Lesson Ideas for Social Studies and Technology Integration

Fortunately for social studies teachers, many aspects of study in the content areas lend themselves to technology integration. Whether it be researching and creating spreadsheets with data, generating graphs or charts, or creating Web scavenger hunts, ideas abound for using technology in your social studies class today. Using your standards as a guide, modify any of the following ideas to fit your curriculum goals.

Lesson Ideas

Lesson Name
Comparison of Countries of the World
Technology Used
Internet and spreadsheet software (such as Microsoft Excel™)
Method
  1. Using the Internet, students should research information about different countries in the world. Ask students to compare five to ten different countries in different parts of the world, specifically looking for information such as:
    • population
    • literacy rates
    • number of televisions and telephones
    • currency
    • GDP
    • any other statistics that would apply to the class that you are teaching.
  2. Ask students to create a chart that contains the information.
  3. For upper levels, have students generate graphs to compare and contrast information.
Web Resources
 
Lesson Name
Supreme Court Research - Case Study Cartoon Strip
Technology Used
Internet and illustration or multimedia software
Method
  1. Divide the class into groups of three or four and assign them a Supreme Court case. Each group researches the case and uses the information to create a comic strip.

    Important cases that may be used for the activity are:
    • Marbury v. Madison
    • Dred Scott v. Sandford
    • Tinker v. Des Moines School District
    • Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier
    • Plessy v. Ferguson
    • Brown v. Board of Education
    • Miranda v. Arizona
    • Gideon v. Wainwright
    • New Jersey v. T.L.O.
    • Korematsu v. United States
  2. Students may either use an illustration software program, such as Adobe Illustrator or PaintShop Pro, a multimedia development tool such as Flash, or they may hand draw the comic strip. Consider having students include the following items as separate frames:
    • Year of the case
    • The facts (who, what, where)
    • The issue (The question the Court is asked to answer)
    • Petitioner's arguments (petitioner – the person who challenges the law)
    • Respondent's arguments (respondent – the person(s) that wants to defend the law and keep it as it is)
    • Decision and reasons
  3. Once this is completed, it is then presented to the class.
Web Resources
 
Lesson Name
American President's Gallery And Scavenger Hunt
Technology Used
Internet and graphic design software, such as Print Shop
Method
  1. Assign a different president to each student. If you have a small class, you may have to double up, so that all presidents can be covered.
  2. Each student should create a poster, including any information that you feel is appropriate for your grade level and course. If it is a middle school, you may want to include only ten items such as birthplace, years in office, spouse, important accomplishment, vice president, and so on.
  3. Use a graphic design program to create signs and banners that include the facts they put together. Images of the presidents can be found by going to Google.com and clicking on the Images link. If you are teaching an AP US History class, you can include analysis, in addition to facts.
  4. Hang the posters around the room, following a chronological order.
  5. Once all posters are hung, distribute a set of scavenger hunt questions that requires students to walk around and find the answers from the posters.
Web Resources
 
Lesson Name
The 50 States Web Site Project
Technology Used
Internet, Web site development tool or HTML, database program
Method
Many different projects and assignments can be used when studying the 50 states. Some examples are:
  • State Database—Each student researches specific information about a state (or states), according to the level and curriculum of the class. Teachers should create a simple database that includes all of the categories of facts your students are researching (population, density, and so on). Students add their information to the database throughout the year to create a searchable bank of state-related information. They can use the database to analyze and identify patterns in the collected information.
  • State Web Sites—Each student creates their own Web site about the state they are researching. Include graphics, text, audio files when possible.
  • United States Web Site—Create a class Web site of all 50 states. Link each page to one main page with a clickable map.
Web Resources
 
Lesson Name
The Social Issues Debates
Technology Used
Internet and presentation software, such as Microsoft PowerPoint™
Method
To teach critical thinking skills, allow your students to debate controversial issues such as abortion, world population, the death penalty, gun control, the environment, or any other issue that can create a stimulating pro and con discussion in your classroom. Once students do the research, they can create a presentation using PowerPoint to the entire class. Upon the conclusion of the presentations, debates can follow.
Web Resources

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