Social Studies

President's World Itinerary

ClarisWorks: Word Processing/Database, Internet, Scanner


The purpose of this activity is to have small groups of students to plan a U.S. President�s world itinerary and to present a press release announcing the economic and international importance of this itinerary.

Bias in the Media

ClarisWorks and Web Browser


A student and a partner will select one current news story to research and examine how two examples of the same story can be presented differently. The students will explain their findings to the class demonstrating how personal feelings can affect news reporting.

Bill of Rights



In groups of four students will research one of the Bill of Rights. Students will discover how their amendment relates to society and how it affects them personally.

Closing the Frontier, 1849-1909



Students will work in groups to prepare slide shows to review the settlement of the West, 1849-1909. The slide show will identify the major concepts related to the following topics:

Moving West
Rails Across a Continent
The Mining Frontier
Culture and Traditions of Native Americans (Plains Indians)
The Last Indian Wars
The Cattle Kingdom
The Farming Frontier

All Men are Created Equal

Internet & ClarisWorks


Students will research an Internet web site (WebQuest: All Men Are Created Equal) to gain a better understanding of the experiences of the Cherokee, Japanese, and African-American people during their struggle for respect and tolerance. Students will then create a newspaper containing a news account and an editorial about one of the three groups.

Writing and Amending Bills



Students will have already chosen a topic on which to write a bill (to be passed in the Classroom Congress) and will have completed the research necessary for the bill. This lesson will take the teacher through the process of writing the bill in the lab, peer editing, and amending and passing the bill through a classroom Congress.

A Portrait of Americans



Students will generate two pie charts as to their estimation of the composition of the United States by racial groups. The first pie chart will be their own estimation (as a class), the second will be a pie chart generated using the actual numbers.

Country Economic Organization



In this lesson students will research the economic organization of another country. After completing the research students will create a slide show presentation for the class.

Community Improvement

Word Processing


Students identify and research a local problem and decide what actions they as citizens need to take to improve their community. Although this lesson focuses on stream preservation and the Chesapeake Bay Act,any local problem (congested traffic, noise pollution, littered park lands) could serve equally well.

The President's Cabinet

Internet Access


In-depth coverage of the President's Cabinet and its organizational structure.

Country Cookbook

ClarisWorks, Internet, and Scanner


The Student or group of students will research and develop a cookbook for an assigned country. Each cookbook will include items to complete 5 menus from the student's assigned country.

HyperStudio Civil Rights Magazine


HyperStudio Civil Rights Magazine.

"Separate But Equal" video project

"Separate But Equal" video and a computer


Students will view the video and write an objective editorial based on it.

Capital Punishment

Internet and Word Processing


Students will investigate a contemporary issue (in this case capital punishment) and prepare, using a word processor, a position on the argument that they are putting forward.

American System of Government Newspaper: Michael Magathan

Word Processing and internet access


Working in groups of 4, students will design, research, and create a "newspaper" that effectively explains the who, what, when, where and why of four historical events that in some way have influenced the American system of government.

Should Voting in the United States be Mandatory? Research Activity

Internet, word processor, and printer


Students will access the Internet in order to compile voter turnout statistics and comparative government information from ten countries. Students will use this information to create a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet will serve as a foundation for a class discussion and subsequently a three paragraph persuasive essayto address the question posed in the lesson title.

Spreadsheet Budget Project

Spreadsheet Program


Students will gather personal data and graph results of this collection in the spreadsheet program.

Stock Market Culminating Project

Business Section of Major City Newspaper, Computer for each student with Internet access and PowerPoint,Demonstration Computer, Large Monitor, Word Processing software (e.g.. ClarisWorks), Printer


In this lesson, students use the Internet and PowerPoint to research and relate information on American corporations to classmates. This is a culminating lesson in Economics/Stock Market.

Contemporary Civic-life Issue Research Based Essay

Computers with a word processing program and Internet accessibility, and a library with reference materials.


Students choose a contemporary civic-life issue, research their topic to form and defend an argument, and write a five paragraph persuasive essay with bibliography to cite their sources.

Foreign Travel

Computer, internet and printer


Students will be taking a "trip" to a foreign country, via the Internet. Each student will visit the website of the U.S. embassy of a different country, and gather bits of information that would be important for them to know (as if they were getting ready to travel to that country)

Best Social Studies Lesson Plans

Social studies is defined as the combined study of both humanities and the social sciences in order to encourage civic knowledge. Social studies is taught in both elementary as well as high school, and it might also refer to the overall study of certain aspects of human society. A decent grasp of social studies gives students a fundamental understanding of the world and the many cultures that make up the human race. Here is an authoritative resource guide to the best social studies lesson plans available.


Culture is one of the most important areas to cover in a middle school social studies curriculum. This theme teaches students about how humans adapt to, learn about, create and also share culture. It also teaches students about how cultures are impermanent; they change over time due to their dynamic quality. Good lessons often involve students being required to spot the differences and also similarities among cultures across a wide span of places and times. Here is an authoritative list of social studies lessons related to culture.

· The Teacher’s Guide: Long list of links that related to social studies and culture.

· Shoe Box Archaeology: Lesson that involves assembling and deciphering specific clues about a person’s background and life.

· How do you know you won’t like it?: Lesson that includes trying to overcome cultural barriers.

· Cooperation and Conflict: Lesson plant that focuses on Athens and Sparta to teach students about conflict between cultures.

· Lesson Plans: A monster list of links to lessons involving the cultural aspects of social studies.

· OFCN’s Academy Curricular Exchange: Long list of links that go to lessons on social studies and culture.

· Afghanistan Quiz: Quiz on Afghanistan that teaches kids about the county.

· Africa Teacher Tools: Lessons on the culture of Africa for students in middle school and beyond.

· Lesson Plan: The Age of Imperialism: Lesson on American expansionism and what motivated the US to undertake this policy.

· "Been Here So Long": Social studies lessons about slavery in America.

· Ancient Egypt Lesson Plans: Collection of lesson plans about ancient Egypt.

· Asia Society: Lesson plans on the cultures of Asia and their contributions.

Power, Authority and Governance

Middle school students need to develop an understanding of how human beings interact with, create and change structures of governance, authority and power. This endeavor necessitates an understanding of the bases of different forms of political thought and the historical development of varying structures of power. Knowledge of the evolution of the functions of these structures in present-day US society and other parts of the world is another, integral component. Here is an authoritative list of lesson plans for this social studies lesson plans and topics:

· Anne Frank in the World: Collection of lesson plans for teachers. Looks at Anne Frank and the Nazis.

· Fairness and Freedom: Lessons for grades involving middle school and beyond that teach students about the US court system.

· Education World: Lesson plans involving teaching young middle schoolers about what makes a good citizen.

· Cyber Learning World: 18 weeks worth of US government and civics lessons.

· Social Studies Lesson Plans: Numerous links to various social studies lessons for middle schoolers about government.

· Investigating Environmental Legislation: Social studies lessons centered around the legislative branch of government.

· YouthNet: Lesson on the application of law in the daily lives of Americans.

· EduPlace
: Host of lessons based on Houghton Mifflin textbooks that look, in part, at US government institutions and the Constitution.

· BBC - History: Website committed to providing information about famous historical figures and their related political thought or forms of governance.

· Teaching with Documents: Resource of information about how various US power structures came into being as the country progressed through the years.

· 3 Branches of US Government: List of lessons about the 3 branches of the US government.

People, Places and Environments

Studying the role of people, places and environments in social studies enables middle school students to comprehend the relations between humans and the world around them. This involves where the location of certain people is and also why they are there in the first place. This includes both the effects of physical systems like the environment on human populations, as well as some of the effects of human population and migration on the world around them. Here is a collection of authoritative links to this topic that is covered in a middle school social studies curriculum.

· East Asian Studies Center: Links to various lesson plans that center around the effect of the Asian people on the world. Found in section called "Theme A."

· At the Dump: Lesson that teaches kids about the impact of humans on the environment.

· Geographic Dictionary: Lesson designed to make middle school students remember basic geographical terms.

· Countries of the World: An educational lesson involving a game that can be used on sixth-graders to eighth-graders.

· Songs for Teaching: List of links to songs that can be used to teach students about different groups of people on the planet.

· Electronic Passport: Massive collection of links to all social studies lessons on human populations.

· Immigration to the United States: Lessons that deal with the migration of immigrants to the US.

· Teachers (Library of Congress): Selections of lessons related to immigration, found in the Culture & Folklife section.

· American Immigration Past and Present: Lessons on the immigration heritage of America.

· Teachable Moment: Social studies lessons pertaining to current immigration policy and its effects on the US.

· Changing Borders: Social studies lesson on the effects that immigration has on a new land.

· Teaching About Biases Against Immigration: Social studies lesson on spotting xenophobic language in speech.

Social studies teaches middle school students important lessons about how they relate to the world and vice versa. They broaden the minds and understanding of kids because they expose them to new cultures that they may not be aware of. Social studies also improve students’ grasp on geography since some lessons involve locating spots on the map. Social studies has an undeserved reputation for being boring, but it’s far from it.