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8 Ideas for Fun History Class Activities with BenQ Boards
Teacher tips 'n tricks.
- Interactive Displays for Education
Raising aware and responsible individuals is as much the task of parents as it is of civics teachers like yourself. And we know that to prepare for the future, we need to look into the past.
History can teach us valuable lessons, but to do so you need to make sure you teach in the most effective manner possible. In 2022 you have more tools at hand than ever before. With the help of modern technology, you can bring a whole new level of interactivity and engagement into your civics and history classrooms.
One such tool are interactive displays from BenQ. Check these tips on how to best use your BenQ board to teach an unforgettable history class.
Here are 8 fun, engaging history class activities examples that your students will love for the BenQ interactive board.
Historical Visuals, Enhanced
Primary sources can be fun, put knowledge to practice, timelines visualized, host a debate, visit historical sites and museums right from your classroom.
- Put Students Right in the Heart of Events
- Bringing in Ourside Help
8 Examples of History Class Activities for BenQ Interactive Display
To engage modern students, working with a paper book full of text might not do the trick. Most 21 st century students respond much better to visual learning than text and dry lectures. This is one of the reasons showing images and videos about what you are teaching is never a bad idea.
As you cover various topics, you can display relevant images to your students, such as portraits of historical figures, photos of artifacts, drawings of cities in the past, battlefield layouts, or historical maps.
For some of these, it’s enough to simply show the materials. Others, like maps or battlefield plans, can benefit from further interaction. You may want to show your students directions of movement, point out specific locations, or highlight certain areas. The best way to do so is to download the relevant images to your cloud storage like Google Drive or your BenQ interactive board’s storage, and then upload them to EZWrite. This will allow you to annotate on the image, draw in different colors, and add sticky notes.
If you need to show an image in real time, e.g. when a topic unexpectedly comes up in class and you don’t have an image ready, you can simply go to the Firefox browser on your BenQ smart board and google the image you need to show your students. If you wish to annotate right there and then, worry not! Simply touch the board with two fingers and hold for a couple seconds, and a floating tool will appear. Simply grab your BenQ pen, select a color, and start drawing!
If you wish to show your students videos covering the topics your class is about, Firefox allows you to browse from millions of videos on the Internet. Aside from the obvious choice of YouTube, there are a couple of websites with curated educational videos we would like to recommend you check out. See the Smithsonian’s History Explorer for videos and teaching resources, or History Extra from BBC .
Generations of history teachers have depended on primary sources for teaching. Now you can easily do more with them. If you have PDF files for your primary sources, we recommend you upload them to EZWrite. As you analyze the text, you can interact with it as well!
Pick a student to come to the board and analyze the text as they read it aloud. Use the random picker tool in EZWrite to ensure that the student is chosen randomly. You can use the tool to pick more than one student. That’s a good idea if you’re planning to divide the text into smaller chunks and have more students involved.
Your students will come up to the board, grab the BenQ pen, and start underlining keywords as they read aloud. This will ensure that they truly understand what they are reading.
Alternatively, you can be the one reading if that’s what you prefer, or assign your students to do it themselves. You can enable EZWrite’s timer to give a sense of urgency. Turn on collaboration mode, ensure your students join the whiteboard from their device, and have them analyze the text on their own computer or tablet. As they go, they can highlight parts that they have questions about, then add notes on the margins or with sticky notes.
Reading primary source text can be a group activity! After completing the text, start a discussion and do your best to have your students work together on answering the questions they’ve noted rather than simply provide answers.
Remember the paper handout you might have given your students or received yourself back in your school days? With different exercises like match pictures with text, fill in the blank in cloze quizzes, or put events on a timeline? Each of these can now be a group activity, right in front of the classroom.
You can upload a PDF or PowerPoint with the cloze quiz into EZWrite. If you have text with blanks, you can ask your students to come to the board and fill in the words.
Alternatively, you can input the full text without blanks and cover up the words you wish to quiz them about by adding colored rectangles and placing them on top of words. Divide your class into groups, most conveniently by seat location, e.g. three teams for three rows. Students can raise their hands to guess words. When a student guesses correctly, you can move the rectangle away, or delete it, revealing the word. Enable the point counter with the corresponding number of teams and add a point each time a student gets the right answer.
Competing for points is a sure way to get your students excited about tasks and do their best as their competitive spirit is awakened.
Another sure way to keep your students engaged and entertained while teaching or reviewing your class material is through Kahoot! quizzes. The software allows you to design your own quiz, or select one of countless ready-made ones from the library. Your students join the game from their own device, with the questions and possible answers displayed on the board. Kahoot! app (tailored to your BenQ display) is available on BenQ App Store*.
* On certain devices, BenQ App Store can be found under name "BenQ Suggests"
One of the reasons many students fail to internalize historical events is the causal process that led to occurrences. For them to understand causality they need to first remember the order in which events happened.
Timeline to the rescue! BenQ interactive displays help you do the traditional timeline exercise in a fun way. Upload a suitable timeline background to EZWrite, as well as images of the events you wish your students to learn about. Write the dates on the timeline next to corresponding points on links. Add images of the events and scramble them on the whiteboard in EZWrite.
Have your students come to the board to drag images to the corresponding points. If they do it correctly, add a point either to an individual ranking you create or team ranking as described above.
A good way to ensure your students understand events is to have them discuss historical dates in detail. And no better way to encourage analysis, research, and discussion than by pitting your students against each other in a debate.
To facilitate debates, go to EZWrite and enable “team post” mode. Write the topic of the debate on top and copy it over to the other side. After, write a description on each side for every faction in a historical conflict that teams will be arguing for.
Present your students with certain topics like “Would Alexander the Great win in a war against Genghis Khan” or “Should the USA have joined WWII?”. Divide the class into two groups and give them some time to research and discuss the topic (enable the timer tool).
Write key arguments for each side when they’re mentioned. At the end of the debate, decide which side had more solid arguments and therefore wins.
These days we can travel without getting up from our seat. Of course not literally, but virtually.
Virtual trips and tours to historical sites are a great way to give your students a better picture of what you’re teaching them about.
Google Earth and Google Maps enable you to “visit” any place in the modern world. Almost every location is available for you to see, including historical sites like the Acropolis in Athens or Machu Picchu in Peru. With the Street View function you can take a virtual walking tour around many sites, viewing them from all angles.
Google also shares another resource called Google Arts & Cultures , which allows you to take virtual museum trips all around the world for free!
To take virtual trips, simply go to your Firefox browser, type the address in the top navigation bar, and go to the websites you’d like to visit just like you would from your PC or tablet.
Put Your Students Right in the Heart of Events
One of the most exciting things students find about history are all things military, especially battles.
If you’re teaching about some of the most iconic clashes or wish to compare military forces, their equipment, strategies, and effectiveness, you can run a simulation of a battle right in front of the classroom. To do so, connect and casr your computer screen to the board either by an HDMI cable (with touch control), or via InstaShare wireless casting.
Several games are available on Steam for you to download and run, e.g. Totally Accurate Battle Simulator or Ultimate Epic Battle Simulator.
By running this software on your PC and casting it to your board, you can show all your students how certain fantasy battles would end up or how the results of historical battles would change if you tweaked certain factors.
This is fun for hours, because your students have much more control over what is happening than when watching a passive video simulation.
Bringing in Outside Help
When you don’t have time to prepare your class materials or resources, you can resort to the infinite vaults of the internet.
Plenty of websites with activities and resources are out there to help you right when you need them. Some of them include games, 3D simulations and models, maps, images, and videos, as well as primary sources and articles.
Some of the websites that you can check out are Smithsonian’s History Explorer , History Extra , School History UK , and PBS Learning Media . For interactive historical games tailored to US curricula, check out iCivics .
You can also use mobile device apps. To do so, download and install them on your personal device (like smartphone or tablet), cast the screen to the board via InstaShare, and see them on the big screen.
An amazing mobile device app that we would like to recommend is a Civilizations AR app . With it, you can show your students historical artifacts as if they were right there in your classroom. Imagine “placing” a Pharaoh’s sarcophagus on your desk and x-ray scanning it to show your students the mummy inside. Neat, right?
Other apps you can cast from your device to the board are TimeTours , available for iPad, and History Adventures , an enhanced reading experience piece available on Apple Books.
Learn About History, Prepare for the Future
Teaching history doesn’t have to be done the archaic way, you can use a more modern and fun approach. If done right, your history class can encourage your students to learn more in their free time.
And since the world is moving in a paperless, digitized direction, your students will need to become familiar with modern tools, technologies, and attitudes. Why not start right there, in your classroom?
To see how else BenQ can help you deliver amazing classes, check our other articles below and learn more about BenQ interactive displays.
[Teacher Tips 'N Tricks] Kahoot! on BenQ Boards- Guide to Fun, Engaging Classes
Kahoot! is a great tool to create fun classes and improve students engagement. Learn how to get started with Kahoot! on your BenQ Interactive Display.
[Teacher Tips 'N Tricks] 4 Apps You Need to Start Using Now on Your BenQ Board
Here is a list of 4 must-have apps for interactive displays in your classroom that will reshape the way you teach and students learn
[Teacher Tips 'N Tricks] 5 Websites You Should Be Using Now in Classrooms With BenQ Boards
See 5 examples of websites that can help you teach easier and more efficient and make classes unforgettable, directly from your BenQ Interactive Display
[Teacher Tips 'N Tricks] How to Prepare Your Students for Collaborative Future in Tech-Rich Classrooms?
Collaboration is a skill your students will need in the future. Now, thanks to BenQ boards, you have a chance to teach your students how to work in a project team!
Learn more about germ-resistant interactive displays that enable modern, immersive, and engaging learning- also in blended learning scenarios!
- Boost engagement using the built-in productivity features
- Safeguard user health with a germ-resistant screen
- Write or draw over any content displayed on screen
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10 Ways To Make History Class Engaging For Students
- July 16, 2022
Table of Content
History class is more than just reading from a textbook. History is a record of mankind’s journey from when they first arrived on the planet to when they waged battles for kingdoms and ushered in the era of technology . Because it contains all of the ingredients of a potboiler, it should be a subject that youngsters are eager to learn. However, for most pupils, history is one of the most uninteresting courses in school. Of course, walking into a class and seeing a sea of blank faces is discouraging for a teacher. Here are some ideas for increasing student involvement in history classes.
10 Ways to Make History Class more Engaging
Use visual media to supplement your teaching .
One advantage of teaching history is that filmmakers have an undying passion for the topic. As a result, there are many historical films accessible. Following the viewing of the film or television program, you and your students might hold a conversation about the historical correctness of the film, as well as the sections they loved and related with.
As a History teacher you should engage your students in the historical period if you want them to be engaged. Roleplaying is an excellent method to get children involved and learn about different periods of history.
Consider assigning each student to choose a historical figure from the period and write a speech complete with a costume. Again, students are more likely to become involved when they see their peers engaged.
Find entertaining information to discuss during history class
Some historical issues are inevitably dry. Teaching kids about the American War of Independence, the Boston Tea Party, and other historical events, for example, might be a test of patience since there is nothing that connects India to these events. As a result, kids have little interest in studying these events.
So, how may these subjects be made more interesting? You may teach them intriguing information about yourself while teaching them. But, of course, what constitutes an intriguing fact relies on you and your students.
Trips to the Field
Bringing history students into the environment they’re learning about is one of the most effective methods to engage them. Take your students on a field trip to a museum that includes world war II relics if you’re teaching about world war II history. Simply removing your students from the traditional classroom learning environment and placing them in a different visual environment may drive interest.
If you can’t arrange a physical field trip, try taking a virtual one. Many museums provide virtual tours for students to learn about history when they cannot visit the museum in person. Simply immerse your students in a historical setting that allows their perceptions to engage with your lecture.
Use entertaining memory aids to help students remember dates
There are an infinite number of dates in history that must be remembered. Yet, seeing a list of them might be incredibly unsettling. So, how can you assist your students in remembering them better? One method is to use memory aids, which converts information into a form that the brain can recall more easily.
Transform History Class into Stories
Each historical epoch is fundamentally a tale in the grand scheme of things. Rather than mandating textbook reading, turn it into Storytime. It is far simpler for a student to learn when immersed in a tale than reading line after line of tedious text.
Your students can readily interact with the tale when there are visual, audio, and emotional signals. You may make this historical character into a live, breathing person to whom your students can relate.
Understanding history entails examining it from your point of view. Group discussions are an excellent tool for students to boost their learning about the historical period and raise questions about topics they don’t grasp. The more active you can get the team, the more conversation they’ll appreciate.
Suggested – How And Why Group Discussion Is Important In Teaching
Treat history as though it were a live news segment
While much of history’s attraction stems from the fact that it occurred a few hundred years ago, for many, this is also history’s largest drawback. It is unusual to hear a youngster say, “But that occurred so long ago, I don’t need to know that !” To avoid such objections, as a history teacher you should approach historical events as if they were current happenings.
And give the information to your students in the manner of recently acquired catchphrases or current events. Instead of gloomy expressions, you should have eager faces listening carefully to every word if you present your course in this manner.
Choose a few key topics to concentrate on
Choose only a few significant themes and/or subjects to focus on while planning the history lesson curriculum. Rather than trying to cover everything, concentrate on strategies to develop important knowledge. While you must follow some institutional guidelines.
It is difficult for you to teach your students all there is to know about a history lesson. Students will have more opportunities to think critically about and comprehend the past if they go further into select themes or issues.
Simplify Things for Students
Maintain simplicity. Begin your journey through history by giving your students a broad overview of what they’ll be learning. It’s easy to get too narrow too quickly. Instead, summarize the period and emphasize the important events and persons. To introduce a history lesson plan to your students, use an introduction exercise such as a map or a wide chronology.
You must still cover the elements of your curriculum. However, incorporating some of these ideas into your everyday teaching may make history class more engaging for your students . Join us at Classplus, where we provide engaging and cutting-edge technologies to make teaching easier. Get your own app and reach out to a larger number of students across the country. To know more, connect with us and talk to our experts now!
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5 Fun Social Studies Activities to Liven Up Your Lessons
Demme Learning · January 18, 2023 · Leave a Comment
History is an important subject that often gets shoved into the shadows while math, reading, and writing take the spotlight. There’s a great deal of knowledge and skills that students can gain from exploring the past. But what if your students simply aren’t interested in learning about history? Here are five fun social studies activities to make your history lessons more engaging!
1) Create Comics
Want to get your students more invested in learning about a historical or political topic? Have them unleash their creativity by drawing a comic strip or cartoon to represent a given concept or event, such as the Boston Tea Party. Not only is this a great way to increase engagement, but it also helps students visualize and internalize what they’re learning. Plus, it provides them with an opportunity to practice their art skills as well!
Before your students begin working on their comics, be sure to communicate your expectations clearly and show plenty of examples for inspiration.
2) Get Into Character
Another way to bring history to life is through role playing. Oftentimes, we understand the people and events in history better when we block out our present worldview. So, push your textbooks aside and encourage your students to put themselves into the shoes of someone from the past.
You can have them act out historical events, do a presentation on a historical figure and dress up, or even attend a reenactment in your area, if possible. Role playing works for just about any unit, from ancient Greece to the American Revolution.
3) Write Historical Journal Entries
Journaling is another fun social studies activity that helps students build understanding by imagining themselves in the situation of someone from another time period.
At least for more recent centuries, there’s no shortage of journal entries and letters written from historical figures and ordinary folks living at the time. These writings can provide valuable insights about the past from those who experienced it firsthand.
You can check public library databases for original documents to incorporate into your lessons. First, you’ll want to have your students read the actual entries and discuss them together. Once they have the appropriate background knowledge, ask them to write their own entries from the perspective of someone from that given time period.
For example, if you’re focusing on Ellis Island, assign each student an actual person who went through the process at Ellis Island . Then, using what they know about the immigrant experience there, ask them to write a few diary entries as if they were that person. Encourage them to do additional research as needed to ensure accuracy.
4) Read Engaging Books
Sure, reading textbooks, biographies, and firsthand accounts is incredibly important when it comes to teaching history, but there’s also a lot of value in reading lower academic books as well!
There’s a wide variety of picture books these days that focus on social studies topics. And while picture books are mainly used for young learners, students of all ages can benefit from the vivid illustrations, concise information, and captivating storylines. They’re particularly excellent tools for introducing new topics and activating background knowledge.
In addition to children’s books, we also suggest doing a read-aloud for each unit of study. There are plenty of fantastic historical fiction books based on various people, events, and experiences from the past (Ex: The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis). This is a great way to extend classroom learning and have students relate more to the content.
5) Interact with Artifacts
The last fun social studies activity we want to share with you is having your students interact with artifacts as often as possible. Being able to actually see and feel a historical artifact typically provides a more in-depth understanding than simply reading about it in a book. It’s also more likely to spark students’ interest on the topic at hand.
While we recognize that it can be challenging to find historical objects to use in your lessons, we’re certainly not expecting you to get your hands on Davy Crockett’s hat from the Alamo. There are attainable ways to expose your students to primary sources and artifacts, such as:
- Borrowing objects from local organizations (museums, historical societies)
- Accessing digitized materials from library databases (such as the New York Public Library )
- Creating or purchasing replica artifacts
- Watching videos from reliable sources
You can also provide your students with interactive experiences by going on field trips to historical sites in your area or visiting locations throughout the world virtually.
Long gone are the days when teaching history meant solely relying on a textbook (thankfully). There are many resources available today to help bring history to life in your lessons. These five fun social studies activities are just a few ways that you can cultivate your students’ interest in learning about the past.
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History Lesson Starters
Lesson starters set the tone for the teaching and learning process. at the beginning, standards should be set to get students ready for learning. download our history lesson starter guide perfect to use with students of all ages., download history lesson starters.
Click here and download sample of charge our History Lesson Starter File for KS3 and GCSE.
Download free samples
Lesson starters set the tone for the teaching and learning process. At the beginning, standards should be set to get students ready for learning. Starters are an effective approach to get students focused on learning, to make them think and, of course, to hook them into the lesson. This file offers a growing list of suggestions for KS3 history lesson starters
This Day in History
The teacher will assign students with researching a historic event that happened on the assigned day. The student will stand in front of the class sharing their research, while the teacher can utilise the event to expand on history or, if possible link, it to the lesson for that day. Other students are encouraged to express their thoughts. The activity should not be longer than 3-5 minutes.
Flash a Picture
For two minutes, display a picture for students to examine then ask them for feedback about it. The teacher can also ask volunteers to write keywords on the board to be used in the discussion.
The teacher provides bingo sheets of keywords related to the lesson. While the teacher reads the definition of each keyword, students will mark their bingo sheets with definition matches. The first student to get a line (horizontal, vertical, or diagonal) calls ‘Bingo!’ and wins.
Odd One Out
Students are provided with 3 to 4 keywords/places/people, etc. They need to identify which one does not belong to the group and the reason why. Afterwards, they have to suggest another word to be added as a replacement for the odd one out.
Guess Who?/Guess What?
The teacher will give clues about key people, events, places etc. regarding the topic. The students will guess the answer.
Do you Remember?
The teacher will ask students to write down the main points they remember from the previous lesson. This activity can be done in pairs or in groups. The aim is to review content from the previous lesson and link it to the next topic.
As a prerequisite, the teacher should have assigned a research homework activity prior to the meeting. At the beginning of the lesson, the teacher will draw a spider diagram on the board to be filled in with key terms/main ideas by the students based on their homework. By the end of the discussion, get back on the spider diagram and see which ideas are justified or needs more explanation.
Start the discussion with a picture or statement related to the topic. Ask the students for their own interpretation of the source. The teacher could then begin with the lesson based on the closest inference.
Like a quiz show, ask for volunteers to fill in two opposing factions who would arrange cards (with events) in chronological order. The winning team gets a prize or additional points in the actual assessment after the lesson.
The teacher will display a map on a large screen with clues and ask the students to figure out the topic of the day. The students are also expected to share their schema of the lesson.
The teacher will provide at least 4 pictures related to the topic of the day and task the students with describing each picture before guessing what the lesson is all about.
The teacher will post two images of opposing factions and ask the students who would win the fight and why based on their schema. Prior to this activity, homework should be given by the teacher.
Using a box filled with questions, the teacher will ask volunteers to pick a strip of paper and answer the question provided. Each question will lead the students to unbox the lesson for the day.
The teacher will write the name of a significant person related to the lesson and let the students fill in each letter with keywords that could describe that person or the lesson in general. During or at the end of the lesson, the class could check the words they compiled.
Using a slide presentation, the teacher will conduct a Family Feud-like game after grouping the class. A question related to the lesson will be posted for the members of a group who buzz first until the list is complete. If the group answers 3 incorrectly, the opposing team will have the chance to answer and steal the points.
Stand or Seat!
The teacher will give the class statements that may be included during the actual discussion of the lesson. Students who think that the statement is true will stand up, while those who think otherwise will remain seated. Statements should be answered after the discussion, so that students can reflect on their initial answer.