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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Using Activities that don't require technology in the Social Studies Classroom

Using Activities that don't require technology in the Social Studies Classroom

Related Tags: Social Studies
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13 Replies 2431 Views
What are some of your favorite lessons and/or activities you like to use with your students that don't require the use of technology? Please share some ideas with us. Thank you!

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salenacathcart's picture
salenacathcart
sixth grade social studies teacher from South Carolina

Love the Medieval idea! I did finally figure out a way to explain inflation by using a similar thought. When we discuss currency, I will often have students ask why the government doesn't just print more money. I explain that it's like Chuck E Cheese tickets...you can make the games print more tickets, but the guy behind the counter is just going to jack up the prices on the stuff you can buy with the tickets.

I was wondering if anyone had thought of a similar (simple) way to explain how the electoral system functionally works itself out. I thought of putting numbers under student desks to represent the number of electorates per locale. I thought it would be really cool to work it out so that it was like the Gore/Bush election with an electoral but not popular vote win. I'm mathematically challenged, so never did try to work it out in full. :0/

Ron Peck's picture
Ron Peck
H.S. Social Studies teacher from Medford, Oregon.
Blogger 2014

Salena,
I love your Chuck E. Cheese analogy. I think your idea with electors under the seats might work. You'll need more students for a vote. Maybe a school wide vote and then bring it to just your classroom and have your students represent the states or electors.

Here's a link to the National Archives page on the Electoral College. http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/index.html

Good Luck!

Ron

Sal Vascellaro's picture
Sal Vascellaro
Graduate Faculty at Bank Street College of Education in New York City

The question is an important one. In my recent book OUT OF THE CLASSROOM AND INTO THE WORLD I explore from the perspective of children and teachers of using the social and physical world around students as the generative material for an integrated curriculum. There are many classroom examples used to demonstrate the power of this form of social studies learning. See: www.classroom2world.com
Sal Vascellaro

Ron Peck's picture
Ron Peck
H.S. Social Studies teacher from Medford, Oregon.
Blogger 2014

I use Socratic Seminars as part of Flipping my classroom. They get primary source documents to read or research and analyze. Here's a great place to start: http://www.nwabr.org/education/pdfs/PRIMER/PrimerPieces/SocSem.pdf

You can use this in so many ways to spark discussion and deeper meaning. A great critical thinking activity.

I also use Colaborize Classroom for homework discussions of the same type. www.colaborizeclassroom.com

Have fun with those.

Kimberly Waldin's picture
Kimberly Waldin
Performing Arts Consultant

Townhall Meeting:
One enactment idea I love is having a townhall meeting. For example, if you are studying the voyage of the Mayflower, each student would choose a "character," either historical or fictional, of someone who had made the voyage (if this is your first time doing this activity, you can include a list of characters for your students to choose from.) From there, they would identify who their character is (their personal biography - have a list of some basic questions for them to answer as a jumping off point,) what they want, and what is at stake for them (eg. is it in their best interest to go back to England or to try to make a home in the New World?) Once they figure that out individually (just a little research and a piece of paper to write their character's biography,) then get the kids together in a circle to debate the issue. It may take a little practice to get them started, but they'll have fun once they catch on! It forces the kids to think about not just the facts of the lesson, but the lives of the people who experienced them.

Debbie Vane's picture
Debbie Vane
4th Grade Homeschool Teacher

When I taught 6th grade, my students chose an Egyptian historic character to research and then they dressed up as the character and put on a Wax Museum for the younger elementary students. We used the cafeteria as our display room. My students were all posed around the cafeteria and when students walked up they would move and give a speech about their life. My students loved it and so did the younger kids :)

Ron Peck's picture
Ron Peck
H.S. Social Studies teacher from Medford, Oregon.
Blogger 2014

I love this activity and it can be done with any number of events and people.

Thank you for sharing.

Kimberly Waldin's picture
Kimberly Waldin
Performing Arts Consultant

I've done a similar project with a class. The students selected a historical figure to research. The only criteria was that the person could not be currently living and they had to have had an impact on society in some way. Then, like your idea (which sounded like it must have been amazing to watch!) the students wrote monologues (speeches.) We started the process by writing biographies, identifying a significant moment in that person's life. Through a series of creative writing activities (eg. write about an image your character would want to and then another that your character would not want to see/touch/ smell, etc.) they built their monologue to present to an audience. The students worked in pairs, staging and directing one another's work, and the project ended with a presentation to other classes of differing ages. Each monologue was followed with a Q&A, and it was amazing the discussions that took place. Some of the historical figures that were represented included: Nelly Bly, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Adolf Hitler. I think it need be said - I was very impressed with the care and honesty with which my students treated the assignment and their representation of who their character was in life.

Debbie Vane's picture
Debbie Vane
4th Grade Homeschool Teacher

Kimberly, I love the idea of monologues and the addition of staging and directing in pairs. I will certainly use this idea :) Thanks for sharing.

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