10 of the best websites for bringing history & social studies to life

Here are some great resources to deliver authentic learning experiences

5. Eye Witness to History
Learning about history through a first-hand perspective can bring historical events to life for students. They might know the facts and figures behind an event, but seeing it through the eyes of someone who lived it makes it more real; it helps them remember how history affects people. Eye Witness to History brings together accounts of significant historical events from the people who saw them happen. Students can get into the authors’ mindsets and understand the fear, hope, and emotions they felt as history was being made.

6. Smithsonian’s History Explorer
Smithsonian’s History Explorer offers an almost endless amount of resources to help students dive deep into the topics and events that catch their attention. The comprehensive search function allows them to browse by theme, grade level, cross-curricular connections, and eras. The majority of the resources are videos and reading material, so there’s less opportunity for interaction, but the breadth of information keeps students captivated and eager to learn more.

7. The First Thanksgiving
Scholastic created an engaging website that delves into the scene of the First Thanksgiving. Students can read historical letters and find out about the Mayflower voyage, the relationships between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags, and what day-to-day life was like for early Americans.

8. Discovery Education Virtual Field Trips
Discovery Education Virtual Field Trips take students to some of the world’s most iconic locations. The immersive experiences include trips to the National Archives, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and farms across the U.S. The trips give students the opportunity to explore far-off locations through an attention-grabbing and interactive multimedia experience.

9. Historical Site Recreations
There are some historical sites that, even with a plane ticket and passport, can’t be experienced as they once were. War, natural disasters, and population shifts have caused the destruction of many significant locations. Technology, however, is making it possible to see these sites again. For example, organizations like Rekrei are using crowdsourced photographs of monuments, museums, and artifacts, along with knowledge of architecture, to recreate them in 3D and preserve a human heritage. Several reconstructions—typically of entire ancient cities—can also be found on YouTube.

10. Virtual Reality (VR)
Student can walk through ruins and ancient civilizations, and go on virtual field trips through the use of VR. Google Expeditions transport students to the Pyramids of Giza to experience their incredible size almost firsthand or to Machu Picchu to walk the ruins and take in the detail of the work. The trips really bring history to life and provide students with the tools to become fully immersed.

Ultimately, any online resource that piques a student’s interest and gives them avenues to explore will help bring history to life for them. We’d love to know what websites you have found helpful! Leave a comment in the section below and let us know what has made your student fall in love with the subject.

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