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Civics Education

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High school student aids teachers in curriculum writing.
2018 Massachusetts Civics Education Institute                                           

Civic Engagement, service-learning and other forms of community-based learning engage diverse learners in authentic work that profoundly motivates because it matters in the world. Emerging America Director, Rich Cairn, has been a national leader in the field since the 1980s. 

Massachusetts civics legislation in 2018 strengthened K-12 civics, requiring that every learner have opportunities for student led civic engagement projects in grade 8 and in high school. Also in 2018, the Massachusetts Board of Education passed a History and Social Science Framework that focuses on civics and inquiry. Emerging America has served as an advocate for Students with Disabilities throughout this effort. 

Emerging America is a proud sponsor of the 2021 Educating for American Democracy Roadmap. This vital framework raises the profile of history and civics education across grades and advances the central role of inquiry. (See "Tools for Inclusive Civic Engagement" below to learn about Emerging America efforts to build broad support for full inclusion of students with disabilities in all aspects of instruction and in civic engagement.) 

Emerging America's Accessing Inquiry program offers many resources to teachers to design instruction that pairs content knowledge with inquiry and fundamental citizenship skills. Contact us about current workshops and courses.


Mass DESE just released a new INCLUSIVE VERSION of the Civics Project Guidebook! This is the most effective and useful support for civics projects available. The new edits elevate it to an impressive new level! 


Essential Civics Resources:


​A hand with a marker writes on a selfie poster for the teach disability history campaign.​


Join the #TeachDisabilityHistory campaign! Led by youth and young adults from Easterseals Massachusetts. Link to the campaign. 



Tools for Inclusive Civic Engagement

More than 500 teachers have completed Emerging America's graduate level Accessing Inquiry courses. Our Accessing Civic Engagement for Students with Disabilities offers support for full participation of all learners in Civic Engagement projects: 


Browse recordings and materials from our Spring 2021 Inclusion for Civic Learning Webinar Series


History & Civics Extension to the EAD Roadmap

With the Learning Disabilities Association of America, Emerging America helped draft an Educating for American Democracy Roadmap Disability History and Civics Extension.  We are eager to involve additional educators and organizations in fostering inclusion in history and civics. Complete this short survey to give input and find out more about how to get involved. See the recording of our joint webinar, "Creating an Inclusive Civic and History Education for All: Educating for American Democracy," from March 25, 2021, including Louisiana teacher Kim Eckert. 

Library of Congress TPS Civics Apps

Several of Emerging America's fellow members of the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Consortium have developed apps on civics education: 


i/Civics Exploring Primary Sources: Free products for teaching primary sources online. 

History's Mysteries: Historical Inquiry for Elementary Classrooms
Computer screen showing History's Mysteries website.
History's Mysteries is a ready-to-use program for classrooms and remote instruction. Veteran and award-winning educators Laurie Risler and Kelley Brown–decade-long teacher coaches with Emerging America–created this inquiry-based K-5 curriculum featuring primary sources from the Library of Congress and Massachusetts collections. 
Citizen U - The Barat Education Foundation

Citizen U is a multidisciplinary, inquiry-based civics curriculum using primary sources for elementary, middle, and high school students to foster civic knowledge, skills, and dispositions.

Casemaker - Bean Creative

Case Maker features twenty pre-made civics challenges that teachers can share with their 6th-8th-grade students, or customize and annotate specifically for their needs.

DBQuest - iCivics

DBQuest introduces students to major questions in civics and history using a Big Question as guiding light for deep examination of three selected primary sources from the Library.

Engaging Congress - Indiana University

Engaging Congress is a fun, interactive game that uses primary sources to explore the basic tenets of representative government and the challenges they face in contemporary society.

KidCitizen - Muzzy Lane Software


Kid Citizen features episodes in which children interactively explore Congress and civic engagement through historical primary sources, connecting what they find with their daily lives.

Eagle Eye Citizen - George Mason University
"logo for Eagle Eye Citizen"

Eagle Eye Citizen is a digital resource that helps middle and high school students think critically about Congress, civic participation, and American history using primary sources from the Library.

Upcoming Workshops

Fully online. Five modules delving into the techniques that makes History's Mysteries students' favorite part of the school day.   "It was so fun to see each…
What is fascism? Where did it come from? How does it impact human rights? What is anti-fascism and how did it arise? How did ideology shape the Spanish Civil Wa…
This online course will harness current events to deepen understanding of immigration across American history, from the founding of the nation through today. L…