Do you remember being taught social studies through a text book when you were a child? Do you remember being assigned to read a chapter, answer questions in writing, and then have a written test after each unit? This is how we were taught social studies going through school. No creativity, no critical thinking, no exploration whatsoever.
When we both became teachers, we vowed that we would make history “come alive” for our students. Text books would be in the room, but would not be the main focus. We wanted to make our lessons interactive, engaging, and teach in a way that would connect with students on a deeper level.
Here are four great US History activities that are sure to be a hit in your classroom.
This resource has 16 documents that are intended to provide students with an interactive experience for what it was like to travel the Oregon Trail. Students begin their journey in Independence, Missouri by forming their wagon family. They will then have to purchase supplies at the general store before leaving. On their journey, students will be rolling dice to see what happens along the trail. They also have a food log they have to keep track. Beware of the river crossings. They can be dangerous too.
Students will be actively involved and each wagon member has a specific job that s/he has to do in the process! Watch your students have a blast while trying to make it to the Oregon Territory before supplies run out or before something tragic happens.
The documents included are: an introductory scenario, a detailed lesson plan page for teachers to follow, pre-teaching activities, a vocabulary worksheet, trail bucks, bullet tracker form, and so much more.
This packet also includes health, hunting, river crossing, and random events cards. An example of a hunting card would be: “You shot at a buffalo. If you roll a 5 then you got it and can add 200 pounds to your food supply. If you roll a 1, 2, 3, 4, or 6 then you missed. Subtract 6 bullets from your Bullet Tracker sheet also”.
Also included in the packet are some extra credit project choices (including an iPod Touch activity that would have been helpful on the trail) and a game board.
This is a very comprehensive packet that could easily be adapted and used for math as well. This is an experience that our students have really enjoyed.
This resource contains a 5-page activity that has students to get a deeper understanding of the Declaration of Independence. Your students will become “Declaration Detectives” and have to use various resources to find out the meaning of this important document in United States history.
Included in the resource is:
-A 5-page student handout with 10 key questions
-An assessment rubric aligned to the ELA Social Studies Common Core Standards
-Declaration Detectives answer key.
Watch your students have fun learning while learning about one of the most important documents in United States history.
This Civil War bundle is a great activity to either do in groups or individually. The topics included in this activity are:
-Beliefs of the North and the South
-Strengths of both sides
-Leaders of the Civil War (Presidents and Generals)
-Strategies for the war
-Famous battles and who won
-Women and the war
The intention of this activity is for your students to gain a better understanding of the Civil War and its impact on our nation. You may find it useful to do a pre-activity with your students by having them take out a sheet of paper and ask them to write down some answers to some of the questions they will be researching. Students can compare their answer at the end of the activity as well.
Included in this bundle is:
-Civil War student handout (10 pages)
-Teacher’s Tips & Answer Key
-Teamwork grading rubric
-Civil War quiz & answer key
-Citing evidence extension activity with helpful hints page
For this activity, you will need to break your students up into groups of 3-4. Students will work together to answer the questions.
Included in the student handout are links to useful Internet sites that your students may find useful. Of course a book will work out great as well.
After the groups have filled out their packets, you can assign different groups to present a certain section (or two).
You may also find it beneficial to have students to answer one of the questions from the citing evidence extension handout. A helpful hints page is also included to help your students with this activity.
Your students will come away with a broader understanding of what our nation was like during the Civil War Era.
Your students will become detectives and research the U.S. Constitution in a fun and meaningful way. This is a comprehensive 11-page document that includes questions about the Constitution. The questions are all referenced by the Article and Section within the Constitution. This project will make learning about this important document more understandable for your students. It also includes an ANSWER KEY! Students will need some books and resources for this.
This is best used in cooperative groups that can work together to answer the questions. Students will come away from this activity with a deeper understanding of the U.S. Constitution.
History will come alive in your classroom, and with the above activities, you will be equipped to help your students learn in a fun and engaging way.
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