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Two New Civics Interactives Explore Congress and Civic Participation

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Constitution Day is right around the corner, and there’s no better time to explore two new interactives that support student inquiry into Congress and civic participation.

These two new applications, the latest in a series of projects supported by the Library, use primary sources to transport students to some of the most dramatic turning points in U.S. history and immerse them in the related debates. Whether they’re sifting facts from propaganda in the news coverage of labor unrest or asking probing questions about America’s founding preambles, students are given the tools they need to investigate complex questions. Both applications, as well as three that launched in 2016, are accessible on the Library’s Web site for teachers.

Each project takes a different approach to the subjects, but at the core of each are the rich historical primary sources that the Library makes freely available at

DBQuest, developed by iCivics, teaches history and civics through the use of primary source documents and evidence-based learning. It offers a platform, accessible with mobile devices, that reinforces evidence-based reasoning and Document Based Questioning by teaching students to identify and evaluate evidence, contextualize information, and write sound supporting arguments.

Case Maker, developed by Bean Creative, is a customizable system for inquiry-based learning for K-12 students using primary sources from the Library of Congress. Modeled after the ‘observe, reflect, question,’ framework developed under the Teaching with Primary Sources program, Case Maker guides students to challenge a question, collect evidence, and make a case.

For more information about the Congressional grant opportunity that supported the development of these apps, see our News and Events page for updates. A third group of organizations was selected in 2018 – their projects are scheduled to launch in 2020.

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