Social Studies Games

1. Social Studies Link Tag

This is a tension releaser for students.  It allows them to use up
some of their excess energy that needs to be burned.  It is played
just like the kid's version.  A number of students can be it.  The
students run around a gym or outside.  In order not to be it they
have to link arms with someone else and call out a fact or term
about the chapter currently being studied.  This would work best for
middle school students, but high school students may get into it

2. Marathon Trivia

The class should be divided into four teams.  The teacher asks the
students a review question and one member from each team runs
up to the board to write the correct answer on the board first.  The
entire team can supply the answer, but only one person is up to
answer the question.  The students should take turns running to
the board.  One point is scored for the first correct answer.  The
team with the most points at the end of the set time wins.

3. What's My Line

This is a theater game that is really fun to play and can be revised
to fit a social studies class.  The teacher puts a number of famous
quotes from historical figures into a hat.  Two students go up to the
front of the class at a time and begin to act out a scene that is set
up by the teacher.  For instance, two people in a parking lot
searching for their car.  The lines are not revealed even to the
actors until at some point they pull the line out and read it to fit in
with the dialogue.  They may not learn specific information from the
book, but I guarantee that the quotes will stick in their heads for a
long time.

4. Human Knot

This is another learning activity that keeps the students active.
The class should be divided into groups of about 6-10.  The
students start by getting in a circle and holding a hand of the
person directly in front of them.   They then find someone else to
hold their other hand.  This will make a big human knot.  The
teacher asks a question to all of the groups.  If they get the answer
right they can make one move to try to untangle the knot.  The goal
is to continue to answer questions correctly and be the first team
to become completely untangled.

5. The class should be divided into 6-10 again for this game.  Each
group will be playing the exact same game, but it works better in
smaller groups.  Everyone takes off one shoe except for one
person who is it.  After the group decides on a historical figure the
person who is it has to leave the room.  While they are out there
they have to come up wit one fact about that person.  It is the job
of the person that is it to figure out who in the group is that
historical figure.  While that person is out of the room, the other
members of the group have to decide who is going to be the
historical character.  When the person come back in the room he
goes up to individual students and states the fact to them.  If the
person they address is not Alexander the Great they state a fact
about another historical figure they have chosen.  If the person
picks the student who is Alexander the Great they announce that
they are Alexander and everyone runs to the middle to grab a shoe.
The person who doesn't get a shoe is the next person  to be it.  It
is not as complicated as it sounds!

6. College Bowl

Divide the class into groups of 2-3.  Each group can select a name
of a college they want to represent.  Each student should be given
a piece of paper to hold up to indicate that they want to answer a
question.  Any time the teacher askes a question any member of
any team can answer the question.  The team whose member
answers the question correctly receives a point.  If someone
answers a question incorrectly any other team gets a chance to
answer the same question.  The team at the end of the game with
the most points wins.

7. Hollywood Squares Review

All students in the class should write 2-4 questions pertaining to
the chapter being studied.  They should be in objective form.  Make
a tic-tac-toe format by putting 9 chairs or desks in that
arrangement.  Three chairs are then placed in the front of the
classroom.  The nine "celebrities"  are given a card with an X on
one side and an O on the other.  The contestants pick members of
the celebrity panel to answer the questions.  Then the contestants
say if they agree or disagree with the contestants answer.  If they
are right they score a point.  The other people in the class can
participate by helping the contestants with answers.  The
celebrities can also be rotated to get everyone involved.

Software Review

        I reviewed the Castle Explorer CD-ROM.  It was very
entertaining and I learned so much about medieval times.  The
software itself was fairly easy to set up.  The problem that I found
right away was that there was no instructions on how to run the
program.  It took me almost a half hour just to get started on the
program and to figure out what I was suppose to do.
        I went in as a spy and was trying to find the pieces that were
needed to win by successfully completing the mission.  A lot of the
time you needed information that was not provided to get into the
rooms to get the pieces.  There were people that would ask you
questions and if you couldn't answer them, than you were sent to
the dungeon.  It was ok the first time because you could pay to get
out, but the second time you end up in the dungeon the game ends.
        Some good things about this program were the graphics and
sound effects.  I was blown away by how real looking everything
was on this program.  The other thing that I liked was the
information that would pop up when I clicked on certain things.  It
would give background information about a room, for example, and
give a little bit of information about it.
         I don't know that a student would take the time to read the
information and that is one negative thing.  The other negative
aspect is one I already discussed and that is that it is hard to win
the game if you choose to play.  A person can also go in as an
observer and just look around, but that probably wouldn't be as
much fun.
        I would probably use this in the classroom if I could get
additional information to help my students get into the rooms a
little easier.  I would also make up a work sheet of questions that
the students should answer as they are playing to be sure they are
reading the information.