Social Studies Lesson Plans and Resources

Last updated 1-31-24.

This page contains lesson plans for all social studies subjects except geography, history, psychology, sociology, anthropology,  and archaeology. Lesson for those subjects have been moved to separate pages, but can still be accessed from the index.

Index: Large Collections of Social Studies Lessons; Civics; Current Events; Elections; Economics; Families; Genealogy; Geography; History; United Nations; Human Rights; Immigration; Presidents/White House; Psychology; Sociology; Anthropology; Archaeology; Rubrics for Social Studies; Return to Educational Resources and Lesson Plans; Go to the National Standards for Social Studies

Large Collections of Lessons for Multiple Social Studies Subjects
EDSITEment History and Social Studies
Many high-quality lesson plans from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Smithsonian Learning Lab
Search their collection of educational resources.

NCSS Teachers Library Collection
From National Council for the Social Studies. Use the search option to find lesson plans.

National Archives Educational Resources
See also Teaching with Documents for more lesson plans.

Library of Congress Lesson Plans
High quality lesson plans for a variety of subjects and topics.

Many social studies lesson plans, including some unique to this site.

Teachers.Net Social Studies
Another long list of lessons.

Lesson Planning Center - Social Studies
Many lesson plans from Education World.

Lesson Plans and Teaching Strategies
From CSU, Northridge. Scroll down the list for links to lesson plan sources.

Utah Curriculum Resources
Many social studies lesson plans organized by grade level.

Civics Lesson Plans and Resources   
Center for Civic Education: Teaching Resources
Includes many free lesson plans. 

Civics Responsibility Guide: Resources to Promote Civic Engagement
Excellent civics education resources from Pudue Global Law School.

iCivics Curriculum Finder
Several units for a variety of topics.

Civics and Government
Lesson plans from the Library of Congress! See also Government, Law, and Politics.

Representative vs. Direct Democracy
A brief lesson plan.

The National Archives Lesson Plans
Many lesson plans and resources using primary-source historic documents (DOCS TEACH), such as Teaching Six Big Ideas in the Constitution. and
Congress and the Creation of the Bill of Rights.

Observing Constitution Day
A wonderful lesson plan from the National Archives which uses original historical documents accessible via the Internet.

National Constitution Center Classroom Resources Library
Click on Educ Educators to see their lesson plans.

Lesson plans from the New York Times Learning Network.

U.S. Government Lesson Plans
High school lesson plans from Share My Lesson.

Teaching with Historic Places
Lesson plans from the National Parks Service.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Lesson plans and Activities including Bill of Rights and Other Amendments.

Follow the Money
High school civics lesson plans for tracking the influence of money in politics.

U.S. Government Lesson Plans
An entire semester (18 weeks) of high school lesson plans by George Cassutto

Teachers of Government
High school lesson plans prepared by participants in the Riley Institute's program by the above name.

The Declaration Versus the Communist Manifesto
A "slide share."

Democracy and Me
A collection of lesson plans  "for teaching the political and electoral process in the United States.

Appreciating Democracy
A high school lesson plan.

What Is Democracy?
A lesson plan for grades 7 and 8 from Learning to Give.

The Powers of the President
A lesson plan designed to help students become familiar with the many roles of the president.

The Constitution, Juvenile Justice, and You
A lesson plan developed for Special Education Students in grades 9-12.

Ask a
Great site for crime prevention information  and lesson plans.

What Does a Lawyer Do?
Go to this page and find out!

The Supreme Court for Educators
Lesson plans from PBS. See also The Supreme Court: The Judicial Power of the United States and Supreme Court Activity.

Landmark Supreme Court Cases
Many lesson plans from the Bill of Rights Institute.

Crime and Punishment
Seven units developed by fellows of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute covering topics in the theory and practice of crime and punishment in contemporary America from the standpoint of politics and political theory.

Who Serves Time? Breaking Down Stereotypes about Juvenile Offenders
A lesson plan for grades 6-12 from LA Youth.

Justice for All
Another 6-12 lesson plan from the above source.

Protecting the Accused
A middle-grade lesson plan from PBS.

United States vs. Thomas Cooper: A Violation of the Sedition Law
A lesson plan using original documents accessible via the Internet from the National Archives.

Titanic  Mock trial
An elaborate teacher's guide.

Election Lesson Plans and Resources
State, Local, and Midterm Election Resources
From iCivics. Scroll down the page to find lesson plans.

Mini-Lesson: Midterm Elections
A high school lesson plan from the above site.

Seven Engaging Civics Lesson Plans
Election lesson plans from PBS.

Do the Midterm Elections Matter?
A lesson plan for grades 7-12 from PBS. See also The Politics Game: Playing Midterm Election Bingo.

Monitoring the Midterms: Down-ballot Voting and the Role of Local and State Elections
A lesson plan for grades 7-12 from PBS. See their other Election 2018 lesson plans.

Election Lesson Plans
Several Lesson plans from the Citizen Advocacy Center.

The Electoral College
A lesson plan for grades 3-12 from Education World. See also see The Electoral Process and U.S. Electoral College Teaching Resources.

Winning the Vote: How Americans Elect a President
Three lesson plans from the Smithsonian.  

Today is Election Day
An activity from Read-Write-Think.

Mock Election
A 3-day simulation lesson from iCivics.  See also
More than Mock Elections (Unit from Scholastic)

Elections: Everything You Need
 This "Teaching Theme" from Scholastic includes many lesson plans and resources.  

Stephen Colbert and the Role of Political Satire
A video, student reading, and discussion questions from the Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility. See also Caucus in Our Classroom and
Wealth and Taxes: What's Fair?

The Mystery of Voters Who Don't Vote
A high school lesson plan from EconEdLink.

Kids Voting USA
Resources and curricula. You will have to register (it's free).

Project Vote Smart Classroom Activities and Resources
Lesson plans for all grade levels.

Political Parties and Conventions,
A middle or high school lesson plan. See also Political Parties: Two is Company, Three's a Crowd.

Voting and Elections: Resources  for a Civil Classroom

esources to "help students recognize and respond to bias . . ."

Teaching about Presidential Primaries
Lesson plans from Education world. See also
Primaries, Voting, and Elections.

Understanding the Nominating Process
A reading, glossary, resources, and discussion questions from The Bill of Rights Institute.

Copernicus Election Watch
Another source for election lesson plans.

Current Events Lesson Plans and Resources
Free Coronavirus Science Lesson Plans
One for elementary level and one for secondary.

Teachable Moment Lessons: Current Issues
Many activities for high school students related to current events from the Morningside Center for Social Responsibility.

Twenty Five Great Ideas for Teaching Current Events

From Education World. See also Curriculum: Why Teach Current Events?

New York Times Learning Network
The above link takes you to their current events lesson plans Scroll down the page to find lesson plans by subject area.

Teaching about the Israel-Hamas War
A lesson plan from the NY Times. See also Fears Grow Bigger as Israel-Hamas Fighting Continues and Resources to Help Understand the Hamas Terrist Attack and the Ensuing War.

NewsHour Extra: Lesson Plans
Many current events lesson plans for a variety of subject areas including President Trump's First 100 Days.

The Life and legacy of Queen Elizabeth
A lesson plan from the NY Times.

Updates on Russia's Invasion of Ukraine
A lesson plan from PBS. See also Teaching Resources to Help Students Make Sense of the War in Ukraine.

Black Lives Matter, the Killing of George Floyd, and the Long fight for Racial Justice
A lesson plan from Brown University. See also Teaching about the George Floyd Murder Trial.

Black Live Matter
Lesson plans for all grade levels.

Talking about Race and Privilege
A lesson plan for middle and high school students.

Lesson of the Day: Teaching about 'Critical; Race theory: A Brief History'
A lesson plan from the NY Times. See also Teaching about the Critical Race Theory Debate.

After 20 Years, Taliban Returns to Power in Afghanistan
A lesson plan from PBS.

The Syria Conflict
A lesson plan from the Choices Program which offers other lessons including Immigration and the U.S. Policy Debate.

Teacher's Guide to the Syria Lesson Toolkit
From I Am Syria.

The Nuclear Option Vocabulary

Flash cards from Quizlet.

Teaching with the News
"Lessons to connect the content of the classroom to the headlines in the news."

Breaking News English
Current events lesson plans for EFL/ESL. See also English Current.

War and Terrorism
Many lesson plans from the National Council for the Social Studies.

Center for Middle East Studies
This link takes you to their lesson plans, many of which are related to current events.

Current Events in the Classroom -  Student News Daily.

Economics Lesson Plans and Resources
A variety of online and classroom learning activities based on economic topics in the news, all designed to help integrate economic concepts across the curriculum as outlined in the
National Content Standards in Economics.

Economics in Demand
Four units, each with multiple lesson plans.

Sustainable Economics Curriculum
Eight lesson plans.

Center for Economic Education
Many lesson plans  for all grade levels tied to the National Standards. Click on Teacher Resources to access them.

Virginia Council on Economics Education
Many K-12 resources including lesson plans and handouts.

The Mint |
A resource on money management. See their ideas for teachers.

Lesson Plan Library - Economics
Many lesson plans organized by topic from MCREL.

Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Many resources and lesson plans including Federal Reserve Education and  Quantitative Easing Explained.

Economic Forecasting: An Internet WebQuest
See also National Budget Simulation and Interactive National Budget Simulator.

Foundation for Teaching Economics Lesson Plans
Either search by topic or click on one of the topics.

Teaching Economics as if People Mattered
Five high school lesson plans including Defining Economics and the American Dream.

Macroeconomics Lesson 3: Price Indexes and Inflation
An elaborate lesson plan in pdf format.

Practical Money Skills
Many lesson plans for grades 9-12.

Basics in Building a Budget
For grades 6-8 from Scholastic. See also It's Your Paychedk: Curriculum Unit and High School Budgeting Activity.

A Curriculum of United States Labor History for Teachers
An entire curriculum complete with handouts.

Issues of International Trade

Many lesson plans. See their entire curriculum of lesson plans for the virtual classroom.

Tariffs, trade, and Tension
A lesson plan from the Bill of rights Institute.

Teaching Activities for "The Real risks of Trump's Steel and Aluminum Tariffs"
From the NY Times.

Bridges & Barriers to Trade
A lesson plan from The Foundation for Teaching Economics. See their other lesson plans.

String Trade
A 9th-gr ade lesson plan using economic and geographic themes to demonstrate the concept of global interdependence.

Investing Money Lesson Plans
From Money

The Stock Market
A five-lesson unit.

Families Lesson Plans and Resources
We are Family
A three-lesson kindergarten unit from Scholastic.

Our Family
A K-2 lesson plan in which
students to explore the family or household unit. See also the three-lesson unit, Our Playful Community.

Learning About Families from Click, Clack, Moo
A K-2 lesson plan fro  Read-Write-Think.

Families Are Different
Grade 2 activities for Nina Pellegrini's book by this title.

Family Tapestry
A lesson plan for grades K-5 exploring different family structures.

The Important Thing About a Family
A 1st-grade lesson plan in which students identify the ways families provide basic needs to their members and then create and publish a booklet to display this information. This lesson is designed to have a class of older children work with the first-graders to help with the reading and writing. See also Family Responsibilities for another 1st-grade lesson plan from this source. various family members.

Introducing TV Families
A lesson plan for grades 2-5 designed  make students aware of how families are portrayed on television and the differences between TV families and real families. See also Comparing Real Families to TV  Families and The Constructed World of TV Families.

Family ESL Lesson Plan
For the intermediate grades.

Cultural Diversity: The American Family - Past, Present, and Future
A 7th-grade unit that explores the family from a sociological point of view to see how “family” in America has changed, especially in the last twenty-five years, and how societal changes have had an impact on family life. It also looks at families from different cultural backgrounds.

Family History/Genealogy Lesson Plans
Genealogy Activities for Kids
Grom the National Archives.

Family Tree and Genealogy Projects for Kids
From Family Tree.

Family History in the Classroom
Information and several lesson plans from

Family Identities
Lesson plans on family history from Moving People Changing Places.

Basic Genealogy
A 5th-grade lesson plan.

Create a DYI Family Totem Pole
Complete with illustrations.

A lesson plan for grades 7-8

Lesson plans for geography and history have been moved to their own sites.

United Nations Lesson Plans
The United Nations Home Page
Seems like they are always changing and rearranging resources, but their jome page is a good place to start looking for resources. See also 
History of the UN
United Nations System of Organizations.

The United Nations, 1945-1953: The Development of a World Organization
Documents, photographs, and other resources from The Harry S. Truman Library and Museum.

Introduction to the United Nations
An elaborate middle school curriculum supplement.

History of the United Nations
A concise history of the U.N.

The United Nations and Reform
A lesson plan for grades 7-12 from PBS News Hour Extra.

UNESCO Home Page
Information about the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.

Model UN Resources
Activity guides, lesson plans, simulations, and more from the United Nations Association of the  United States. See also Teaching and Training Model UN Resources.

Human Rights
A lesson plan "
about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations."

Human Rights Lesson Plans and Resources
University of Minnesota Human Rights Library
The above link takes you to their educational resources including lesson plans.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights Resources
10 Resources for teaching about the Universal Declaration.

UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency) Lesson Plans in Human Rights and Refugees for Ages 9-11
See their lesson plans for ages 12-14 and 15-18.

Human Rights for Educators
Curriculum guides, teaching guides, and lesson plans  from Amnesty International USA.

Partners in Human Rights Education
Lesson plans for all grade levels.

An Introduction to Human Rights and responsibilities
A lesson plan for ages 10-12.

Children's Rights
A lesson plan from Oxfam Education. See their other educational resources.

Human Rights in the U.S. and the International Community
Several multi-lesson units from the University of Nebraska.

Stand with Malala for Girls' Education Worldwide
A lesson plan that explores "
the importance of educating girls and examine the barriers that keep girls out of school . . "

Population Diversity and Human Rights
A high school lesson plan from Discovery Education.

Health and Human Rights
A lesson plan for grades 7-10 in which
students explore the concept that health is a basic human right.

Poverty and Human Rights
A high school lesson plan from Amnesty International

Youth for Human Rights
Order your free human-rights education packet.

Immigration Lesson Plans and Resources
Teach Immigration History
See the index at the left to access their lesson plans.

Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Foundation. Inc.
Great source for information on immigration.

Coming to America: Immigration Builds a Nation
An Article and other resources from Education World.

Ellis Island Unit
A middle-grade through high school unit that allows students to take a virtual field trip to this famous historical site.

Immigration : Stories of Yesterday and Today

A teacher's guide, activities, and resources from Scholastic.

Immigration: Stories, Struggles, and Debates
The "curriculum companion for Immigration: The Ultimate Teen Guide." It includes five lesson plans.

Angel Island Immigrant Curriculum Guides
Many lesson plans, work sheets, and primary-source documents about this immigration station through which many Asian immigrants passed . See also Discovering Angel Island: The Story Behind the Poems and
Angel Island: An Asian Pacific American Heritage Activity.

Immigration and the U.S. Policy Debate
A lesson plan from the Choices Program.

Where Do I Come From?
A lesson plan for grades 3-5 in which students explore connections to their ancestral homelands.

Coming to America: US Immigration
A 6th-grade unit in pdf format. See also Hopes of Our Ancestors: The Impact of Immigration on America for another 6th-grade unit.

Coming to America
A lesson plan from the NY Times.

Immigration to the United States
A lesson plan for grades 6-8 from Discovery Education.

Immigration: Our Changing Voices
A secondary unit using documents from the American Memory collection. See also Immigration and Oral History for another lesson plan from this source, or see all of their immigration lesson plans.

Immigration Law: Deport or Not? You Decide
A lesson plan for grades 9-12.

Immigration Laws and Enforcement
A lesson plan from Immigration History.

A New America
A lesson plan about the Hart-Celler Immigration Act of 1965 for grades 7-8. See also The 1965 Immigration Act and the Myth of the Model Minority
and 50 Years On, The 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act Continues to Reshape America.

Understanding Immigration Reform
A lesson plan from PBS News Hour Extra. See also Undocumented/Illegal Immigration.

Immigration Information from Theodora
Everything you  want (or don't want) to know about immigration.

Presidents and the White House
The Presidents
White House source for information, pictures, etc. for all U. S. presidents including Joe Biden and  Donald J. Trump. Use the left-side menu to find the president about whom you want information.

The American Presidency
Lesson plans in pdf organized by grade level.

Joe Biden
Info from Britannica.

Donald Trump
News and resources from PBS News Hour Extra.

President Trump's First 100 Days
A lesson plan for grades 7-12 from PBS News Hour Extra. See also The Inauguration of a New President: A Lesson Plan on Predicting and Evaluating the First 100 Days of a Trump White House.

Analyzing Trump's Immigration Ban
A lesson plan from the NY Times.

The Power of Executive Action and What Trump Can Do After Taking Office
A lesson plan from KQED Learning.

Before and Beyond the Constitution: What Should a President Do?
A three-lesson unit for grades 6-8.

Powers of the President
A lesson plan from KQED Learning.

Presidential Power: Its Use and Abuse
A high school lesson plan from Teachable Moment. There are five other related lesson plans with links provided here.

Presidential Portraits
Portraits of and information about each president from the National Gallery at the Smithsonian. See their American Presidents lesson plans.

Winning the Vote: How Americans Elect a President
Three lesson plans also from the Smithsonian.  

Presidents' Day WebQuest
For middle grades. See also
President WebQuest.

Teaching Ideas for Presidents Day
More lesson ideas. These are from Bright Hub Education.

Presidents' Day Activities
Ideas from Education World.

Presidents' Day Theme
Many lesson plans and activities from A to Z Teacher Stuff.

Presidents' Day Lesson Plans, Activities, and Clip Art
From Mr. Donn.

President's Day Quiz
An activity for ESL students that could probably be adapted to other student groups.
See also Presidents' Day Quiz for Beginners and Presidents' Day Quiz for Experts.

White House Home Page
This is a really good site!

White House Historical Asso0ciation Educational Programs and Resources
Many lesson plans and resources.

Scavenger Hunt in the Whitehouse
A lesson plan from
The National First Ladies' Library.  

Every Day is Presidents' Day at the Whitehouse
A lesson plan for grades K-3 from Education World.

The Story of the White House Teaching Plan
For grades 3-5 from Scholastic.

Rubrics for Social Studies
Kathy Schrock's Guide to Everything: Assessment and Rubrics
Information and examples of various types of rubrics, including ones for student web projects, cooperative learning activities, labs, group participation, multimedia presentations, oral presentations, portfolio exhibits, and research papers.

A "general rubric" and two others from The Social Studies Help Center.   

Social Studies Rubric Makers
from Teachnology.

Printable Social Studies Rubrics
A whole bunch!

Student Friendly Rubrics for Social Studies
Hoigh School gateway Assessment.

Social Sciences Rubrics
A large number of rubrics from Rcampus.

Social Studies Compare and Contrast Summary Rubric
A rubric for comparison papers.

Timeline Rubric

Oral Presentation Rubric
For another presentation rubric see Oral Presentation Rubric.


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