Fourth-grade social studies lessons emphasize the students’ local state, so teachers can use that information to get them out and about, taking trips -- real or virtual -- acting out a play or making a creative map. Special projects like these enhance what the kids learn and give them a chance to show it.

Take a Virtual Tour

Native American artifacts.
Native American artifacts.

Fourth-graders study their home state’s history, geography and culture, making historical museums or villages a great fit. To save the cost and time of travel, offer a virtual tour, where students use the Internet to view photos, videos and information about an educational site. Students can fill in a timeline as they learn how the events unfolded in the state’s history. State museums dedicated to the area’s Native American history or a Revolutionary War battleground museum, for example, often have such Internet sites.

Take a Government Trip

The white house in Washington, DC
The white house in Washington, DC

Because fourth-graders learn about how state officials create laws and how they are carried out, a field trip to the state capitol fits that lesson. Seeing the rooms where government work takes place, perhaps even watching a legislative session, helps the students understand more concretely the government structure they read and learn about in class. Have them fill out a chart showing the branches of government -- executive, legislative and judicial -- and write down the observations they develop during the trip.

Put on a Play

Revolutionary war reenactment.
Revolutionary war reenactment.

Fourth-grade students may enjoy acting out their social studies lessons in short plays. If your state has a rich history in the American Revolution or Civil War, for example, have the kids research how the war affected life in their area and then put on a play, writing the script, making costumes, props and scenes and acting out the story. Fourth-graders are expected to understand how modern life and laws were shaped by those who came before, and acting out history cements the lesson in their memories and shows teachers what they have learned.

Create a Map

Students studying a globe with social studies teacher.
Students studying a globe with social studies teacher.

A cup of salt, two cups of flour and up to a cup of water mixed into a smooth dough provide the makings of a relief map. Kids in fourth grade study their state’s geography and history and can put those lessons into practice with a three-dimensional map, using different colors and textures to denote historical features, such as territories held during a war or Native American tribal areas. To begin, trace the outline of the state onto a piece of wood and cover it carefully with the dough, creating ridges and depressions to mimic natural features, painting it once it’s dry.