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Congress, Civic Participation, and Primary Sources Projects

The following interactive projects were developed by a number of organizations and supported by grants from the Library of Congress. Each project is intended to provide young people with engaging and meaningful opportunities to learn about Congress and civic participation using primary sources from the Library’s online collections. Read more about this program

Primary sources have tremendous educational power and can be used effectively in many different ways with students at all grade levels. The projects below reflect different organizations’ varied approaches to teaching civics using primary sources, and each has much to offer.

For more on effective strategies for teaching with primary sources, see the Library's Getting Started with Primary Sources page.

Journalism in Action

Developed by PBS NewsHour Extra

This interactive learning tool for middle and high school students explores moments in the history of journalism in the U.S. using historical primary sources. Through fun, interactive activities, you will inquire, ask questions, and make your own judgments using news articles, broadcast segments, political cartoons, and photographs curated from the databases of the Library of Congress.

Civics: An American Musical

Developed by FableVision Games

Do your students have what it takes to be the next hit Broadway musical producers? In this civics learning game, students assume the role of a theater producer adapting true events from United States history to the stage. It’s up to them to observe, reflect, and question primary sources taken from the Library of Congress’ archives to create a new smash Broadway musical hit that is historically accurate and celebrates the power of ordinary citizens in creating change.

Voices for Suffrage

Developed by Second Avenue Learning

What was so important about the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention? How did the path to suffrage differ between states? In Voices for Suffrage, students use primary sources to explore, replay, and engage with these questions and many more that form the women's suffrage movement. Students will learn about the tactics, arguments, key people, and historical events that led to women gaining the vote and have fun doing it!


Developed by iCivics

New from iCivics, DBQuest 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

Case Maker 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 TPS program, Case Maker guides students to challenge a question, collect evidence, and make a case.

Eagle Eye Citizen

Developed by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media

Eagle Eye Citizen engages middle and high school students in solving and creating interactive challenges on 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 the 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.

Action Citizen

Developed by the Indiana University Center on Representative Government

Action Citizen is a learning tool that encourages students to evaluate expectations and relationships between the U.S. government and the American people through the critical analysis of primary sources and legislation. It provides content and an approach for participation in a representative democracy.


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.

Past Notices of Funding Availability (applications are closed; for reference only)

Notice of Funding Opportunity: Development of Primary Source-Based Curricula, Apps/Online Interactives, and Instructional Materials

Notice of Funding Availability to Create Apps on Congress and Civics

Notice of Funding Availability to Create Apps on Congress and Civics

Notice of Funding Availability: Request for Applications for Online Interactives and Mobile Apps

  • The Library of Congress announces the availability of $950,000 to support the development of online interactives and mobile apps for classroom use on Congress and civic participation. Applications due May 31, 2015.
  • Read the Notice (PDF, 485 KB)