Beacon Lesson Plan Library

   Lesson Plans - Learner Level 3: Social Studies


  • A Geographic Study of Florida’s Diverse Community (Authored by Kathy Corder.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students use an outline map of Florida and the Internet to identify major population centers and their demographic features.

  • A Geopoem about Alaska (Authored by Joyce Honeychurch.)

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students gather information on the physical and human characteristics of Alaska (geographic theme PLACE).They organize this information on a concept map to be transformed into a geopoem about Alaska.

  • A Whole New World (Authored by Susan Klement.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: The students learn about significant people, events, vocabulary and ideas regarding the hardships settlers faced including how and why some new American colonies became successful.

  • Alaska the Elephant (Authored by Joyce Honeychurch.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: The global location of Alaska is established when the shape of a map of Alaska is identified as a silhouette of an elephant that moves to reach for contiguous (or nearby) geographic neighbors--and, indeed, to overlay a part of Canada.

  • An American Spy with Money To Spend (Authored by Joyce Honeychurch.)

  • Subject(s): Mathematics, Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Teachers can teach across the curriculum as students use imagination, math, reading, computer, geography, and social studies skills in this unique, innovative, and fun lesson where students pretend to be international spies!

  • Attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Authored by Rae Harrelson.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students hear a story about the atomic bombing of Japan and write an editorial about the event from the perspective of either a Japanese or an American.

  • Be a “Source”erer’s Apprentice (Authored by Jan Curtis.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students sharpen research skills by studying primary and secondary sources. When students know what kind of sources are available, they can find exciting stories, facts, and photographs which can make history come alive.

  • Broadcasting World War II (Authored by Richard Johnson.)

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students create and perform radio broadcasts relating to events and situations that affected American society in World War II. They test their listening skills during these broadcasts. They practice by responding to tasks like those found on the FCAT.

  • Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? (Authored by Martha Simmons.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: This is an introductory lesson on the Great Depression. Students discuss the Great Depression and the impact that it had on American Society and teens during that era.

  • Calling All Cartographers (Authored by Jane Cunningham.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: This is a map lesson. The class participates in a discussion and completes the class K-W-L chart. This allows for review of terminology, symbols, types of maps, etc. Students assist in instruction by drawing symbols they remember on the board. The students begin the culminating activity in class which is to draw a map which will contain their home and a 3-street radius (or its equivalent) of where they live. Next they gather in groups to make oral observations regarding the maps which they have viewed.

  • Can We Live Without Government? (Authored by Clifford Snipe.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: This lesson helps students understand the role that government plays in the lives of its citizens and how the government protects individual rights.

  • Cemetery of Famous Americans (Authored by Kathy Corder.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students conduct research on a famous American and create a tombstone for a class bulletin board.

  • Character Traits and People in Black History (Authored by Cynthia Lott.)

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students read a one-page biographical essay and write in paragraph form how an African American has demonstrated a certain character trait.

  • Christmas Around the World (Authored by Shirley Godbold.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Every country has its own customs for the celebration of Christmas. This is a look at the customs used in Czecholslovakia and Mexico. Students may have customs from other countries to share.

  • Civil War Battle Map (Authored by James Humphrey.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: This activity is a fun way to report geographic information. The student illustrates a blank map to identify 5 Civil War battles.

  • Creating Tessellations (Authored by Diane Bates.)

  • Subject(s): Mathematics, Social Studies, Visual Arts (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Explore the history of tessellations; then use art and geometry to create an original tessellation.

  • Cruising Cars (Authored by Stephanie Martinez.)

  • Subject(s): Mathematics, Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Middle school students love cars. They will have the opportunity to analyze, compare and contrast tables/charts, based on given car data. While working in groups students will generate a list of desired car features and create their own table/charts.

  • Cruising the Caribbean (Authored by Kevyn Brown.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students create 4 postcards by illustrating an island in the Caribbean that they will visit. Each postcard will focus on a different feature (historic landmark, mountains, people). The postcards incorporate photos/pictures with concepts and vocabulary.

  • Cultural Effects of The Great Wall of China for the Chinese (Authored by Kathy Easom.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Upon viewing a power point presentation or a video on China, and reading the lesson in the textbook, the students will show their understanding of how the Great Wall influenced Chinese culture by writing a 3 paragraph essay. Each paragraph will relate to the following aspects: trading, traveling and interaction with other countries and will show how these aspects of the Chinese culture were influenced by the Great Wall. Correct information is essential and if they fail to recall enough for their writing, they may work in groups and refer to the textbook and notes from discussion. A rubric will be discussed prior to instruction, so the student will know how to construct their writing and what they should include.

  • Debating Women's Rights (Authored by Melissa Aldridge.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students debate the issue of -Women's Rights- and compare women of the past to the women of the present.

  • Defining Our Community (Authored by Christy Carpenter.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students begin the process of developing a service-learning project by defining their own community and the problems within it.

  • Determining the President of 1860 (Authored by Thomas Lucey.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: The learner will determine who won the U.S. Presidential election of 1860. Students will find the information online, create a database, manipulate a spreadsheet and present findings.

  • Expensive Choices (Authored by Thomas Lucey.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students work in pairs to discover how to prioritize expenses in a budget.

  • Exploring Ancient Greece (Authored by Rachel Farris.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students use play dough to create a relief map of Greece and through personal investigation and class discussion, draw conclusions about the impact of the geography of Greece on daily life and culture in Ancient Greece.

  • Farming the Southern Colonies (Authored by Thomas Lucey.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: The student discovers the basis for farming choices in the early colonies using group research and discussion.

  • From Pirates to Pilots to Spies (Authored by Mark Peugh.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students enjoy this introduction to the world of map projections, globes, aerial photographs, and satellite images. This lesson instructs the students on the advantages and disadvantages of each earthly representation.

  • Girl Power (Authored by Melissa Aldridge.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: During a unit on the Renaissance, the class uses notes obtained through previous research to create a mobile that illustrates the contributions of a Renaissance woman and explains how these accomplishments influenced her society.

  • Hatshepsut's Temples and Obelisks (Authored by Melissa Aldridge.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: This lesson focuses on one of the great achievements of the first woman ruler known to history. Students create Hatshepsut's Temples and Obelisks using a variety of materials.

  • Help! I Am Lost at Fox Chapel (Authored by Kathleen Buchnowski.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students create a map to locate places on campus and share the map with another student. The other students use the map to locate certain places and validate for accuracy via a checklist. The parents use the completed map at open house.

  • Hey, I Don't Have Enough Stuff! (Authored by Nina Treadway.)

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students discover through this simulated activity that resources are unequally distributed throughout the world and that regions use resources differently.

  • Historical Timelines (Authored by Deborah Brannon.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students learn how to read timelines and make timelines of their own lives by putting special dates of their choice in chronological order.

  • Honest Abe's Economy of Words (Authored by Deloris Morris.)

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students write expository essays using the FCAT writing prompt format and the FCAT scoring method and rubric after reading ACROSS FIVE APRILS and a study of the Gettysburg Address

  • Household Products - Past to Future (Authored by Judy Marburger.)

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students will research and explore the development of household inventions.

  • How Can We Organize Study of a Given Place? (Authored by Michelle Gowan.)

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: The Five Themes of Geography is an organized way to study any area of the world. It is the adopted method of the National Geographic Society. This is a beginning of the year cooperative group activity where students embark in discovery of basic facts about an assigned continent and are asked to organize their information into categories. The Five Themes model is taught and students reshuffle their information appropriately and make a display and class presentation of their findings.

  • How Do You Know Where You Are? (Authored by Catherine Dixon.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: This activity introduces students to geographic thinking, setting the stage for the creation of a map showing distance, direction, location and symbols from their residences to school.

  • Human Impact on the Everglades Environment (Authored by Cheryl Darbyshire.)

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Science, Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students research changes the Army Corps made in Everglades, focus on the human impact on the environment, design graphic organizers, summary statements, develop a Florida map of the Everglades region and give a presentation about what they learned.

  • Human Rights (Authored by Melissa Aldridge.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: During a study of Eleanor Roosevelt, the class examines -The United Nations' Declaration of Human Rights- in order to gain an understanding of the document and to create a list of rights for the classroom.

  • I'll Just Charge It (Authored by Beth Santini.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students explore the advantages and disadvantages of credit card use before they fall into the credit trap!

  • Income and Outcomes (Authored by Thomas Lucey.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students use peer support to reflect on their spending and how it reflects their income and their values.

  • Introducing World War II (Authored by Richard Johnson.)

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students practice listening skills while getting an overview of the events of WWII. Emphasis is placed on events mentioned in the novel, [Jacob Have I Loved]. Writing an FCAT style short response on one of the focal events assesses writing skills.

  • It's Time to Put Our Money Where Our Mouths Are (Authored by Jay Lowe.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: If we believe in the ideal that “All men are created equal”, why is our currency used to honor only old, white men? The students select a person they think should be honored on our currency and write a letter outlining the reasons for their choice.

  • Jamestown on the Internet (Authored by Christine Sermons.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: The purpose of this lesson is for students to understand the conflicts and problems associated with the founding of colonies and the clash of technologically and culturally different civilizations which occurred in this colonization process.

  • Just the Facts, Jack (Authored by B Adams et al.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students are presented with musical selections that set the tone for investigating the mystery behind fact and opinion.

  • Lender or Borrower Be? (Authored by Thomas Lucey.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students compare the costs and benefits of interest involved with borrowing and depositing at banks.

  • Looking Back at Pre-Civil War Slavery (Authored by Marcellus Alexander.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students understand the nature of slavery, the impact of slavery on African-Americans, and how slavery intensified the conflict between the North and South that eventually led to a major cause of the Civil War.

  • Mathematical Contributions by Women (Authored by Diane Bates.)

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students explore the contributions of women to mathematics by writing a research paper, presenting a summary to their peers, and sharing an activity with their peers.

  • Mathematicians Through Time (Authored by Kim Douberley.)

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: This lesson offers students the opportunity to conduct research on the Internet about mathematicians and to synthesize that information into a timeline.

  • Meet Me at My House (Authored by Cheryl Weaver.)

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students improve their writing skills by writing directions from school to their houses to give to a friend. The directions must be sequential and include direction words (north, south, east, west), landmarks and specific street names.

  • Metalling in Around the World (Authored by Thomas Lucey.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students learn the important leaders in different cultures by researching coinage. Through this process, they also recognize the cultural universality on coinage and currency.

  • Monster Graph Activity (Authored by Princesse Jenkins.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Monsters are considered scary creatures, but this lesson will take the fear out of graphing. Student creates and draws conclusions from data found in a Monster graph.

  • Mr./Ms.Scientist, This Is Your Life (Authored by Michelle Gowan.)

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Science, Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students create a timeline of ten events in chronological order about a scientist to include his/her accomplishments. Students practice by completing a personal timeline in which they follow verbal instructions.

  • Multimedia Scavenger Hunt (Authored by Diane Bates.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students use a multimedia encyclopedia to answer teacher-generated questions and then in pairs design their own scavenger hunt questions.

  • Mythology and Ancient Civilizations (Authored by Shirley Godbold.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students learn about ancient world civilizations and the mythologies they created to explain natural phenomena, as well as the writers and poets who wrote about the mythologies.

  • Navigating a Map (Authored by Andrew Brouwer.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students learn to use map scale, read physical maps, analyze landforms and determine land use.

  • Needs and Wants (Authored by Thomas Lucey.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: The learner distiguishes between psychological needs and wants to control spending.

  • On the Trail with Lewis and Clark (Authored by Kathy Corder.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students use the Internet to conduct research on the Lewis and Clark journals and work cooperatively in planning and delivering a presentation.

  • People Experts (Authored by Laurel Withee.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students will respond to pictures, providing observations and drawing conclusions about the people they see. Afterwards, they will revisit their judgments, identify a specific source for each one, and examine common influences on perceptions.

  • Regional Renaissances (Authored by Thomas Lucey.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students discover the differences between the Renaissance and the Northern Renaissance through group interaction and discussion.

  • Rights in the Holocaust: Imagine and Remember (Authored by Christine Sermons.)

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: This poetry writing activity is designed to introduce students to the Holocaust as a violation of personal, political, and economic rights. It is a component of a larger unit on American constitutional government.

  • Roll With The Punches: Crossroads to Where? (Authored by Martha Simmons.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students visualize and create a map to outline scenes from the novel Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. The student understands the importance of organizing information when making maps and giving directions.

  • Roll With the Punches: It's Not in Black and White (Authored by Shirley Baker.)

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students evaluate the responsibilities of history textbooks in reporting events related to minorities.

  • Separation of Powers (Authored by Joyce Honeychurch.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: The learners will research the three branches of government and look at the effect that the separation of powers has on the presidency.

  • South America Layered (Authored by Sammie Nicholls.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students produce an overlay map of South America to show the relationships between cities (population), landforms and economies.

  • Tension Over Slavery (Authored by Ariel Viera.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: What caused the Civil War? The students will explore the events that caused tension between the North and South leading to the Civil War.

  • The 21st Century Lewis and Clark Trail (Authored by Terry Provancha.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students enjoy learning about the Lewis and Clark Trail as they trace the path from the beginning to the end using modern technology. After studying the path, students create a better route through the Rocky Mountains using a topographical CD Rom.

  • The Christmas Tree, Just Where Did it Come From? (Authored by Shirley Godbold.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: The Christmas tree is popular in most homes in the United States. We decorate our living and family rooms and outside in the yard, with trees. Just how did they become part of the American Christmas?

  • The Indian Way of Life (Authored by Harold Towne.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Why did the Sioux Indians live in tents covered with animal skins, the Cherokee live in wooden homes, and the Navajo live in mud houses? This activity is a way for students to investigate why several Indian tribes developed different ways of life based on geography. (This lesson must be done after the students have had instruction in the physical regions of the U.S.)

  • The Mind Map (Authored by Debra Rogers.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: This activity is designed to introduce students to geographic thinking by creating mental maps from their residences to school and then recreating their maps on paper showing, direction, symbols, location and distance.

  • The Mystery of the Lost Colony of Roanoke (Authored by Kathy Corder.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students learn how to evaluate a primary source and use it to interpret John White's diary entry regarding the Lost Colony of Roanoke.

  • The Politics of Big Business (Authored by Thomas Lucey.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Simulating a congressional debate, students discover the issues involving monopolies and big business during the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt.

  • The Timeline of a Lifetime (Authored by Haley Caraway.)

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: The student will know what a timeline is, create a timeline with 4 important events of their life, to include 2 national events and 2 world events. The student will then write an essay about their life including the four events.

  • The West in Brochures (Authored by Jillian Eriksson.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: The students compare and contrast the daily life of Native Americans to The American Cowboy in the 1800's.

  • The Whole World Celebrated Christmas! Right? (Authored by Shirley Godbold.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: This lesson is for use during the weeks before the Christmas break. This will be great for middle school students. It is a comparison of the other religious holidays that are celebrated around this same time of year.

  • Thinking about Shopping and Spending (Authored by Thomas Lucey.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: By discussing the effects of advertisements, students learn to improve shopping and spending habits.

  • Time Is of the Essence (Authored by Chryste Carroll.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: ESE students identify the evolution of the civil rights movement from slavery to present day and then use information about major events to create a timeline.

  • Time Is on the Line (Authored by Lawrencio Rodriguez.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: The lesson entails the introduction on how to construct and organize a chronological timeline.

  • To Express or Be Oppressed? (Authored by Thomas Lucey.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students explore the debate between free-speech and patriotism using a northern renaissance scenario.

  • Toontime (Authored by Millard Nixon.)

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: In this lesson students write an essay about the govermental issues that surrounded Andrew Jackson's presidency. They discuss how editorial cartoons are made and create an editorial cartoon of their own about a president.

  • Traveling Through Europe with Brochures (Authored by Sheila Sexton.)

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: This activity is designed to help students become familiar with the cultural aspects of their chosen country through creating a travel brochure and an expression booklet. (NETS for Students 1.2 and 5.1)

  • U.S. State Reports (Authored by Sheila Sexton.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: This project engages students in actively researching a given U.S. state. It allows students to use different forms of technology to assist them in their quest for information.

  • Using Local Geography to Make Maps (Authored by Jerry Stephens.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: In small groups, students research, create, and present a scale representation of the county in which they live.

  • Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963 (Authored by Patricia Wachholz.)

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students use graphic organizers and create timelines to make an historical connection to the 1960s as a prereading activity for The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963.

  • Who Built the Pyramids? (Authored by Chet Geering.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students process a variety of information on the pyramids at Giza and create an opinion essay which uses the information gathered as well as student feedback.

  • Who Gets the Money? (Authored by Thomas Lucey.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Working in groups, students determine the characteristics of a good loan. They also make practical application of what they learn.

  • Who Will Be Our Mayor? (Authored by Johnnie Bush.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: After learning about the roles of citizens in selecting a mayor to run a city, students work in groups to research candidates’ viewpoints on the improvement of Parks and Recreation and then select a candidate to support for Mayor.

  • Why or Why Not Law? (Authored by Joyel Glaze.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students obtain a firm grasp on the importance of law through web-based resources, magazines, newspapers and collaboration within student cooperative groups, class discussion and teacher discussion/explanations.

  • Yes, There Really Was a Santa! (Authored by Shirley Godbold.)

  • Subject(s): Social Studies, Visual Arts (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Students read a selection concerning Santa Claus and the orgin of the Jolly Old Elf in the United States.They will also create their own version of a new and modern Santa Claus that will remain in the American culture.

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