During the last few weeks of school, you may be wondering what on Earth to do in social studies. Here’s the good news: the end of the year is the PERFECT time for projects and activities that you couldn’t get to earlier in the year. Students love the chance to do small group activities, passion projects, and extension projects that go beyond the curriculum. Let’s look at 10 awesome end-of-year social studies activities you can use with your 3rd, 4th, or 5th graders!
Make a Yearbook
What better way to wrap up all of the important historical figures students have learned about than creating a yearbook? Coming up with superlatives, “team” rosters, and even “autographs” is an engaging way to review the people your students have studied this year.
This digital yearbook activity has everything you need to get started if you teach Virginia Studies!
Design a Road Marker
Another creative social studies project is to design a historical road marker or plaque to commemorate an important place/event. This user-made Google map shows tons of road markers in Virginia if you want students to explore real examples.
Make a Giant Timeline
Students can decorate pennants to make a timeline of important historical events from the curriculum. This works really well for a May or June bulletin board and is also great for spring test review!
Complete a Biography Report
I love having students choose their own important people from history to research. Students can use these biography report templates right in Google Slides to research and present to the class!
Make a Time Capsule
This one is so fun! Kids can make an actual time capsule or a digital one to encompass what life is like for them right now. If that’s more project than you can handle at this time of year, another option is for them to write a letter to their future selves!
If you haven’t had much time to use read-alouds in your social studies lessons, now is a great time! There are so many ways you can use literary nonfiction and informational picture books and chapter books to teach history!
Try an Art Project
Get artistic! Think murals, maps, landscapes, portraits, sculptures, and even pottery and weaving! My students have really enjoyed making a 3D map of Virginia. They had such a blast using all kinds of art materials to represent the different geographic features and regional products. I even cut out little photos of them to put all around the map!
If you want, you can set up a “museum” or gallery walk with the finished products. Even better, throw on some music from that time period (if that’s an option).
Play a Trivia Game
Another fun end-of-year social studies activity is to play trivia! You can do this with totally new content (like a preview of what they’ll learn in the next grade), review old stuff, or a mix!
Publish a Book
Here in Virginia, some of the history standards repeat. For example, students learn about Maggie L. Walker in first grade and then again in Virginia Studies. How fun would it be for firsties to read books about these topics that were made by the bigger kids at their school?! Writing historical fiction short stories is another fun option and it’s great for partner work!
Explore Current/Local Events
Finally, the end of the year is a good time for students to learn about current events. Exploring local history through newspapers, yearbooks, and other reference materials is a helpful way for them to make connections to their community. I recommend partnering with your library for this!
I could keep going, but I hope this list gives you an idea of some fun and engaging end-of-year social studies activities for your lesson plans! Let me know what other social studies projects you love for the end of the school year!