Depending on where in the country you live, state history usually becomes a required topic around fourth grade. There are only so many handouts and worksheets students can do before the subject becomes boring for both you and them. If you are searching for some creative ways to get your students immersed in their state history, try one of the ideas below. They will get students out of their seats and make learning a lot more fun.
Teaching State History
Dig For It
In this activity, you bury clues about your state in a large tub or bucket. In Pennsylvania, for example, the chief agricultural product is corn, so bury everything in a bucket of dried corn or popcorn kernels. Pictures of the state bird, a word scramble with the state motto, and a map that marks the location of the state capital can all be included. Let students dig for a new object each day and record the information in a journal about state facts. If they find the state animal, for instance, they can research and write a paragraph about it in their journals for that day. The hands-on, tactile learning will stick with them and help with fact retention come test time.
State Department of Tourism
Let your budding marketers and videographers excel with this clever idea. Separate students into cooperative learning groups with the objective of creating a promotional tourism video and brochure. They will need to include all of the facts that you need to hit on for the curriculum in their work. This is a great project for your students who struggle with reading or writing, because it capitalizes on their verbal and artistic skills. Use your smart phone or a small camcorder to record the presentations. They can then be streamed to your computer and Smart Board during a school or class open house.
It takes a lot of work to create a class play, especially when you have a large class. Is it worth it to help students remember the material? Absolutely. Have students work together to create a play that they can present to the rest of the school about their state and its history. If your class is large in number, divide students into small groups to work on different aspects of the material. One group could talk about the state animal and bird, another could focus on the founding of the state, while another could tell about the state capital. To demonstrate to your students how each group’s information is just as important as the other parts, draw a large outline of your state and divide it into equal sections based on the number of student groups that you have. It will quickly become apparent that each group plays an important role in telling of the state’s history and facts.
How do you teach state history to your students?
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