Three New Civics Interactives Explore Congress and Civic Participation through Primary Sources

Step behind the camera with the photographers who fought against child labor. Build a timeline that traces African Americans’ journey toward freedom. Discover how Congress has been involved in the expansion of voting rights throughout U.S. history.

Beginning on Friday, November 17, students are able to do all these things and more using a set of three new free educational interactives, all of which make extensive use of the online collections of the Library of Congress.

These interactives were developed by three organizations selected by the Library to create web- and mobile-based applications related to Congress and civic participation, for use in K-12 classrooms. The three organizations are the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, in Fairfax, Virginia; Indiana University’s Center on Representative Government, in Bloomington, Indiana; and Muzzy Lane Software, of Newburyport, Massachusetts.

Each project takes a different approach to the subjects, and each is based on the rich historical primary source items that the Library makes freely available at www.loc.gov.

The three civics interactives are:

  • Eagle Eye Citizen, developed by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. Eagle Eye Citizen engages middle and high school students in solving and creating interactive challenges about Congress, American history, civics, and government with Library of Congress primary sources in order to develop students’ civic understanding and historical thinking skills.

  • Engaging Congress, developed by Indiana University Center on Representative Government. Engaging Congress is a series of game-based learning activities that explores the basic tenets of representative government and the challenges that it faces in contemporary society. Primary source documents are used to examine the history and evolution of issues that confront Congress today.

  • Kid Citizen, developed by Muzzy Lane Software. KidCitizen introduces a new way for young students (K-5) to engage with history through primary sources. In KidCitizen’s nine interactive episodes, children explore civics and government concepts by investigating primary source photographs from the Library of Congress. They also connect what they find with their daily lives. KidCitizen includes cloud software tools that let educators create their own episodes and share them with students.

The three organizations were selected from among 33 proposals in 2015.  They have conducted extensive teacher and student testing of their interactives, developed supporting professional development resources and opportunities for teachers, and are embarking on extensive outreach campaigns. For more information about the Congressional grant opportunity that supported the development of these interactives, see the “Notice of Funds Availability.” A second group of organizations was selected in 2016, and their projects are scheduled to launch in 2018.

Once you’ve explored these civics interactives, let us know how you can see yourself using them with your students.

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