This project focused on delivering information on ancient Egypt to sixth grade students in a way that is both hands-on and interactive. This type of learning is beneficial to students who are tactile, visual, auditory, and interpersonal learners. While many students fit into more than one type of preferred learning, this project tried to fit all modalities of learning into its lessons.
The implementation of the new Common Core Standards brings more critical thinking into the classroom. This project incorporates this critical thinking through the use of critiquing ancient works of Egyptian art, and through looking at how the Egyptian social classes worked in tandem to create a civilization that thrived for generations. This critical thinking will benefit the students because they will see that they can learn a subject without having to rely solely on reading a textbook.
Through talking with my students, I learned that they enjoy doing hands-on projects in school, and that they dislike writing and answering questions based on their textbook. Taking that information, I created a project that incorporated the students’ likes into their education. It is my belief that if students do not enjoy learning, they will not retain what they are taught. However, if information can be presented to students in a way that they find fun and engaging, they will retain the information and there will also be more of a chance that they will want to learn more about it outside of the classroom.
This project that I have created uses many different techniques to present students with information, some of which include: WebQuests, debates, art projects, hands-on mummification, and using students as “teachers” during guided notes sessions. Even though I believe that students learn the best through hands-on and interactive experiences, I still incorporated the use of textbooks and guided notes into this project because students in sixth grade need to learn how to use these invaluable resources to benefit their learning.
Through the use of guided notes, my students are able to begin to learn the note taking process and it’s benefits. The guided notes used in this project help students to learn what is important enough to write down, and what is not. The note taking portion of the social class research project and the WebQuest also help m y students to practice taking notes on topics using textbooks, the Internet, and other hard copy sources.
There has been a plethora research conducted that shows the benefits of using interactive, hands-on learning activities in the classroom. These benefits can range anywhere from students being engaged in what they are learning and spending more time on activities, to students earning better grades and wanting to spend time outside of school learning more about a specific topic.
Social studies really lends itself to hands-on learning because there are so many different topics that can be covered with tactile learning (such as creating artifacts or examining real artifacts at museums), visual learning (such as looking at artwork from the time period being studied, creating tomb paintings or even creating papyrus), and auditory learning (such as listening to music from that time period or region being learned about).
Even though this project is geared towards sixth grade, the activities can be modified to fit younger grades or older grades. It has been my experience that students in high school like to learn through hands-on methods just like younger students. However, teachers need to ensure that the activities used to present information are age appropriate.
I hope that you will be able to utilize all or part of this project in your own social studies classroom. If you have any questions or concerns about this project, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.