Interactive Social Studies for the Google Classroom
Social Studies classrooms cover a vast array of content which can sometimes be overwhelming for students. Unlike most other content areas, social studies concepts continue to grow and expand as time continues. Integrating interactive content into social studies classrooms is great way to keep students interested in lessons and help them retain the content taught by the teacher. Social studies courses are also the perfect arena for teachers to incorporate cross-curricular connections into lessons and activities.
PBS Learning media offers standards-based lesson plans, videos, and interactive activities to teachers. Teachers can customize lessons, puzzles, and quizzes for students as well as save and organize resources. Content can be filtered by grade level and type which allows teachers to locate resources quickly. PBS Learning Media is fully compatible with Google Classroom, and it’s free.
The Library of Congress website offers numerous free teacher resources, games, civics interactives, and primary resources for teacher and student use. Resources encompass grades K-12, and professional development resources for teachers are also included on the site. Materials from the Library of Congress can be incorporated into Google Classroom with the Share to Classroom extension.
Newsela can be used in the social studies classroom for assigning articles or text sets to students. These can be incorporated into current events and lessons in a variety of ways. Text sets contain writing prompts for students to analyze the historical significance of documents, and individual articles include guiding questions or writing prompts. Assignments can be shared with students directly through Google Classroom. Newsela has a basic plan which is free, but the option to upgrade to a premium service is available.
iCivics is a free platform created to help students engage with civic content through interactive games, digital literacy tools, and lesson plans. Plans are available for middle and high school levels, and the search tool allows lesson plans to be located by subject or by standard. iCivics games and assignments can be shared to Google Classroom via the Share to Classroom extension for Chrome.
DBQuest provides students an opportunity to examine primary sources through an interactive document analysis tool. Questions and writing prompts allow students to dig deeper into the text in order to cite evidence in support of their answers. DBQuest provides a way for social studies teachers to make cross-curricular connections and incorporate literacy skills into lessons. DBQuest activities can be shared to Google Classroom through the Share to Classroom extension for Chrome.
Smithsonian’s History Explorer
Smithsonian’s History Explorer contains a wealth of information for social studies classrooms and beyond. It includes lesson plans, interactive activities, videos, museum artifacts, and teacher resources. Resources are available for grades K-12 and can be filtered by grade level, resource type, historical era, and cross-curricular connections. Resources are also aligned to national social studies standards, and each lesson lists standards-based connections. In addition, after choosing a resource, related resources are listed in the sidebar on the right-hand side of the page. All resources from the Smithsonian’s History Explorer can be shared through Google Classroom with the Share to Classroom extension for Chrome.