Top 10 Fun Activities for ANY History Class!
Turn YOUR Social Studies class into your students favorite class!
Are you looking for ways to make your social studies class more engaging and fun? If so, then I have some great news for you! There are SO many ways you can spice up your history class and make it a lot more engaging and fun for your students.
Unfortunately, a lot of teachers struggle coming up with various ways to incorporate fun and engaging activity ideas into their lesson plans (including me!).
BUT, as I have found out over the years, there are so many specific historical events and important historical figures throughout history (whether it's U.S. history or world history) to base a fun and interactive learning activity off of. History is just one of those subjects that students either love or hate. And if they don’t love it, they probably hate it, making it that much harder to get them engaged. Classroom activities are a great addition to any lesson plan and can greatly enhance a students' knowledge and comprehension of a topic with seemingly minimal effort on the part of the teacher. Activities can come in many forms from fun games and exit tickets, to interactive notebooks and class discussion. Activities can also be used in a collaborative or individual manner. Many of my favorite classroom activities afford me the ability to place students into small groups, break up half of the class into two larger groups, or even have the students participate individually. Luckily, it can be relatively easy to make any dry subject engaging and fun. This article provides some great ideas and effective ways on how to do just that with your history lessons.
In no particular order, here are my top 10 favorite activities for teaching history no matter what time of the school year it is!
#1: Research Projects
One of the best ways to make history engaging for your students is to have them research topics themselves (through the use of primary sources!). This will help them to see just how interesting the past can be and why it is important to learn about it. If you have a research project in your history class, then it is likely that your students will love this subject even more. When students have a project of their own to work on, then it makes them feel like they are actually making progress in this class. There are so many topics that you can assign your students to research, from ancient civilizations to modern technologies. You can even assign them to research a historical event of their choice. When they are working on a research project, they will not only learn more about their own topic, but they will also learn about other topics too. This will help them to see how everything is connected and works together. If your students are given the choice over what they want to research, then it will make them more invested in this subject.
#2: Let Students Draw Historical Events as Comics
One of the most unique ways I've gotten my students more interested in history is by having them draw a comic strip based on an event or topic in history. This is a great way for your students to learn more about the event and to practice their creative skills. You could let your students choose any event in history that interests them and have them create a comic strip based on it. Or you could have them draw comic strips about different topics in your history lesson. This is a great way to have your students visualize what they have learned in their history class. This will help them to remember the information and make connections between different events. It is important to check that your students know how to draw a comic strip properly. This is something that you will want to make sure they know how to do before letting them draw one.
#3: Sum up the most important points at the end of each lesson
Another great way to make your history lessons more fun and engaging is to summarize the most important points from each lesson at the end of each class. You can do this by having your students create small groups and discussing what they learned during the period. Each group can then present one point that they think is the most important and why. Skipping the summary at the end of each lesson is one of the biggest mistakes that history teachers can make. By skipping this part of the lesson, you’re basically telling your students that what they learned is not important and should be forgotten. However, this is not the case at all! Every lesson in history is important. Every lesson has something important to teach us. Summarizing each lesson at the end and making sure that your students understand this is a great way to show them that you care about them and their education.
#4: Card Games
Card games are a great way to engage your students in lots of different subjects, including history. There are so many different card games based on historical events and topics. These are a great way to learn more about these events and people while having fun and being competitive. There are lots of different card games available online that are based on different historical events. There are also plenty of card game collections that include cards based around different historical topics. This way you can choose the cards that best fit your lesson and have your students play with them. Card games are a great way to practice skills such as critical thinking, teamwork and communication. Having your students play card games based on history is a great way to engage your class and make learning fun. Once you have finished your lesson, you can keep the cards and use them again on another day. This way you can create an ever-growing deck of cards that can be used in multiple ways.
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#5: Group Discussions
If you want to make your history lessons more engaging, you can try having your students engage in group discussions. These discussions can focus on a specific period of history or a specific topic related to history. They can also focus on current events that are related to a certain period of history. Having your students engage in group discussions is a great way for them to express their thoughts, feelings, and ideas about the subject they’re studying in a safe and open environment. It’s also a great way to get them to critically think about the topics they’re learning about and to come to their own conclusions. Having your students engage in group discussions is a great way to make your history lessons more engaging. It’s a great way to get your students thinking critically about the topics they’re studying in a safe and open environment. It’s a great way to encourage
#6: Understanding the Past: Teaching with Ghosts, Ruins, and Oral Histories
Historical events are something that you will always come across when teaching any type of history class. These events are a great topic to learn more about and can be used in many different ways to engage your students. After studying an event in history, you can have your students create a Ghost Story based around that. This can be done in a few different ways. You can either have your students write a story or create a comic strip. This is a great way for them to learn more about the event and for them to see how it might have played out. You can also have them create a video where they act out the event or have it narrated by an actor. This way your students will have fun while learning about the event and will remember it even more. This is a great activity for both younger and older students. You can also have your students create a Ruin that represents an event in history. This could be done in many different ways. Your students could draw a picture or create a model. They could even create a stop-motion video. You can have your students choose any event in history that interests them and create a Ruin that represents it. This will help them to learn more about the event and make it come to life.
#7: Writing Activities
Writing is a skill that many students take for granted. They are often so focused on grammar and spelling that they don’t realize how important their writing skills are. When teaching history, you can have your students write about different topics and events in history. This will help them to practice their writing skills and learn more about their history class. You could have your students write a narrative story about an event or write an article about a certain topic. You could also have them write a letter or journal entry from the perspective of someone from the past. There are so many different ways that you can have your students write in a history class. This is a great way for them to learn and practice their writing skills. It is also a great way to get them more engaged in the subject.
#8: Teach Vocabulary
In any history class, you are likely to come across lots of new and unfamiliar vocabulary words. It is important to teach your students these new terms and make them understand their meaning. This is a great way to make the lesson more engaging and help your students remember what they have learned. You could have your students come up with their own word definitions based on a topic in your history class. This is a great way for them to learn the new vocabulary words and teach other students what they mean. This can be done in a few different ways. You could have your students use word wheels or make their own word wall. You could also have them make their own flash cards to help them practice saying the new words correctly.
#9: Historical Role Play
If you want to teach your students some of the key figures in history, no matter what time period your students are learning about, you can try a historical role play! You can do this by having your students dress up in costume and act out certain periods or events in history. You can also try having them act out famous figures from history. This is a great way to get your students excited about their lessons and to engage them in an authentic and meaningful way. Role playing is one of the best ways to learn about history. It brings the past to life and immerses students in an experience that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to have. This is a great way to get your students excited about their lessons and engaged in the topics that you’re teaching them. It’s also a great way to show them that history is a lot more fun and interesting than they may think it is.
#10: Go on a Scavenger Hunt!
When you are teaching any subject, it is always a good idea to integrate lots of different skills. This way your students will be working on multiple things at once and won’t get bored. You can use a Scavenger Hunt to help your students learn more about a certain historical topic. You can either find some examples online or create your own. You can even create a Scavenger Hunt that is related to a certain skill that you are hoping to teach in your history class. For example, when teaching about the causes of the First World War, your students could be given items that need to be collected that help to explain this. You can use this hunt as a great way to engage your students and for them to practice critical thinking skills. A Scavenger Hunt can be played with a whole class of students or with smaller groups. This way you can make it easier for more students to get involved.
BONUS! Honorable Mentions:
- Political Cartoon analysis exercises and activities
- Having students create their own timeline of historical events
- Go on a field trip!
As you can see, there's a whole slew of activities and this is by no means an all inclusive list. Hopefully this article has helped spark some ideas and provided you with a fun way or two to give a try in your own classroom! It really doesn't matter if your teaching students about historical artifacts, a specific unit of study such as the American Revolution or the Civil Rights Movement, or if its the first day of school, you're in the midst of Black History Month, or it's the last day of school, activities of any kind or sort are a GREAT opportunity to foster and promote individual students learning and comprehension of important subject matter!
I personally curated ALL of the curriculum that I'm so glad and proud to offer fellow educators here at Lesson Plan Guru, putting my years of experience in the classroom, my background as an administrator, and my LOVE of all things history to good use.
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