership with the National Trust for the Humanities and the MarcoPolo Education Foundation. Many of the lesson or unit plans have accompanying worksheets.
Lesson plans and other resources for the K-12 teacher. Option provided to search for resources by Wisconsin Model Academic Standards and Common Core Standards. As a staff member or student at UWO, or as a teacher you can register for this resource without charge.
Learn NC
This is an excellent resource for lesson plans. It comes out of the University of North Carolina School of Education.
NY Times Daily Lesson Plan
Hundreds of lesson plans for grades 6-12 based on articles that have appeared in the New York Times. This is a joint endeavor with the Bank Street School of Education. Many interesting features.
PBS Learning Media
“PBS LearningMedia™ provides educators with strategies, tools, and professional development resources needed to fully utilize digital learning." (from the website)
Primary Source: Resource Guides and Bibliographies
Books "films, lesson plans, websites, and news sources for teaching and learning about global education and world regions, cultures, and histories." Many primary source materials included. (quote from the Primary Source website)
Resources for Teaching Social Studies in the Elementary School
University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Professor Ava McCall's website.
SCORE: Schools of California Online Resources for Education
Lesson plans and other teacher resources arranged by grade level and content area. This was last updated in 2006, but it appears to be still useful.
Teach Mideast
"TeachMideast is a website designed for K-12 educators featuring a plethora of innovative new resources on the Middle East and Islam. The site includes essays, classroom activities, downloadable multimedia content and interactive Google Earth tours." (description taken from the website)
Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute
Very detailed and lengthy unit plans about a variety of topics.

Revised June 2015

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