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Top 10 Websites for Online Games in the Classroom

Using Games in the Secondary Social Studies Classroom has always been a favorite tool from my teaching toolbox. However, I was always a teacher that wanted rigor in my classroom, so finding appropriate online games was always a challenge.  To help those of you still looking for the perfect sites, here are my Top 10 Websites for Online Games in the Social Studies Classroom.
Top 10 Websites for Online Games in the Social Studies Classroom
Top 10 Websites for Online Games in the Social Studies Classroom
  1. Teaching Geography (even in the History classroom) requires practice.  There is no better online source for basic Geography review than Sheppard Software.  From studies capitals to countries to landmarks and more, this site has everything you need for fun content practice!
  2. Middle School U.S. History can often be boring and mundane.  Spruce up reading about America's beginnings with the PBS Learning Mission US Video & Game Series.  Students play to learn about the start of the nation and its significant players.
  3. If you want to learn even more about Early America and the creation of the American Government, take a walk with Ben Franklin through time with Ben's Guide to the U.S. Government. This fun-filled adventure uses primary sources and age-appropriate explanation of key features of our national government.
  4. For older students, or those who like to debate, The Replica Times is a Games for Change product where fact-based debate is played out in 15 minute sessions.  Address current issues or events of the past with this student-centered activity. Don't let the basic (aged) image of the site scare you off; the game itself will keep students playing.
  5. If you are teaching a civics course, iCivics has so many great resources at your fingertips. Among their best is Argument Wars, a game where students play out arguments based on Supreme Court cases. Play to learn as you play to argue!
  6. Also found at iCivics, Executive Command is a simulation game where students play the role of the president to make decisions for the nation.  While this game is not as rigorous as it could be, the premise does help students evaluate the role of the executive office.
  7. Weebly often provides great lists, and this offering of Interactive Sites for Social Studies courses is no exception.  Link through your content area for great activities from deciphering hieroglyphics to creating a Melting Pot of American immigrants.
  8. National Geographic is another go-to place for content-strong review games.  From studying the Greek Gods to the Features of the World, National Geographic has fun activities for individual students or small groups.
  9. While Learning Games for Kids was created for the primary grades, there are a number of fun activities for simple review or for students with academic challenges. Immerse your students in jigsaw puzzles or have them play word games, but all the while they will be learning the desired Social Studies concepts.
  10. Limiting this list to just 10 websites for fun, engaging games for Social Studies is a great challenge.  This leads me to cheat on this #10 spot.  Both Game On Learning and the Utah Education Network offered great listings of games for upper grades students.  Take your pick and you won't be disappointed!
Top 10 Websites for Online Games in the Social Studies Classroom
Benefits of Online Games in the Classroom
As mentioned above, I am a long-time advocate of a rigorous, content-based classroom.  Still, there is room in that curriculum equation for appropriate games and play.  Creating the ideal Interactive Classroom require a great mix of teaching methods and instructional platforms.  Don't feel like you need to always do the one thing that works; instead mix it up to find the greatest benefit for all students in your secondary classroom.

Want more?
Be sure to read through all of my other posts on game play in the interactive classroom.  Creating a classroom culture where play is still acceptable and even encouraged creates a climate where students want to learn.

And if you are looking for ready to go games and fun activities for your Social Studies classroom that are printable, visit my TpT Store Games Section.  Look through content-based games or my very popular Human Game Boards for any review!

Happy Teaching!