As much as we want students to be eagerly interested in learning about important subjects such as world history, the truth is that most high schoolers are distracted by their social pursuits, or they are simply bored to death with a teacher giving a lecture on the board. Show your students that learning about world history can be exciting by incorporating engaging and competitive activities into lessons.
For this project, students pick a name out of a hat of a historical figure; someone who was important or instrumental during a specific time or event in world history. Students are then randomly paired up with a partner. The pairs must come up with a skit of a conversation that the two historical figures would have if they were able to meet. For instance, what would Julius Cesar say to Winston Churchill if they could meet? Encourage the students to think about what the two would have in common, based on what they have learned so far. Give the students a few days to do additional research to enhance their skits. Skits can be funny, sad, thought-provoking or whatever tone the students choose to take.
Have the students write in a journal about their life if they lived in a certain time and place for week. Each day they should write from the perspective of a different class level. For instance, if you are doing a unit on medieval times, one journal entry could be from the perspective of a peasant, the next day the journal entry could be from the view of a king. Another day could be from the perspective of a knight, another could be through the eyes of a castle worker. Have the student share the journal entries in the beginning of class.
World History Team Jeopardy
This activity is ideal for when the students need to get ready for a big test. Divide the class up into two teams and draw a Jeopardy-style game on the board with headings based on the units that will be covered in the test. Just like in the television shows, each category should have points for each level of question. Keep it simple with 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 point question levels. Provide each team with a buzzer from a board game or a bell, and play the game as on the television show. The teams should consult with each other before buzzing in with an answer. You can incorporate double Jeopardy points if you would like as well. Give them a tough final Jeopardy question that the students can wager their points on.
This game would also work well as a review. Describe a time, place, or person in world history with only three clues. The students have to try to figure out who or what you are referring to, then race to the board to write out the answer. If they get it correct, they win a point or piece of candy. The students can use their history books or clues around the room if they need to. You can give the clues all at once or separately to challenge the kids to really think.
- Easy Fun School: The Importance of Visualization and Role Play in History Lessons
- Sedia Hassan; Teacher, Montgomery County Schools; Rockville, MD
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