Some of the best resources for information are agencies of the US government. Many of these agencies make that information available to teachers in the form of artifacts, background documents, and lesson plans in an effort to better inform the instruction going on across the country. Because you’ve basically already paid for it through your taxes, everything on these websites is free!
Any hunt for government help on a particular educational topic should start here. Even though FREE is in beta, its mission is incredibly useful: to try and gather all of the teacher resources across the government. It has its information organized by subject area and grade level. FREE isn’t quite comprehensive yet (which is why you still need the other sites we’re about to discuss), but it’s a great place to start.
Looking for primary sources? Why not go to the greatest library in the country? The Library of Congress not only makes a wealth of sources available on its website, but it has also spent some time organizing its wares into thematic units and lessons, as well as ready-made presentations and activities. The Library’s work is as close to turn-key as it gets in education.
Speaking of source materials, another great resource is the National Archives teachers’ resources page. This is the home of DocsTeach, the Archives’ comprehensive organization tool that makes sources easy to find and use in the classroom.
This should be an environment teacher’s homepage. The EPA, realizing just how important outreach is to its mission, might be the best source of science materials in the government. There are games and quizzes, as well as a great resource for science project ideas. No more “I can’t think of a project” moans from students!
Don’t have a national park near you? That doesn’t mean you can’t use their resources to teach a range of subjects (not just science). The lesson plans and sources are there, as well as the educational opportunities that they make available to teachers every year, like workshops and fellowships.
Classroom Direct might not be affiliated with the government, but we also have a very diverse set of classroom resources that are sure to give you some great lesson ideas. And just like the government’s resources, ours are free!