"I'm just a Bill, I'm only a Bill, sittin' here on Capitol Hill...."
Many young Americans are introduced to government fundamentals by Schoolhouse Rock. If only civics class were as fun as Saturday morning cartoons.... It's difficult to draw a clear picture of "The Government." For those who can't take a trip to the capital and see it in action, the Web offers a terrific introduction to our leaders, state government, the branches of the federal government and general civics.
The Constitution. The Emancipation Proclamation. The Gettysburg Address. The words ring a bell, but do you remember why? How does a bill become a law? When did women get the right to vote? When was slavery abolished? The answers to these questions and many others are right at your fingertips. With colorful graphics, stories and audio clips, a variety of organizations have developed sites to teach us about history, government and our role as citizens. Some highlights include:
The judiciary, legislative and executive branches make up the United States Government. The balance of power among the three is delicate and it is important, as citizens, to understand the role of each. Whether it's a tour of the White House led by Socks and Buddy, a detailed account of bills before Congress or a look at the Supreme Court's docket, there is something for every citizen online. You'll find voting records, inaugural addresses of the Presidents, a virtual tour of the branches of government, a schedule of Senate hearings, biographies of Supreme Court Justices and much more. Take a tour:
Whether you call Montpelier or Sacramento your capital, your state is an important part of the union. Need a refresher on your state flag, bird and song? The Web can help. It can also provide information about your Governor and offer tips on how to contact state officials. The following sites are good places to begin:
Find your state tourism office at TripSpot for more important information, such as natural resources and historical landmarks.
For students in need of a little assistance, there are a number of good online homework helpers. These student-centered sites include very focused search engines and directories, interactive message boards, research tools and study tips. Check out:
Faced with the challenge of bringing history and government to life for your students? The Web can lend a hand in a variety of ways. The following sites offer great lesson plans, integration ideas, curricular materials, activity ideas, newsgroups, grant information and message boards. Before planning your next social studies, civics or government lesson, browse through: