U.S. Code (44 U.S.C. 1901) defines a government document as "...informational matter which is published as an individual document at government expense or as required by law.” Every governmental division produces documents, images, or artifacts that belong to the citizens of the United States and can be accessed through a variety of means online, by written request, through the Freedom of Information Act [FOIA], or by walking into many institutions and using their libraries or other resource station.
This guide is intended for teachers to use with their students as resources as well as guides for lessons, primary sources, data and other information.
This box highlights government sites that offer access to wide-ranging information across many agencies. Browse here to find the depth of these sites - there are lessons, data, links and information directed to citizens.
Go here to find websites that once existed but are no longer active. (This may include links that no longer work).
•Library of Congress
From Carla Hayden, the Librarian of Congress:"
The Library is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. The Library preserves and provides access to a rich, diverse and enduring source of knowledge to inform, inspire and engage you in your intellectual and creative endeavors. Whether you are new to the Library of Congress or an experienced researcher, we have a world-class staff ready to assist you online and in person."
•National Archives and Records Administration
From the NARA site:
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the nation's record keeper. Of all documents and materials created in the course of business conducted by the United States Federal government, only 1%-3% are so important for legal or historical reasons that they are kept by us forever.
Those valuable records are preserved and are available to you, whether you want to see if they contain clues about your family's history, need to prove a veteran's military service, or are researching a historical topic that interests you.
The wealth of materials from this Institution provides resources for every subject and interest. Made up of research centers, libraries, publishing entities, and a zoo, the Smithsonian Institute is a go-to site for educators.
Learning about how the U.S. government operates can be loads of fun for teachers and students. Here are a few starters for your lesson planning:
"Ben's Guide to the U.S. Government, a service of the Government Publishing Office (GPO), is designed to inform students, parents, and educators about the Federal Government, which issues the publications and information products disseminated by the GPO’s Federal Depository Library Program. It is our hope that Ben’s Guide to the U.S. Government fulfills that role." -- From Ben's Guide "About this site" web page.
•Symbols of the U.S. Government: Ben’s Activity Book
Print out this workbook full of full games, coloring pages, and historical information!
Founded by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, this site offers games, lessons, and other materials for classroom and at-home teaching and learning.
•Chidlren’s Books and Web Sites about the U.S. Government (United States Senate)
Free resources: Campaigns and Elections; Congress; The Constitution; The Flag; How Government Works; The Judiciary; The Presidency; and The Story of the U.S.A.
•Use the sites listed above such as: kids.gov, govinfo.info, usa.gov to find materials from a variety of agencies on how the government works.