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Monticello Classroom,

Thomas Jefferson Foundation

The Monticello Classroom offers extensive information about Thomas Jefferson, Virginia history, the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, and other important aspects surrounding the founding of the United States. The website also allows visitors to log in and create projects, design lesson plans, or do homework. It also features fun information, such as why Thomas Jefferson is on the nickel, and how to make ice cream the colonial way.

Virginia State Board of Elections,

Virginia State Board of Elections

The official election website of the state of Virginia includes practical information about elections, such as detailed information on when, where, and how to vote. There are also sections on what is on your ballot and an informative guide to the election process. Overall, the Virginia State Board of Elections website provides a primer on the ins-and-outs of the electoral process that can help demystify what happens at the polls.

Project Vote Smart,

Project Vote Smart

Project Vote Smart aims to provide voters with information about key election issues, biographical information about candidates, and voting records. One of its best properties is the level of detail given to state and local elections. Visitors can search by zip code to find information about candidates in their area, go directly to Virginia’s profile page, or even find links to local election offices. Find out who your representatives are, how their votes are affecting your life, and how you can vote in your area.

Elections the American Way,

Library of Congress

The Library of Congress has created an excellent resource that both explains how the electoral process works and gives a historical perspective. The website offers an overview of candidates, voters, the party system, the election process, and issues throughout U.S. history. Quotations, pictures, and memorabilia from key Virginian presidents are scattered throughout the website. This is an excellent resource for understanding how the electoral system developed, and it has instructions for presidential craft projects.

Political Cartoonists Index,

Daryl Cagle and ClassBrain

This website offers five lesson plans and associated political cartoons every day. Such frequent updates ensure that each lesson plan covers the latest issues. By necessity, each lesson plan is fairly brief. It offers a brief overview of background on the political cartoon, a list of discussion questions, the state where the cartoon was published, and links to articles about the issue. The main page also offers a comprehensive index of political cartoonists, which includes the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Fredericksburg Freelance-Star, that visitors may want to use for research purposes or simply a quick laugh.

Budget Hero Game,

American Public Media

Budget Hero gives players an opportunity to try to manage the Federal budget by making budget decisions without breaking the bank. Players can choose up to three major issues to focus on, such as  national defense, health and wellness, energy independence, and efficient government. The game provides details about individual issues (such as funding for mass transit and other infrastructure), which can inform players about some of the major policy issues being dicussed right now. The game is aimed at the Federal budget, but some of the policy decisions affect state and local governments.

Public Agenda: Helping Americans Explore Today's Issues,

Public Agenda

This website provides a wealth of up-to-date coverage of current issues, from America's role in the international community to Social Security. A large section for educators includes resources for teachers, students, parents, and leaders. Topics such as the rising cost of college tuition are particularly relevant for those involved in education. While there are limited resources specifically aimed at Virginia, the broader issues covered by the website can easily be oriented to fit discussions about their specific application on the state and local level.

Virginia’s International Trade,

Virginia Economic Development Partnership

This website is aimed at business leaders, but it offers useful information for anyone interested in Virginia’s economy and the rest of the world. The Fast Facts section is particularly useful, with relevant articles such as “Federal vs. State Trade Policy.” There are also profiles of Virginia’s trade with countries such as China, Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Japan. Did you know that more than 2,600 U.S. companies have business operations in Mexico? Find out more at this website.

Virginia Economy at a Glance,

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

This website offers current information on what’s happening with Virginia’s economy. Don’t let the numbers intimidate you! These statistics can provide a lot of information about everything from the unemployment rate in Virginia to the economy of education. There is also more detailed information about urban centers in Virginia. Using this website requires a little extra work to see what all the numbers mean, but the information is well worth it.

Teen Business Link,

U.S. Small Business Administration

This government-run website is aimed at helping teens create their own small business. Teen Business Link covers everything from brainstorming ideas for a business to legal problems small business owners might face. Have you ever thought about what kind of business you might like to start? It’s also a step in the direction of understanding what issues small businesses (and even large ones) have to deal with every day.