Beacon Unit Plan Library

Unit Plans - Social Studies


  • A "Sense"sational Christmas (Authored by Cathy Burgess.)

  • Subject(s): Health, Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies (Kindergarten - Grade 2)
    Description: You can’t stop teaching the standards at holiday time, so why not integrate science, health, social studies, and language arts while involving a Christmas theme? Christmas is rich in its appeal to the senses, so these hands–on activities will stimulate your students' awareness of their surroundings and how they learn about their world. Students explore the five senses with books, poetry, songs, movement, and experiments along with other traditional Christmas activities.

  • A Colony Is Born (Authored by Katie Koehnemann.)

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Social Studies (Grade 3 - Grade 5)
    Description: What influenced the early colonists to make the decision to settle in the New World? What difficulties did they encounter and how were they able to rise above the adversities to secure a strong foundation for our great nation? Come explore Colonial America through the building of timelines and investigating primary and secondary sources. This study of significant events in the colonization of North America and the aspects of everyday life in Colonial America is designed for students to gather, record, and organize their own Colonial Notebook. Students will take on the role of colonist in a given region and work with other 'colonists' of the same region to develop a report and presentation. The study will take students through the life and times of those early settlers and will have them preparing a colonial meal representative of their region of focus.

  • All About Me (Authored by Cathy Burgess.)

  • Subject(s): Health, Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies (Kindergarten - Grade 2)
    Description: What do first graders like to talk about when they come back to school in August? You probably guessed it. They like talking about themselves! So, why not start the year off letting them do just that as you can get to know them, too! Help students celebrate their individuality and learn about likenesses and differences. This unit builds those important beginning of the year skills and a sense of family in your classroom. Along with language arts, this thematic study integrates math, social studies, and health as it complements the Reading Frameworks created by teachers in Bay District Schools and adapted from Patricia Cunningham’s Four Blocks. The [Month-by-Month Phonics] for 1st grade by Patricia Cunningham is also incorporated.

  • America Gears Up (Authored by Richard Johnson.)

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Social Studies (Grade 9 - Grade 12)
    Description: Students work through a series of lessons on the Industrial Revolution in the United States in preparation for a presentation that answers the essential questions for the unit. The essential questions for this unit revolve around the idea that historical circumstances often create winners and losers and that, in some cases, a group can be both a winner and loser. Content is acquired through a variety of lessons. The lessons that make up this unit represent a wide range of learning strategies and methods. Students begin the unit by writing first-person letters that show empathy with early Americans dealing with the transition from an agrarian to an industrial society. Next, student groups use presentation skills in presenting information on Big Business industries that grew in the period after the Civil War. They continue the unit with an inquiry lesson involving the labor and social conditions of this period and see how special interest groups and public opinion can cause change in a society. Important inventions are explored in the final lesson. To conclude the unit, students conduct research and answer the essential questions in a Multiple Intelligence project suited to their individual learning styles, which is presented in an authentic setting.

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

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: In this unit, students get an overview of World War II while practicing their listening skills. They focus on selected events and situations from World War II that correspond with those that occur in the novel, [Jacob Have I Loved], by Katherine Paterson. This unit can be used as a companion to a language arts unit on this novel ([Jacob Have I Loved - A Novel Study]) or can be used as a separate, stand-alone social studies unit. These events and situations revolve around how America reacted to the adversity of war. Student groups create radio broadcasts about these events and situations, which they present to the whole class. The class, as the audience for these broadcasts, uses their listening skills to gather pertinent information on these events or situations, which will allow them to succeed on the summative assessment for the unit. The summative assessment mirrors the short- and extended-response items on the FCAT. The extended response section asks students to answer the question: How did America react to the adversities of World War II?

  • Common Cents (Authored by Jennifer Slichter.)

  • Subject(s): Mathematics, Social Studies (Kindergarten - Grade 2)
    Description: Kindergarten students enjoy this imaginative hands on unit on money. Over the course of a week they learn about money through teacher instruction, hands-on activities, group games, manipulatives and role-play. The concepts of exchanging money for goods and saving money for future wants will come alive to students as they have the opportunity to spend "toy money" they save during the week in the class "toy store."

  • Geo Jammin By DeSign (Authored by Katie Koehnemann.)

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies, Visual Arts (Kindergarten - Grade 2)
    Description: Slide, flip, and turn students' thinking into the world of spatial relationships and geometric design with directed inquiries in song, dance, literature, games, poetry, and history. Develop students' understanding of symmetry by investigating lines of symmetry to uncover congruent shapes, shapes within shapes, and reflections. Use of mirrors, geoboards, tangrams, and coordinate geometry help to build comprehension as students discover quilts and their geometric mathematics as an art form. Through history, students learn that quilts are rich in cultural heritage and epitomize conservation of resources, while meeting basic needs. Experiences are enriched by a visit with the local quilting guild, dyeing fabric swatches, and stitching an appliqué. Summatively assess student knowledge and applications as they perform slides, flips and turns with math manipulatives and unpack their mind to make a design to add to the classroom simulated quilt. Students write and publish a report on SiteMaker identifying the qualities of their selected quilt block pattern. As a grand finale, students read and follow informational text to fold a rectangle into a popper noisemaker. Enjoy the rigors of high-energy teaching and learning without the toil of planning. This unit assures a well-balanced literacy program integrated with content learning in Math and Social Studies. Lessons smoothly segue one to the other, and are challenging, interactive, and address multiple intelligences. All handouts, assessments, and teacher organizational tools are included.

  • Going to Grandma's (Authored by Sandi King.)

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies (Kindergarten - Grade 2)
    Description: This literature-based integrated unit uses both fiction and nonfiction to explore modes of transportation and how things move. All five of the components of effective reading instruction are taught. Seven books plus an online book are included as part of this unit. Students learn from their active involvement in the varied activities. Because of the reading standards addressed in this unit, it is best taught near the end of the school year. This unit would make a meaningful, fun-filled conclusion to students’ kindergarten experience.

  • Historical Tool Time (Authored by Richard Johnson.)

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Social Studies (Grade 9 - Grade 12)
    Description: This is an introductory unit focusing on the skills necessary for the study of history. The unit begins with a lesson that focuses on time, chronology, and the creation and interpretation of timelines. The unit continues with activities that promote student understanding and identification of the historical and geographical themes that are important to understanding history. The culmination of the unit comes with students identifying these themes within a historical document.

  • I Mean Business (Authored by Laurie Ayers.)

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies (Kindergarten - Grade 2)
    Description: This unit provides an opportunity for students to become actively involved in a simulated business project to learn basic economic concepts. A puppet, Eco the Gecko, will be used during the first part of the unit to guide student learning concerning the economic process: wants and economic choices, goods and services, work and income, producers and consumers, interdependence, and the purpose of markets. The second part of the unit allows the students to become immersed in the process by actually producing products to be sold at Market Day and then marketing them to each other. Throughout the unit students will “earn” money for jobs done within the classroom. This money will be used to purchase items on Market Day. There are two types of lessons in this unit. There are lessons that deal with the Social Studies standards addressed and there are lessons for Reading Frameworks integration, which use a literary selection to reinforce the social studies theme. Other Reading Block Components as described in [The Teacher's Guide to the Four Blocks] by Patricia Cunningham are integrated into daily lesson plans. Due to the fact that this unit is integrated, often times you can get in more than one lesson per day.

  • In Days of Old, Before Columbus (Authored by Sandi King.)

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies (Grade 3 - Grade 5)
    Description: In Days of Old, Before Columbus introduces third graders to developments in history prior to the Renaissance with focus on 12th century Europe (1200-1300). Students will be actively involved in learning about the feudal system of government and aspects of family life in the different classes within this system. Students will learn about early transportation and communication and how they affected the lives of the people. Students will explore trade, cultural and intellectual achievements, and scientific and technological advancements of the time. Time lines will be built and used extensively as a visual assistant to students.

  • Independent - To Be or Not To Be (Authored by Katie Koehnemann.)

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Social Studies (Grade 3 - Grade 5)
    Description: British in their language, their laws, their customs, could the American colonists fight a war with England, their Mother Country? Why were freedom and independence so important? Take students on a journey through the historical events leading to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. This unit is designed for students to learn to make judgments and decisions based on facts, and to use informational and imaginative speech to present their personal viewpoint and opinion to others. Students experience, first hand, taxation without representation, and will develop a very real sense for the need to preserve the inherent freedoms of man. Using the American flag as a graphic organizer, students will develop a clear understanding of the actions and reactions of the American colonists to British rule and to our most important national holiday, the 4th of July. Historically significant events will be studied and organized through exploration of facts and opinions and interaction with informational text and class discussion. The unit is presented in Reading Block Framework design with integrated lessons throughout each day. There are two types of lessons in this unit. First there are numbered lessons (1,2,3, etc.). Most often, these are the lessons where the content area standards are taught. The second set of lessons is identified with letters (A, B, C, etc.). Most often, these are the lessons where the speaking standards are taught. Although this is the general rule of thumb, the learning of all the standards is intricately infused in all lessons.

  • Industrial Times (Authored by Richard Johnson.)

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Social Studies (Grade 9 - Grade 12)
    Description: Students follow a journalistic theme to find out about the causes and effects of the Industrial Revolution. Activities, such as creating headlines, illustrations, writing and publishing articles, and participating in a Meet the Press panel discussion lead students to find an answer to the guiding question: Why do I do what I do?

  • Inventions and Inventors (Authored by Laurie Ayers.)

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Science, Social Studies (Grade 3 - Grade 5)
    Description: In this unit, students use a variety of references to read and organize information and demonstrate knowledge of selected significant people, their contributions to society, and ways the contributions impacted society. Contributions in the fields of communication and technology and significant scientific discoveries are explored. Timeline activities are included to promote understanding of order of events.

  • Mr. President (Authored by Sandi King.)

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies (Kindergarten - Grade 2)
    Description: Who is the man on the penny? Are there people on other pieces of our money, too? What is a president? Students learn to identify and know the value of a penny, nickel, dime, and quarter as they explore four of our presidents. They will listen to, view, and discuss George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, their presidencies and memorials including their images on various coins as they learn about money. Students also count to 100 by 1s, 5s, and 10s as they learn the value of various coins. This unit integrates social studies, math, and reading. NOTE: This unit should be taught after the 100th day of school and is most appropriate during the celebration of Presidents' Day, the third Monday in February.

  • Native Americans (Authored by Laurie Ayers.)

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Social Studies (Kindergarten - Grade 2)
    Description: Who were the first Americans? This integrated unit on Native Americans encourages students to read informational texts to become experts on Native American culture groups from different regions and times. The unit utilizes small group work and activity centers to promote understanding of the artwork of various Native American culture groups and how the climate, location, and physical surroundings of culture group regions affected each group’s way of life. Students will learn good speaking skills to help them speak to inform and express ideas about Native Americans.

  • Shapes Are Everywhere at School! (Authored by Sherry McCullough.)

  • Subject(s): Mathematics, Social Studies (Kindergarten - Grade 2)
    Description: This math mini-unit involves students in hands-on activities where they learn to recognize two- and three-deminsional shapes, their similiarities and differences. The lessons provide many opportunities for students to sort shapes according to geometric shapes, as well as, attributes. The unit involves students in both understanding and using maps skills while creating school site maps( SS.B.1.1.2 addresses simple maps and NOT globes and other three-dimensional models). Shapes represent important sites within the school building and provide real world situations for students to work in. The unit fosters learning and application of grade level expectations aligned with the Sunshine Standards.

  • Speak for Yourself (Authored by Carol Rine.)

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: Speak For Yourself asks the guiding question, "What does it take to make a good speaker?" Students formulate a working definition of what it takes to make a good speaker as they work through the course of the unit. By analyzing famous speeches, role-playing examples and non-examples of speaking behaviors, and identifying informal and formal language, students become aware of good speaking behaviors. They learn how to modify word choice to fit purpose and audience. Ultimately, students organize and produce their own oral presentations to perform for the class. All of these activities culminate with the evaluation of classroom presentations. Within the evaluation, students must appraise the presentations as either effective or ineffective. At the unit's completion, students can explain not only the speaking behaviors necessary, but also the planning process necessary "…to make a good speaker." This unit has accompanying lesson plans and attached files.

  • Students as Historians: Investigating the Gulf War (Authored by Francis Sicius.)

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Social Studies (Grade 6 - Grade 8)
    Description: In this unit, students use facts and opinions, as well as primary and secondary sources. They explore the detective work of historians as they investigate the Gulf War from different perspectives and interpretations. Students use a variety of media for research and become acquainted with technology as a tool for enhancing and enriching the academic classroom.

  • We the People (Authored by Sandi King.)

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies (Grade 3 - Grade 5)
    Description: What are the rights and responsibilities of citizenship? Who are your state and local elected officials? Which officials can you turn to for help? This integrated unit uses reading strategies, reflection activities, graphic organizers, and technology tools to teach the rights and responsibilities of citizens. The US and Florida constitutions are examined to document the purpose, structure, and responsibilities of the branches of government and those elected officials who serve in them.

  • Where is Japan? Basic Map Skills (Authored by Sandi King.)

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies (Kindergarten - Grade 2)
    Description: The purpose of this integrated unit is for first graders to learn basic map skills and use these map skills to solve a problem. The unit presents the scenario of a Japanese first grader who is looking for an American pen pal. The students use maps and globes to locate America and Japan. Language arts and mathematics skills are reinforced using the social studies content. Hemispheres, directional words, distances, regions, and physical environments are all explored while trying to solve the question, "Where is Japan?"

  • Where's the Heart of Florida? (Authored by Julie Thompson.)

  • Subject(s): Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies (Grade 3 - Grade 5)
    Description: Should the capital of the state of Florida remain where it is in the 21st century? Would another location better represent the "heart of Florida?" In this Problem-Based Learning (PBL) unit, students engage in an authentic setting to research the history of the current state capital and examine the possibility of a new location for the state capital that perhaps better reflects the changing face of Florida, politically, economically, culturally, socially, and geographically. Charged by the governor in this simulation, students act as a task force to inquire and propose possible sites as the "heart of Florida" capital of the twenty-first century according to the stated criteria.

Return to the Beacon Unit Plan Library.