Events and Awards

Constitution Day
Celebrated on Sept. 17 in honor of the day the Founding Fathers signed the Constitution, Constitution Day events include parades and other activities to educate about the history and importance of the Constitution. (Schools receiving federal funds must provide programming on the history of the Constitution on Sept. 17 every year.)

First Amendment Press Freedom Award
Sponsored by Journalism Education Association, National Scholastic Press Association and Quill and Scroll Society, the First Amendment Press Freedom Award is presented to a school that supports and honors the First Amendment through its student media. Winning schools are honored at the spring JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention.

National History Day
Students participating in National History Day select a historical topic of their choice (related to the contest’s annual theme) and research it by visiting libraries and historical sites and conducting interviews. Once the students have spent enough time on the topic to draw a larger conclusion about the topic’s significance in American history, the students will present their ideas as a paper, an exhibit, a performance, a documentary or a website. Students can then enter their projects at the local level; if they win, then they move on to the state level and then on to the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest at the University of Maryland.

Websites and Organizations

Bill of Rights Institute
The Bill of Rights Institute is a not-for-profit charity focused on providing educational resources on America’s founding documents and principles for teachers and students of American history and civics. The Institute provides lesson plans and resources for teachers and games and activities for students.

Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools

The campaign provides resources to make the case to legislators and policymakers about the importance of teaching civics in schools.

Center for Civic Media
Sponsored by MIT, the Center for Civic Media invents new technologies that support and foster civic media and political action. It is also a hub for the study of these technologies and coordinates community-based design processes locally in the Boston area, across the United States and around the world. By helping to provide people with the necessary skills to process, evaluate and act upon the knowledge in circulation, civic media ensures the diversity of inputs and mutual respect necessary for democratic deliberation. Some of what emerges looks like traditional journalism, and some moves in radical new directions.

Center for Responsive Politics
The center is a research group that tracks money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy. The organization aims to create a more educated voter, an involved citizenry, and a more transparent and responsive government. The center’s website,, is useful to teach students about the complicated connection between money and politics.

Channel One News
Channel One News is a digital content provider focused on encouraging young people to be informed, digital-savvy global citizens. Its show is a daily news program with supplementary educational resources to help students, teachers and parents interpret the news of the day and spark important conversations. The award-winning program is broadcast to more than 5 million young people in upper elementary schools, middle schools and high schools across the country. is a federal directory and search engine for Congressional legislative documents.
Help students become advocates. With, they learn about and communicate with their senators and representatives to fight for a cause that’s important to them.
Launched in 1996, is a companion to the book and has helped educate millions of people who have wanted to learn about the Constitution. Schools across the country use the website in their curriculum, and each year, more than 4 million people visit

Digital Media and Learning Research Hub
All of the research hub’s activities, which include original research, blogs, websites, publications and an annual conference, seek to advance research in the service of a more equitable, participatory and effective ecosystem of learning in the digital age by investigating the ways in which digital technology is changing learning environments, social and civic institutions, and youth culture and enhancing thought leadership and best practices for next generation learning and civics.

First Amendment Schools Network
The network is a national reform initiative that seeks to transform how schools teach and practice the rights and responsibilities of citizenship that frame civic life in our democracy. Now in its fifth year, the FAS Network consists of nearly 100 schools and includes more than 70,000 students. Schools can apply to become either a Project School or an Affiliate School. Project Schools receive a grant based on potential to engage in whole-school reform grounded in principles of democracy and freedom. Affiliate Schools commit to the guiding principles of the FAS Project, receive materials and resources on democratic freedom and whole-school reform, and are eligible for small grants to support best practices for implementing First Amendment School principles.

Freedom in America: An Electronic Field Trip
Ball State University’s interactive broadcast features conversations with experts, as well as online and in-class activities. There are individual portals for teachers and students. To access the site, enter the user name “liberty” and the password “bell.”

iCivics is a nonprofit organization dedicated to reinvigorating civic learning through interactive and engaging learning resources. Founded and led by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, iCivics provides teaching resources, including print-and-go lesson plans, games and digital interactives.

Illinois First Amendment Center
The Mission of the Illinois First Amendment Center is to promote First Amendment rights and responsibilities through education designed to raise awareness of the need to understand, preserve and protect the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The center provides classroom materials and activities, as well as posters.

Liberty Fund
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals. The foundation develops, supervises and finances its own educational activities to foster thought and encourage discourse on enduring issues pertaining to liberty. Liberty Fund offers two online libraries and an interactive tour to encourage discussion of ideas pertaining to liberty.

National Constitution Center
The National Constitution Center is an interactive museum, a national town hall and a civic education headquarters. Its website offers many resources for educators and students, including lesson plans, games, videos and samples of historic documents.

Newspapers in Education Online
NIEOnline offers free resources and works with participating newspapers to deliver free newspapers to high schools. Contact your local paper to see if they participate.

North Carolina Civics Education Consortium
This website offers resources to help students become enthusiastic, involved citizens with the knowledge, skills and confidence to participate in democratic life.

PBS NewsHour Extra
PBS NewHour Extra provides students and teachers with quality educational resources based on current issues to help high school students understand world and national events and to answer the question, “Why should I care about the news?” It provides news articles written for students with the background and context needed to understand complex topics; creates high-quality, free lesson plans and teaching tools that make it easy to bring current events and issues into the classroom; and offers an outlet for young people to speak out on issues important to them by publishing essays and original audio and video recordings.

Prof Chris Daly’s Blog
Former Associated Press and The Washington Post journalist Chris Daly runs a personal blog that touches on First Amendment rights as they pertain to the media and government.

Project Vote Smart
Project Vote Smart is a nonpartisan, nonprofit educational organization devoted to increasing access to information so citizens can become educated voters.

Public AgendaPublic Agenda seeks to help build a democracy in which problem solving triumphs over gridlock and inertia and where public policy reflects the thoughtful input and values of the nation’s citizens.
A leading online resource for American history teachers and students, this website provides access to online exhibits, webinars, weekend seminars, graduate courses and historical documents. is a directory and search engine for all federal and state government sites. Use this site to help students understand the nuances of government at both the state and federal levels.

U.S. Constitution for Kids

This site breaks down the creation of the Constitution into easy-to-understand language for students. Includes a timeline, facts, founding fathers, and lessons.