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Civics Education

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High school student aids teachers in curriculum writing.
2018 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. Emerging America is helping to build broad support for full inclusion of students with disabilities in all aspects of instruction and in civic engagement.

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. Watch our joint webinar, "Creating an Inclusive Civic and History Education for All: Educating for American Democracy," from March 25, including Louisiana teacher Kim Eckert. 

Emerging America 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.


Essential Civics Resources:

  • Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) History & Social Science instruction resources page
    • Civics Project Guidebook to support implementation of the 2018 law. Updated October 2020. - THIS GUIDE IS EXCELLENT! - RCairn
  • The Massachusetts Civic Learning Coalition united to pass the 2018 civic engagement law.
  • Emerging America's Windows on History Local History program offers opportunities to pursue civic engagement when students research issues of historic and contemporary interest in their own community. 
  • Search the library of Teaching Resources for accessible civics lessons and classroom activities.
  • Find discussions on Civic Engagement policy, programs, and teaching supports in our blog.  
  • Sign up for our bi-weekly History eNews for updates. Use "Contact Us" button on this page. 


​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. 



Accessing Civics with ALL Learners

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: 


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, linked at the website of Barat’s Citizen U, and listed below:

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.

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 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.

Indiana University CORG

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.

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.

George Mason University Eagle Eye Citizen
"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

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…
Fully Online: Course runs July 9 - August 8, 2021. Social Studies and Humanities pose distinct challenges for struggling learners. Extensive discipline-specific…