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Stuff for Teens

Good Starting Points

See also Online Resources for Grade K — 6 and Online Resources for Grade 7 — 12.
For online practice tests and tutorial courses for students, see LearningExpress Library database (choose School Center).

  • Distance Learning Resources

    • Wide Open School
      This collection of free activities and resources aims to help students, parents and teachers feel more comfortable with distance learning. It consists of three main sections:

      • Student Activities, where students choose a grade level category: Preschool, K-2, 3-5, 6-8 or 9-12 to find high quality educational activities or resources by subject area. These subjects range from traditional school topics such as math, science, social studies, writing and reading to arts, music, movement, field trips, life skills and more.
      • Family & Teacher Center offers guidance geared toward families by theme (examples include Get Ready, Learning and Motivation, Social & Emotional Well-being) and teachers (Partner with Families, Set Norms, How-to and more).
      • Recursos en Español offers activities and resources for Spanish speaking families.

Wide Open School was created by nonprofit organization Common Sense with more than 75 content partners and supporters.

  • DK Find Out!
    This highly visual site offers articles, quizzes and videos to help kids learn and explore the world.

  • Khan Academy
    The goal of the Khan Academy is to offer "a free world-class education for anyone anywhere." Content includes math; science topics such as biology, chemistry and physics; arts and humanities; economics and finance; and test preparation.

  • Newsela
    Create a free account to read articles about current events and opinions (in the News section) and other topics such as Science & Math and Arts & Culture (in the Library section). Each article is available in five reading levels from elementary to MAX (the original version), and articles come from Newsela’s content partners such as The Washington Post, Scientific American and You may practice writing responses and answer quiz questions about what you’ve read. Some articles are also available in Spanish.

  • Smithsonian

The Smithsonian Institutions are world-renowned facilities of research and education. There are a variety of subjects of interest and primary resources for research needs. Also check out the open access for free use pictures from all the Smithsonian museums and collections. 

  • TED-Ed
    Students can discover big ideas by watching short, animated videos exploring subjects including math, arts, science and social studies. TED-Ed encourages students to create their own TED-style talks using its curriculum as a guide. This project is part of TED: Ideas Worth Spreading which has thousands of free, short video talks related to technology, entertainment, design, science, business and global issues.


See also Online Language Resources. See also Learning English.

  • Conjuguemos
    An "online workbook" that lets students practice vocabulary, verbs and grammar. Includes French, German, Italian, Korean, Latin, Portuguese and Spanish languages. With a free account, students may record grades and keep track of their progress.

  • Duolingo
    The philosophy behind Duolingo is that everyone should be able to learn a language for free. This site offers courses in Spanish, French, German, Italian and other languages.

  • WordReference
    This free, online translation dictionary focuses on the language pairs of English-Spanish, English-French, English-Italian, Spanish-French and Spanish-Portuguese although other languages are represented.


See also Online Literature Resources.

  • Crash Course Literature
    Follow John Green as he helps you explore literature through classic texts such as The Great Gatsby, Romeo and Juliet, The Catcher in the Rye and the poetry of Emily Dickinson. Continue discussing additional titles in Literature 2, Literature 3 and Literature 4.

  • Literary Criticism on the Internet
    This site links to legally available, free articles for literary criticism of American and British writers. The articles, screened by a literary scholar, have been published in peer-reviewed journals and books from academic presses.

  • Shmoop — Literature
    Study literature and poetry and be entertained at the same time. Developed and written by Ph.D. and masters students from top universities, Shmoop's mission is to make learning and writing more fun for high school and college students.


  • American Mathematical Society — Information for High School Students
    Find out about math competitions and contests, math clubs and events, and careers in math fields. Browse Mathematical Moments, a series of posters and podcast interviews explaining the role math plays in science, technology, nature and human culture. AMS also offers links to websites that can help students learn and practice math concepts.

  • Euclid's Elements

  • IXL
    This site offers numbers and math skills practice for students in pre-K through 8th grade and for students taking Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Precalculus and Calculus. If you answer a question incorrectly, IXL explains how to solve the problem. You can also practice math skills according to state standards such as Virginia's Standards of Learning. Students may try up to 20 free practice questions per day (unless you buy a membership).

  • Khan Academy
    Hundreds of math videos explaining topics such as basic math, algebra, geometry and calculus.

  • Math is Fun
    Covers a range of math topics such as basic numbers for pre-K students to calculus for high school students and explains the concepts in an understandable way. Includes a math dictionary and games.

  • Measurement and Conversion
    A collection of links including U.S. weights and measures and a conversion calculator. Provided by Fact Monster.


See also Online Science Resources.

Good Starting Points

  • Exploratorium
    The Exploratorium, a museum in San Francisco, offers online activities where kids can play, discover and explore a variety of science topics.

  • How Stuff Works
    Articles, illustrations and videos provide objective "explanations of how the world really works".

  • Jefferson Lab
    Practice taking Virginia SOL science and math tests, read scientists' answers to common and interesting science questions, watch Frostbite Theater science videos to see experiments with liquid nitrogen, static electricity and more, and play games and puzzles to help understand science topics.

  • Science News for Students
    Designed for upper elementary and middle school students, the site offers news stories and features on timely topics.

  • Science Projects

    • Science Buddies
      Use the Topic Selection Wizard to help you select a science fair project based on your interests or browse more than 1000 project ideas in many areas of science. The Science Fair Project Guide offers information from getting started through communicating your results.

    • Steve Spangler Science
      If you need a science fair project idea or just want to try some fun science experiments, look at these interesting activities.

  • Scientific American In-Depth Reports
    Special reports on timely topics include articles, podcasts and videos.

  • SciTech Daily Review
    This site lives up to its claim of providing informed, thought-provoking coverage of scitech issues. Voluminous in scope, it offers a solution to the "I have to write a report about a science article" assignment.

  • Thomas Jefferson HS for Science and Technology — STEM Resources
    Explore sites offering activities and games for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Life Sciences

Animals and Biology

  • Biology4Kids
    Covers cells, microorganisms, plants, invertebrates, vertebrates and animal systems.

  • Bug Guide
    An online resource devoted to North American insects, spiders and their kin, offering identification, images and information.

  • Crash Course Biology
    This course taught by Hank Green is based on the AP Biology curriculum and includes several sessions on introductory anatomy. For more in-depth information on anatomy, watch Green's Anatomy & Physiology Crash Course which is based on an introductory college-level curriculum.

  • Dino Directory
    Search dinosaurs by name, timeline, geographic location or body shape. Sponsored by the British Natural History Museum.

  • Encyclopedia of Life
    The vision of this free online encyclopedia is to document all of the living species on Earth. Learn about plants, animals, fungi and bacteria. Images, sounds and videos are available for some of the species.

  • Endangered Species

    • Endangered Species Program
      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides profiles of species included on the Federal list of endangered and threatened wildlife and plants. The site also provides lists of "how many and which" species are in particular categories as well as maps by U.S. state or territory.

    • Wildlife Factsheets
      Factsheets on endangered species in North and South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, the Arctic and Antarctica, and habitats (such as coral reefs, grasslands, wetlands, etc.) Information is provided by Defenders of Wildlife, an organization dedicated to wildlife conservation.

  • Human Body — DK Findout!
    Learn all about the amazing human body including bones, brain and nerves, heart and blood, senses and more.


  • Biology of Plants
    Elementary school students can learn about plant parts, pollination, how plants make food and more.

  • Native Plant Information Network
    Affiliated with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (established in 1982), this site's purpose is to make available scientifically accurate information on native plants of the United States. You can search by scientific or common name, or by state. Information includes description, color photo, distribution and habitat preference, endangered status and bloom calendar.

  • Plants Database
    Maintained by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Offers names, checklists, identification information, distributional data, etc. Also provides links to global plant checklists; conservation fact sheets; and information on threatened and endangered plants searchable by family, genus or state.

Environment and Ecology

  • Biomes
    • Biomes Around the World
      Elementary school students can explore rainforest, tundra, taiga, desert, temperate and grasslands biomes as well as freshwater and marine ecosystems. Provided by the Missouri Botanical Garden.

    • Major Biomes of the World
      Factual, college-level presentation of the global distribution and structural characteristics of eight major biomes. Site created and maintained by Radford University.

  • Energy Kids
    Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, the information on this site is suitable for elementary school students and covers a range of topics. The Energy Basics section includes global sources and uses of energy and tips on how to save energy. The Energy History area contains timelines and brief biographical profiles of scientific pioneers in the field. A glossary offers hypertext cross references to additional explanatory materials.

  • Field Guide to Fairfax County’s Plants and Wildlife
    A guide to some of the common plants and animals that are likely to be seen in neighborhoods, schoolyards, parks and other outdoor areas of Fairfax County.

Physical Sciences

Astronomy and Space Exploration


  • Chem4Kids
    Covers the basic concepts of chemistry related to matter, atoms, elements, reactions and biochemistry.

  • Crash Course Chemistry
    Hank Green teaches this course which is based on the 2012 AP Chemistry curriculum and includes a few episodes on organic chemistry.

  • Crash Course Organic Chemistry
    This course covering the chemistry of carbon uses your knowledge of general chemistry and takes it to the next level. It is hosted by Deboki Chakravarti who has a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering and now works as a science writer/communicator.

  • Periodic Table of the Elements
    Provided by Los Alamos National Laboratory's Chemistry Division.


  • Earthquakes for Kids
    On this informative site one can investigate earthquake factsheets, find science project ideas, research "today in earthquake history," read about careers in geophysics and learn about the science of seismology.

    Offers articles and news on various geological topics, a geology dictionary, career information and teacher resources. Includes a collection of U.S. state maps and satellite images as well as country maps paired with Landsat images.

  • NASA Climate Kids
    Games, activities and articles help kids in upper-elementary grade levels understand the story of our changing planet.


  • Crash Course Physics
    Dr. Shini Somara covers AP Physics 1 & 2 to help you understand how the universe works. Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios.

  • Physics Central
    Read about current research in physics, try physics experiments and get your physics questions answered by a physicist. Provided by the American Physical Society.

  • The Physics Classroom
    Developed by a high school physics and chemistry teacher for beginning physics students, this site covers basic physics topics and includes "Check Your Understanding" sections.


  • NOAA SciJinks — All About Weather
    What causes a thunderstorm? How do snowflakes form? Learn the answers to these questions and more. Topics include weather; hurricanes and storms; clouds, water and ice; tides and oceans; atmosphere; seasons; satellites and technology; and space weather. See the glossary to explore weather terms. For upper-elementary and middle school students. From NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

  • Owlie Skywarn
    Kids can learn about weather and safety from the National Weather Service.

  • Weather History and Data Archive
    Type your zip code, city, state, airport code or country to find historical weather information for a specific date.

Technology and Engineering

Computer Science

  • CODE
    Learn the basics of computer science using drag and drop programming. The "Hour of Code" programs are designed for students of all ages and include characters such Moana, Anna and Elsa, or worlds such as Minecraft and Star Wars. The site also features a 20-hour course which introduces core computer science and programming concepts.

  • Crash Course Computer Science
    This course taught by Carrie Anne Philbin is based on the AP Computer Science Principles curriculum as well as introductory college-level material.

  • Scratch
    Program your own stories, games and animations and share your creations. Provided by MIT Media Lab.

  • Tinkercad
    Create 3D designs with this free software that you can use in your web browser.


  • Crash Course Engineering
    See how engineers identify problems and try to solve them. Dr. Shini Somara teaches this course based on introductory college-level material and includes multiple disciplines including civil, mechanical, chemical and electrical engineering.

  • Cyberchase
    Learn engineering with the Cybersquad as you explore activities, play games and watch videos in this site based on the PBS "Cyberchase" show.

  • Design Squad Nation
    Try out engineering: watch videos, play games and build things (an unpoppable balloon, a robo arm, a rubber band car and many more) using this site from PBS Kids.

  • Engineer Girl
    A site designed for girls to discover engineering careers and find dream jobs. Learn about engineers, what they do and how to get there..


  • Academy of Achievement
    Brief biographies of leaders, visionaries and pioneers who have been inducted into the Academy of Achievement. Members include U.S. presidents, public servants, world leaders, innovators in information technology, business leaders, sports heroes, actors, authors, artists, scientists and explorers.

  • Biography
    This site aims to tell the most "gripping, surprising and fascinating" stories about famous people. Produced by A+E Networks.

  • Black Women's Suffrage
    Discover the contributions made by Black women in the campaign for voting and other civil rights from the 1850s to 1960.

Current Events

See also Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints database for information about hot-button social and political issues from capital punishment to immigration, offering pro/con viewpoints, reference articles, maps, infographics and more.

  • AllSides
    This unique news service offered by people “from every side of the aisle and in between” tries to balance the news by presenting multiple perspectives on the same news story. It also includes media bias ratings to give readers an idea of where news sources lean on the political scale.

  • Intelligence Squared US
    Watch videos of Oxford-style debates argued by leading authorities. You can read the transcripts, view the research used by the debaters and see the graphs showing pre- and post-debate voting results.

    This site offers pros and cons of controversial issues on various topics to "provide resources for critical thinking and to educate without bias." Arguments are presented in a straightforward format with links to references.

  • Public Opinion Polls and Surveys
    The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press publishes the results — and, in some cases, the methodology — of selected polls on political and social issues.

Economics and Personal Finance

  • EconLowdown
    Free resources help students in elementary, middle school or high school learn about economics and personal finance. Choose filters in the Resources section to select materials based on school level, subject, concept, and English or Spanish language. Provided by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

  • High School Financial Planning Program
    Learn all about money: managing, earning, spending, borrowing, investing it and more. Provided by the National Endowment for Financial Education.

  • The Mint
    Get ready for the real world by learning how to manage money. Learn how to earn, save, spend, borrow, track, give, invest and safeguard money. Includes quizzes and games.


United States

See also Government research and Presidents from Virginia.

  • Ben's Guide to U.S. Government for Kids
    Students can learn about the branches of the U.S. government, how laws are made, how the federal and state governments share power and more. Elementary, middle and high school students can select the appropriate guide to see material adapted for their age group.

  • Branches of the U.S. Government
    Learn how the Constitution of the United States organizes the government into executive, legislative and judicial branches to ensure that no group or individual has too much power. The site links to official government and other selected websites to offer more detailed information about the federal government.

  • Electoral College
    Learn about the Electoral College and view historical election results.

  • Kids in the House
    Learn about House members and officers, how bills become law, House history and art. Information is divided into four levels of learning for young learners, grade, middle and high school students. From the U.S. House of Representatives.

  • U.S. Government and Politics
    This Crash Course is based on the 2014 AP Government and Politics curriculum and was produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios. In addition to the topics you might expect to learn, host Craig Benzine proposes to answer questions such as "why do you need a license to drive, hunt or fish?", "Why is it okay for student groups to lead prayers in school but not the principal?", "When is it okay for police to search you, your locker, or your car?" and "Why does the government do certain things and not others?"


See also International Information.

  • Countries
    National Geographic's highly visual site offers photos, an overview map, quick facts, nature, government & economy, people & culture and a brief history of 68 countries. For upper elementary students.

  • Flags of the World
    Search for full color images of flags by country name, geographic region or keyword. Black and white outline drawings of many flags are also available in a variety of sizes.

  • Rulers
    Frequently updated, this site offers country-by-country listings of heads of state, heads of government and foreign ministers "since 1700," plus a "chronicle of relevant events since 1996."

  • World Fact Book
    For each country, find information on its history, government, economy, geography and more. Provided by the CIA.


Good Starting Points

See also History of Virginia.

  • Crash Course
    Offers high quality, entertaining, educational videos on a variety of subjects. History Crash Courses include Big History, which is based on the Big History Project, and covers history of the universe from the Big Bang into the Deep Future; Big History 2, which delves deeper into why this matters; European History (from 1450 to the present), based on AP European History and college level Introduction to Western Civilization curriculum; and U.S. History, which is based on the 2013 US History curriculum.

  • DK Find Out! — History
    Learn about ancient history, kings and queens, castles, pirates, spies, World War I and II, and much more. This visual site includes facts, quizzes, pictures and videos to help with homework.

  • Khan Academy — History
    Khan Academy encourages learning through watching U.S. history and world history videos, answering practice questions, and testing your understanding through Unit tests.

  • Outline Maps
    An educational site providing copyright-free outline maps.

  • Speeches

Ancient History

  • Ancient History
    The British Broadcasting Company provides links to the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece and Rome as well as prehistoric British, Viking, Anglo-Saxon, ancient Indian and other cultures. Younger students can play games — click on Ancient History to learn how to make a mummy, build a pyramid and solve a mysterious death in Rome.

  • Ancient Mesopotamia
    Examine artifacts to learn about life in ancient Mesopotamia. Produced by the Oriental Institute Museum of the University of Chicago

  • British Museum
    Choose themes such as cities, religion, buildings, writing, trade or technology to learn about ancient civilizations. The site requires Macromedia Flash Player. The museum's blog, which includes podcasts, posts and brief essays about ancient objects and history, is suitable for older students.

  • Discovering Egypt
    Learn about hieroglyphic writing, stories of kings, queens, ancient Egyptian gods, mummies, inventions, pyramids and temples.

  • Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

Documents and Images

  • 100 Milestone Documents
    The documents in this collection were chosen to represent significant milestones in American history between 1776 and 1965. You may view an image of the original document or read the document transcription and the annotation placing it in historic context. Provided by the National Archives and Records Administration, National History Day, and USA Freedom Corps.

  • Avalon Project
    The Avalon Project at Yale Law School is an online resource for documents covering law, history and diplomacy from ancient to contemporary times. When possible, links to supporting documents “expressly referred to in the body of the text” are included.

  • Famous Trials
    This collection of 75+ trials focuses on themes of free speech, murder, religion, race and war/corruption/politics. The site was created by Professor Linder of UMKC law school and includes his original commentary on the selected trials as well as trial transcripts, maps, images and other materials. The intended audience includes high school, college and law school instructors and students. Professor Linder also offers a Constitutional Law companion site which focuses on United States Supreme Court cases.

  • Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930
    This collection includes more than 2200 books and 7800 photographs documenting voluntary immigration to the United States. Browse topics by category or region, or search the collection by keyword. Provided by Harvard University.

United States History

See also History of Virginia.

  • America's Story
    Brought to you by the Library of Congress, this site provides selective images and highlights from American history. It is not designed for in-depth research, but would be suitable for elementary school students needing brief, straightforward coverage of milestones, eras or themes in our country's past.

  • Eagle Eye Citizen
    Middle and high school students can solve challenges in which they will analyze primary sources from the Library of Congress to think critically about civics, Congress and American history.

  • Interactive Constitution
    Constitutional scholars of differing perspectives discuss the Constitution and debate how it can be interpreted today.

  • KidCitizen
    Interactive episodes using primary source photographs from the Library of Congress guide K-5 students in exploring government and civics topics. By examining the photographs, students can learn about primary sources, child labor laws, community helpers, members of Congress and more.

  • Presidents

    • American President
      Sponsored by the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs, this site offers "Facts at a Glance" as well as essays on each U.S. President. The essays include information on life before and after the presidency, campaigns and elections, domestic and foreign affairs, impact and legacy, and key events. There are also profiles of the first ladies and cabinet members. Material is geared toward high school students.

    • Library of Congress — Presidential Images

    • US Presidents
      A comprehensive resource guide with links to a wide variety of topics of information about the Presidents.

  • Shmoop — US History
    Shmoop tries to make learning about history fun for high school or college students by writing in a teen-friendly way. Most topics include an introduction, summary and analysis, timeline, facts, and information about the people who made it happen. Many of Shmoop's writers are PhDs and PhD candidates and want to help students understand why they should care about history.

  • Supreme Court: The Oyez Project
    Using sound, text and panoramic graphics, the creators of this website have fashioned a comprehensive tool for accessing Supreme Court cases focusing on constitutional law. One can scan biographies of the justices, listen to oral arguments from 1968 to the current term, browse the Cases section to see listings of cases currently before the court, review abstracts of historic decisions and more.


  • Plagiarism Prevention Presentation...with some help from Dr. Seuss
    Dr. Azman and Dr. Fox of the University of Hawaii Maui College show examples of incorrect paraphrasing and failing to give credit to source material using Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss.

  • Purdue OWL
    The Online Writing Lab at Purdue University provides guidelines on various aspects of writing. Topics include General Writing Resources discussing the pre-writing process as well as exercises for grammar and punctuation, advice for Subject Specific Writing, Research and Citation Resourses and the OWL’s short videos on writing. Use the search feature or navigation links to browse pages.

  • Strunk's Elements of Style
    A classic guide on the basic principles of composition, grammar, word usage and misusage, and writing style.

    More than an online dictionary, this site offers a personalized learning program to teach essential English words for academic success. Create a free account to track your progress.

  • The Writing Center
    This advice for writing papers goes beyond grammar help to include topics on procrastinating, brainstorming, proofreading and more. Citation Builder helps students prepare citations using MLA, APA, and Chicago style manuals. Provided by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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