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Interactive Social Studies Websites

Five Interactive Social Studies Websites for the Classroom

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The use of technology to engage children actively in learning has exploded in recent years. It only makes sense that many children learn best through an interactive engagement with technology. This is primarily due to the times in which we live. This is the digital age. An age where children are exposed to all forms of technology from the time they are born. Unlike previous generations, where the use of technology was a learned behavior, this generation of children is able to use technology instinctively. There are many terrific interactive social studies websites that will resonate with children of this generation. Here, we explore five interactive social studies websites that actively engage students across the social studies genre including geography, history, map skills, etc.

1. Google Earth

This downloadable program allows users to travel virtually anywhere in the world via the Internet. It is astounding to think that a person living in New York can travel to Arizona to see the majestic Grand Canyon or to Paris to visit the Eiffel Tower with the simple click of a mouse. The 3D satellite imagery associated with this program is outstanding. Users can visit virtually any place near or far at any time through this program. Want to visit Easter Island? You can be there in seconds. The program offers tutorials for users, but the features are remarkably easy to use and applicable to students from 1st grade and up.

2. Museum Box

This is a fun, interactive tool probably best suited for users in middle school or higher. This site allows you to build a historical "box" around a particular event, person, or period. The 3D "box" can include text, video files, audio files, pictures, word documents, website links, etc. It can be used to build presentations for class much like a PowerPoint presentation. The "box" is has six sides and each side can be customized with whatever information you want to present. You can create your own "box" or you can view boxes created by other users. This is a terrific tool that classroom teachers can use for a variety of purposes including the introduction of a lesson, test review, etc.

3. iCivics

This is a terrific website loaded with fun, interactive games devoted to learning about civics related topics. Those topics include citizenship & participation, separation of power, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the Judicial Branch, the Executive Branch, the Legislative Branch, & budgeting. Each game has a specific learning objective in which it is built around, but users will love the interactive story lines within each game. Games like "Win the White House" which allows users to manage their race strategically to become the next president by raising funds, campaigning, polling voters, etc. The site is probably best suited for middle school aged students and up.

4. Digital History

A comprehensive collection of historical data of United States history. This site has it all and includes online textbook, interactive learning modules, timelines, flash movies, virtual exhibits, etc. This site is dedicated to using technology to enhance learning. This site would be beneficial for students in 3rd grade and up. There is so much information on this website that users could spend hours upon hours and never read the same piece or to do the same activity twice.

5. Utah Education Network Student Interactives

This is a fun and engaging website designed for students grades 3-6, but older students would also benefit from the activities. This site has over 50 interactive social studies activities and games over topics such as geography, current events, ancient civilizations, the environment, U.S. history, & U.S. government. This terrific collection will have users actively engaged in learning key social studies concepts and having fun too.

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