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Bring the Past Alive with Free Teacher Resources

Looking for new resources to dive into the past? We have found some really fun resources for you and your family.


Here you’ll find a variety of materials for teaching and learning American history and civics, including videos, interactive learning games, lesson plans, and more.

The library contains 800 minutes of video including 27 productions that garnered 16 Emmys, more than 100 lesson plans, background texts, primary source media, interactive Web activities and access to archives of the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Gazette, which has distributed more than 400 lesson plans and other content. Course materials correlate to curriculum standards for all 50 states, focusing on American history from the 1607 Jamestown settlement through the Civil War, with cross-curricular ties to language arts, science, math, art and, music. More resources are added every month.

Video programs are designed for grades 4-8 but have been used successfully in other grade levels as well. Other resource types are listed by grade level, below, and can be sorted by era, subject, and theme.


Smithsonian's History Explorer

Grades K-12

Developed by the National Museum of American History in partnership with the Verizon Foundation to offer hundreds of free, innovative online resources for teaching and learning American history. History Explorer's resources focus on learning history by "reading" objects for the stories they hold about the nation and its many peoples. Learning activities feature artifacts selected from over 3 million items in the Museum's collections and draw on the expertise of the Museum's renowned curatorial staff.

The site is designed for use by K-12 teachers and students, families, and individuals interested in lifelong learning.


Stanford History Education

Grades 9-12

Each lesson revolves around a central historical question and features a set of primary documents designed for groups of students with a range of reading skills.

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 and learn to make historical claims backed by documentary evidence.


Stanford History Education

Grades 9-12

Explore the digital archive of the Library of Congress with over 80 easy-to-use assessments that measure students' historical thinking rather than recall of facts. There are 10 “flagship” assessments, each marked with a ribbon. Flagship assessments (e.g., The First Thanksgiving) have extended features, including annotated sample student responses and “Going Deeper” videos that provide insights into the assessments and ideas for how to use them. The rest of the assessments are “alternative version” assessments (e.g., Napoleon’s Retreat). Each alternative version assessment features different Library of Congress documents but takes the same form as its flagship.

Even if you don't use the flagship assessment, the student responses and videos are useful for understanding the alternative versions.


Grades 6-12

Based on the lens of history highlighted in Howard Zinn’s best-selling book A People’s History of the United States, the website offers free, downloadable lessons and articles organized by theme, time period and reading level.

A people’s history flips the script. When we look at history from the standpoint of the workers and not just the owners, the soldiers and not just the generals, the invaded and not just the invaders, we can begin to see society more fully, more accurately. The more clearly we see the past, the more clearly we’ll see the present — and be equipped to improve it.


Grades 9-12

Their mission is to engage students of diverse backgrounds in an examination of racism, prejudice, and antisemitism in order to promote the development of a more humane and informed citizenry.

Educator resources include a wide range of flexible, multimedia materials, from primary sources and streaming videos to teaching strategies, lesson plans, and full units. Find resources that will support your students' learning, whether you are teaching a complex moment in history or addressing today's breaking news.


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