General Social Studies Sites
- Links for websites relevant to the Alberta Social Studies curriculum, from the Social Studies Specialist Council of the Alberta Teachers Association.
- The Open Learning Network’s Community Learning Network of British Columbia well-organized collection of links to useful websites.
- Developed by an educator, this site provides strategies for teachers to help students with content reading and comprehension.
- Internet-based economic lesson materials for K-12 teachers and their students.
- Provides access to law-related resources coded by their relationship to the Alberta curriculum.
- This site provides the tools for students to build up an argument or description of an event, person or historical period by placing items in a virtual box. Teachers can register to review and assess their students' projects.
- News and classroom activities designed to develop tolerance in students, from the Southern Poverty Law Center.
- Annotated lists of children's books related to the big topics of social studies. Some are accompanied by articles explaining how the teacher used particular titles in the classroom; e.g. click on Rules and Laws: Primary for an essay about using a variety of picture books to explore the issue of classroom rules.
- Created by teachers in Southern Alberta to help other teacher incorporate more music into their classrooms, especially in Social Studies. Lists songs, with lyrics and links to audio, under big themes such as Political Music, Environmental Issues, Canadian History etc and also provides teaching ideas.
- A Canadian project that offers practical ways of encouraging promoting and assessing students’ historical thinking in K-12 classroom settings. Includes information and lessons related to six different aspects of historical thinking.
- From the National Center for the Study of History in Schools at UCLA.
- Long-time social studies and ICT expert Jamie McKenzie writes about a dozen strategies to bring history to life for students (and make them think deeply in the process).
Geographical Thinking (see also Global Issues: Visualizations)
- From National Geographic, organized by grade level or thematically.
- A striking set of maps illustrating the familiar world re-sized according to such statistics as births, attended births, cars, tourists, population etc. Note that the reason the maps look very distorted is that they are "equal area cartograms", otherwise known as density-equalising maps. The cartogram re-sizes each territory according to the variable being mapped. See also their dramatic video 57 Million Deaths and watch the dimensions of different continents change depending on the age group of those who die.
- Mapping our World is a whiteboard teaching product for 8 to 14 year olds from Oxfam. It explores the relationship between maps and globes, and how different projections influence our perception of the world. It challenges the idea that there is one 'correct' version of the world map.
- The YouTube clip from an episode of West Wing makes a humourous but effective point about how maps shape our understanding of the world, as an imagined group of geographers advocate for use of the "Peters Projection Map."
- A three-part video series from TVO (Ontario's educational television station) explores the fascinating history of maps, and how they are snapshots of moments in history.
- An outline of Africa, with other countries superimposed on it (including the United States, China and several European countries) vividly demonstrates Africa's real geographic size.
- Drag each country name to its proper place on this map of the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia.
- Canada's centre for digital and media literacy.
- A series of five lessons engaging students in thinking about how media perspectives differ depending on the country, target audience, and political and social context. Includes media documents representing Africa, Europe, Latin America and Asia on topics such as Islamic cultural identity in Europe and Asia, Latin American immigration, the food crisis in Africa and India's rise in the global economy. For secondary classrooms.
- Meant to help students acquire the skills to see through the 'spin'. Includes 'Tools of the Trade,' which outlines a five-step framework for analyzing information and avoiding deception, and lesson plans which focus on the basic concepts of reasoning and understanding the messages of advertising and politics. (fairly American focused however)
- A Digital Media Literacy Curriculum, complete with teacher guides, student handouts, student worksheets, teacher answer sheets, slideshows and video clips. Its purpose is to challenge stereotypical, simplistic and uninformed thinking about the Middle East while teaching core information and vocabulary about the Arab/Israeli conflict, the war in Iraq, and the resurgence of Islam. A collaborative project of Ithaca College and the National Association for Media Literacy Education.
- FAIR is a media watch group that offers well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship.
- An award-winning portal that contains annotated links to over 1000 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.
- Websites created in conjunction with programs that have an historical focus, on PBS's Nova series.
- From the Mariners' Museum in Virginia. Trace explorers throughout the ages, from the days of ancient Egypt to the search for the North Pole, and look at their ships and their tools of navigation.
- A very complete introduction to the African American experience, beginning with the trans-Atlantic slave trade but focusing also on the twelve other defining migrations through which peoples of African descent remade themselves and their worlds. Another good source for this topic is Captive Passage from the Mariner's Museum of Virginia, which provides information and images about the Transatlantic slave trade and the making of the Americas.
- Bill Bigelow, curriculum editor of Rethinking Schools shares the role-playing scenario he developed to help students understand that the abolition of slavery wasn’t simply a matter of one thing happening after another—it wasn’t the smooth unfolding of History leading to Freedom. "I wanted students to see that history is a series of choice-points and there is nothing inevitable about the direction of society, that where things move depends on how we analyze the world and how we act on that analysis."
- A terrific visual narrative on Commodore Perry and the Opening of Japan, from MIT's Visualizing Cultures website.
- A very extensive multimedia history of World War One, including a large number of primary documents as well as photographs, propaganda posters, archival recordings etc.
- Many of the films in this PBS series about the history of the United States can be freely viewed online, and some of the topics have resonance far beyond the United States (and certainly for Canada); e.g The Crash of 1929.
- A very comprehensive website about the Cold War, made available through ABC-Clio Schools' 'History and the Headlines' initiative. Includes a detailed introduction, primary documents, video clips, essays on a wide variety of related topics and teaching activities.
- Explore documentary evidence around several significant topics in world history, each designed to help student analyze primary sources. From the Center for History and New Media.
- A collection of, or links to, public domain and copy-permitted historical texts presented (in English) for educational use. There are sourcebooks for Ancient, Medieval and Modern History and for many different parts of the world.
- These lessons from the National Archives of Britain primarily focus on topics in British history, but they are excellent examples of engaging students in historical thinking using primary documents and images.
- Excellent examples of helping students understand the interpretation of primary sources, although all these 'investigative' topics come from American History.
- Resources to help you use primary documents in the classroom. From the National Archives of the United States.
- Examples of Social Studies projects using primary sources developed by students in an advanced Social Studies Methods course at the University of Texas at Austin.
- Selected transcriptions, facsimiles and translations from the histories of European countries.
- Access to almost 3000 archival records, organized around 50 case studies, helps build student understanding about the wars, and peace initiatives, of the 20th century, and also of the role of primary documents in studying history. A collaboration between McMaster University, Hamilton Public Library and the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum.
- The Education section of the website is designed primarily for use by teachers and students to learn more about the experiences of British forces held in captivity in the Far East during the Second World War (many Canadians were also held prisoner). Listen to recorded interviews with 62 men, now all in their late 80s and 90s, sharing memories of their experiences in captivity in the Far East.
- 12 topical essays, 250 images and 350 text documents.
- Recommended for the interactive way it leads younger students through thinking about historical evidence, using documents and artifacts, as well as learning about life during the Tudor period.
- Find vintage advertisements for a huge number of different products and even ideas (includes propaganda posters)dating back to the 1800s. See also their companion Cover Browser site with over 450,000 covers of comics, books etc.
- A fun way to look back in time through a collection of images from different time periods and eras (much stronger for the twentieth century). Click on any image for additional related images. Also browsable by categories such as ads, books, fashion and beauty, events etc. Must set up free account or log-in with Facebook, and beware that real advertisements are interspersed on every page.
- World War II American propaganda shows various techniques used to convince civilians to support the war. Primarily posters, but also some audio/video files - including Bugs Bunny selling war bonds.
- This digital collection answers a need for clear, intelligible and informative English-language sources relating to China and the West, and to almost any aspect of Chinese history during these two centuries of monumental change. Includes primary documents, letters, maps, drawings and photographs. PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS ACCESSIBLE ONLY TO UNIVERSITY OF CALGARY STUDENTS SINCE IT IS A LICENSED RESOURCE.
- In this TED talk, Nigerian Novelist Chimamanda Adichie eloquently talks about the consequences of our only knowing a single story about another person or country.
- The Inglehart-Welzel Cultural Map of the World graphically shows the strong correlation of values in different cultures of the world and various graphs show more detail.
- From the BBC News: a guide to the history, politics and economic background of every country in the world. Provides timelines for each country and often audio or video clips from BBC archives.
- Launched at MIT in 2002 to explore the potential of the Web for developing innovative image-driven scholarship and learning, the VC mission is to use new technology and hitherto inaccessible visual materials to reconstruct the past as people of the time visualized the world (or imagined it to be). Topical units to date focus on Japan in the modern world and early-modern China.
- Myths about the universe - the solar system, the earth, the sun, the moon and the stars from many different cultures of the world. Website from the Windows to the Universe project run by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.
- Information about Christmas customs in many different countries, and about other "Holidays of Light": Chinese New Year, Diwali, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan.
- In this amazing animation, from the BBC, Hans Rosling graphs the correlation between income growth and life expectancy in 200 countries over the last 200 hundred years.
- Map and compare global trends. Explore related essays, photo galleries, and information graphics. From National Geographic.
- Roll your cursor over any country in the world to see statistics in many different categories, from population to ICT. This site also gives you the ability to create interactive maps and has many examples that can be shown, full screen, in a classroom.
- An interactive web site that allows the user to generate graphs comparing different countries in the world with regard to aspects of population, health, economy etc. Part of the United Nations cyberschoolbus website. Alberta educators and students can create similar graphs through "Culturegrams," accessible through the LearnAlberta.ca website.
- An interactive map produced by CIDA and Canadian Geographic that produces comparative bar graphs on any two different countries of the world, plus provides statistical information on the selected countries on themes such as development, population, poverty,health, education etc. Also provides teacher resources such as lesson plans.
- This Google labs project makes large datasets easy to explore, visualize and communicate by creating visualizations from them. You can choose which data set you want to explore, and choose which countries to compare.
- An interactive tool that lets you decide what qualities of life deserve priority, and then see how different countries rank on these attributes.
- Watch the world map change over the last 200 years in a graphic view of how poverty has changed, marked in relation to significant world events.
- An interactive world map that shows carbon dioxide emissions for each country of the world, as well as birth and death rates. Place your cursor over a country to have the information appear.
- Click on any country to see where it ranks in the global peace index; click again to see how it scores on the factors taken into consideration in the ranking. Also see how its ranking has changing between 2007 and 2010.
- An interactive map that brings up facts about literacy rates when you click on individual countries.
- Annie Leonard's project to create short, easily shareable online movies that explore some of the key features of our relationship with 'Stuff,' including the story of bottled water, electronics, cosmetics etc.
- A visualization of all things in the world that the media reports billions of dollars are being spent on - see where the majority of the money is actually going.
- A very condensed history lesson as we watch the map change as empires and nations emerge and disappear.
- This interactive map vividly shows the rise in unemployment rates in the United States between January 2007 and November 2010.
Lesson Plan Ideas
- "It’s time to make living ethically, sustainably, and peaceably on this planet the very purpose of education." Offers humane education activities for schools, and various professional opportunities for teachers.
- Interactive exercises offering unique perspectives on prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination and over 2,000 links to prejudice related resources.
- Links to thoughtful essays and classroom teaching ideas, developed in response to the Sept 11th attacks; created by Rethinking Schools.
- A CIDA developed activity appropriate for any year of the senior high Social Studies curriculum. Students participate in a simulation that demonstrates the inequalities and inequities in the use and control over global resources.
- The Canadian Hunger Foundation provides lessons for all grade levels designed to help students to look deeper at global issues. Students will learn about the realities faced by rural communities in developing countries and their determination to build on their strengths to get out of poverty. Lessons are downloadable as zipped files.
- Created by the Ontario School Library Association, this website has wealth of resources and lesson ideas to: raise awareness of children’s rights, create a sense of understanding of world citizenship, and empower youth to make a difference.
- Click on either "Ideas:Assignments" or "Education" for thoughtful suggestions for exploring the concept of globalisation more deeply.
- A series of lessons connected to the idea of fair trade, including several called 'No Sweat' and a series of lessons about the Industrial Revolution. It might be useful to incorporate their downloadable powerpoint. Make Trade Fair .
- There are many resources on this site that can help teachers explore the subject of world hunger with their classes including facts & figures, interactive maps and games.
- A non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing cross-cultural understanding between the world's youth, through interactive technologies such as videoconferencing. This website also has short videoclips of life in other countries, and lesson plans related to their current programs.
- A cardboard cutout tours the world and his student creator follow his adventures and meet other "Stanleys" from around the world. A popular classroom activity.
- An interactive website which introduces the stories of five extraordinary men and women who do not simply stand by in the face of injustice. By registering, students can respond online to these people's stories. Resources are provided to help teachers use this in the classroom. A project of the Facing History and Ourselves organization.
- An interactive game that puts players into the position of being a refugee. Created by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to increase students knowledge and awareness about what it's like to have to flee your country.
- "An interactive Web site that explores how surveillance techniques have been used against citizens and residents of the United States since World War I. The Web site contains lesson plans for grades 9-12; however they may be appropriate for some middle school students."
- A very comprehensive website about the situation in Sudan, made available through ABC-Clio Schools' 'History and the Headlines' initiative. Includes a detailed introduction, primary documents, video clips, essays on a wide variety of related topics and teaching activities.
- An extremely comprehensive resource centre for educators who want students to explore international humanitarian law and the ethical and humanitarian issues that arise during armed conflict, and to develop their capacity to analyze complex situations. It uses many primary source materials (videos, photos, letters etc) and educators are advised to read the methodology sections and view the teacher training workshops.
- Ideas for teaching about current events from the New York Times. As well as referencing their own articles they create links to other great resources on the topic.
- A multi-source online video news site that monitors, analyzes and presents the world's news coverage. Newsy claims that, through its coverage, it tries to show how the world's news organizations are reporting a story.
- The English language website of the most watched channel in the Middle East.
- Created at McGill University, this site links you to over 2300 websites about Canadian history that have been specially chosen for students aged 9 to 12. History Trek is available in both English and French versions.
- The online version of the authoritative biographical resource about important figures in Canadian history, currently encompassing persons who died between the years 1000 and 1930.
- All the acts related to the Constitution passed since 1867 up to and including 1993.
- A variety of webquests about unsolved mysteries in Canadian history, grouped for students of various ages, from a consortium of Canadian educational institutions.
- Resources and lesson plans about civics, geography and history, based on information gathered by Stats Canada.
- This graph shows, better than words, where the bulk of Canada's population lives.
- Although this Canadian Policy Research Network report dates from 2002, its attempt to capture what citizens believe essential to quality of life and to assess Canada against that standard is still of interest because 'quality of life' is one of the concerns in the Alberta Social Studies curriculum.
- An extremely well done exploration of the storming of Juno Beach on D-Day in 1944, this combines video and interactive elements, as well as numerous interviews.
- A great resource for Canadian history with teaching units, lesson plans, ideas guides on using primary sources. The "Evidence Web" offers a valuable selection of original documents. See also their Framing Canada website which offers access to an extensive collection of digitized historical photographs.
- The mission of Canadiana.org is to support enduring access to Canada’s digital documentary heritage. It's Canadiana Discovery Portal provides free access to valuable and diverse digital collections of many of Canada’s libraries, museums and archives.
- Historical photographs, cartoons and photos of historical artifacts, organized by different themes in Canadian history, especially the period 1840-1945. A nice feature is that you can make the photos fill the full screen. Also provides five types of fairly complex Web activities that can be done on-line.
- A new way to search through the collections of The Canadian Encyclopedia, Historica, Library and Archives Canada, and the McCord Museum to find lesson plans, articles, visual and multimedia resources. (although this theoretically includes the two sources listed above, there is much to be gained by going directly to Library and Archives Canada and the McCord Museum)
- Discover a variety of lesson plans and learning resources from Canadian museums to help develop learning and classroom activities.
- Bring historical television clips or radio broadcasts into your classroom, from the archives of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
- Search for historic photographs from the collections of archives, libraries, museums and universities from across Canada. See also 'image trails' and 'photo essays' for selections of photos on specific topics.
- An online archive of the Canadian war experience, from any war, as told through the letters and images of Canadians themselves.
- A searchable database of over 250 Canadian posters from the two World Wars, with descriptions and images of each poster, an artist index, and an essay about Canadian War Posters. From McGill University Library.
- In the latter half of the nineteenth century William Notman established the largest photographic business in North America, with seven Canadian branches and nineteen in the north-eastern United States. Search the collection for images, find educational activities that allow your students to create a wide range of visual presentations, learn about the process of composite photography.
- Although officially called the 'Ontario' History Quest because it was developed for schools in that province, these four online modules each focus on a different period in Canadian history, providing learning activities related to primary documents created during such periods as the 1837 rebellion, the age of industrialization in the early twentieth century and the post-WWII baby boom.
- The sample from the annual contest (which the B.C. originators hope to turn into a national history contest for secondary students) demonstrates the use of primary historical documents to assess not only students' knowledge of Canadian history but also their ability to use the skills of critical thinking,historical research and interpretation.
- Meant to provide a single window to First Nations, Métis and Inuit online resources and government programs and services.
- A CBC site focusing on contemporary and archival stories about aboriginal Canadians.
- A virtual museum site worth highlighting because of its quality and connection to Alberta's grade five Social Studies program. Developed in collaboration with the First Nations people, it conveys a sense of the traditional culture, environment, activities, and values of these people, ncluding information about the potlatch tradition.
- A multimedia tutorial focusing on the histories of Canada's First Nations peoples from ancient times to the nineteenth century. Developed by the History Department of the University of Calgary.
- Advice about reliable sources on American Indian culture, history, etc. Although American, much is relevant to Canada too.
- From the Canadian Museum of Civilization, several virtual exhibits about different cultures in Canada.
- Described as an annotated guide to the history of Canada's black community, this comprehensive site is a fascinating narrative about the little-known Black experience in Canada, with many profiles of individuals (some containing short video clips) and a teacher section showing how this topic ties into school currricula across Canada.
Maps and Atlases
- The Canadian Geographic Society's online atlas can be explored thematically and there are also lesson plans for different topics and grade levels. An increasing amount of historical content has now been added -introduced by a humourous 'Mac vs PC' style debate about History versus Geography.
- By clicking on different years the user sees the changing political boundaries of Canada. From the Canadian Geographic Society's website.
- Lesson plans using the online National Atlas of Canada.
Rights, Responsibilities and Government
- Classroom and background resources for teachers about the Canadian Parliamentary system.
- Designed as a teaching and research tool about the major events in the history of human rights in Canada since the 1930s. Not only introduces the issues but provides an array of related primary documents.
- Quick facts and biographical information about each of Canada's Prime Ministers, supplemented (in the case of those in office since the 1950s) with hearing or seeing other people speak about their legacies.
- Colorful and understandable graphs showing where Canadians' tax dollars go, and where they come from (from the Department of Finance)
- A combined online and classroom citizenship education program that advertises itself as "turning classrooms into countries, students into citizens, and teachers into 21st century educators." There is both a Canadian and a US version, and schools pay a fee for using it but a limited number of free 30-day trials are available. It can be used from upper elementary to college level, and some Alberta schools are trying it for grade nine Social Studies.
- Contains four integrated tools: Simulation, Teacher Toolkit, Canadian Connections Forum, and Virtual Archive that immerse students in an experience that teaches them how populism, active citizenship and grassroots activism have impacted the nation building experience.
- Click on any week to find stories of significant events in the history of Western Canada that happened that week.
- While primarily American, these three learning units incorporate thoughtful questions and information about Canada. The units are on urban growth (Calgary is used as the Canadian example), maps (the emphasis is on reading maps as historical artifacts), and cowboys (myths about Canadian and American cowboys are compared). Designed for secondary teachers with the objective of showing students that the West has been shaped by policy and environmental factors, as well as by history and popular myth.
- Their 'Learning Resources' section contains all learning resources commissioned for the Virtual Museum, in addition to many of the Gabriel Dumont Institute’s proven educational resources from the past.
- Lesson plans about important topics in prairie history, such as Louis Riel, Aboriginal Education, Immigration, making use of online primary documents.
- An image archive of over 15,000 postcards dating back to the turn of the 19th century.
- The Glenbow Archives extensive photo collection can be a great source for finding visual primary resources, including over 2,500 cartoons. Their online collection of Colonel Macleod's letters is also a great resource.
- Here the 2Learn.ca Education Society has developed a portal that gives access to their resources about Alberta, including curriculum about Alberta, project and activity ideas and links to online resources.
- The Glenbow Museum's online exhibit and detailed, thoughtfully-planned teaching resources about some of the adventurous, hard-working, and spirited men and women who shaped Alberta.
- Although it calls itself Alberta's online encyclopedia, this is actually a web portal. It was developed by the Heritage Community Foundation to gives access to nearly 80 purpose-built websites that provide information, in diverse formats, about Alberta's historical, natural, cultural, scientific and technological heritage.
- Educational modules developed by Alberta students and teachers, working with the Galileo Centre, University of Calgary.
- Produced by the Alberta Heritage Community Foundation this site provides access to a variety of lesson plans specifically about Alberta, including several related to aboriginal culture and identify, as well as Alberta’s natural resources.
- As students pursue this, their goal is to help an aboriginal teen reconnect with his Blackfoot heritage by exploring culturally significant sites, interacting with Blackfoot elders, and hearing traditional stories. There is an accompanying online teacher toolkit. A collaborative project of the Archives Society of Alberta and Red Crow Community College, facilitated by the Alberta Online Consortium.
- The story of the Blackfoot people from an online exhibit by the Glenbow Museum.
- Enter an interactive virtual train station filled with photographs, newspapers, posters and recordings that provides evidence of the lives and experiences of Canadian immigrants. Inside the station are trunks containing the experiences of three immigrants, complete with the photographs, letters, and recordings that tell their story. An Archives in the Classroom collaboration between the Archives Society of Alberta and the Alberta Online Consortium.
- The Glenbow Museums's museum on-the-go program includes objects for display and study, educator notes with student-centered activities and support materials. There are kits on a number of different topics in Alberta history, available for loan to schools for two-week periods for $80.
- Canadian Broadcasting Corporation archival audio and video excepts from influential Albertans over the past 100 years.
- An interactive decision-making game, based on the real-life 1929 journey of Wop May and Vic Horner to Little Red River, Alberta to prevent a 1929 diptheria epidemic. From the Canada Aviation Museum.
- Three searchable collections of photographs: 1) historical postcards from Calgary and Alberta 2) photos of historical buildings and residences in Calgary, taken between 1953 and 1977 3) contemporary photographs of the construction/renovation of well-known facilities in the downtown core, documenting Calgary's construction, architecture and development. From Calgary Public Library.
- Get students involved in thinking about preserving Calgary's heritage by exploring the issues around saving old Calgary buildings.
- Stories of some of the interesting people buried in Calgary's Union Cemetery, including a number of Northwest Mounted Policemen.