Social Studies Lessons

Powerful and authentic Social Studies teaching is integral to K-12 curriculum. The filed of Social Studies is comprised of history, political science, geography, economics, anthropology, archaeology, and psychology. This section features a variety of Social Studies lessons written by actual teachers from all over the United States. This section will continue to develop as more teachers like you share their lessons. If you would like to share a lesson plan for inclusion on Teacher.org, please contact us. We encourage you!

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Kindergarten Social Studies Lesson Plans

Chinese New Year

Length of Time: 50-60 minutes

This highly engaging Social Studies lesson on Chinese New Year is integrated with elements of performing arts (drama).  This lesson is appropriate for students in K-3, as it can be easily modified.

Chinese New Year - Fan Dance

Length of Time: 50-60 minutes

A hands-on lesson which integrates Social Studies concepts with performing arts (dance). Students will delve into customs of Chinese New Year by exploring traditional artifacts and dance.

Chinese New Year - Lion Dance

Length of Time: About 45 Minutes

This lesson is great for grades K-2.  It integrates Social Studies with elements of visual and performing arts as the children create a Chinese lion and a dance.

Friendship - Accepting Differences

Length of Time: 40-50 minutes

This lesson on "Friendship" integrates Social Studies standards along with Music, Dance, and Visual Arts. The lesson focuses on "accepting differences" and is great for grades K-2.

Friendship - Conflict Resolution

Length of Time: 30-40 minutes

This lesson on Friendship  and Conflict Resolution integrates Social Studies content along with Visual and Performing Arts (Theater) content.  A highly interactive lesson that is great for kindergartners as well as first graders.

Holiday Traditions

Length of Time: About 45 Minutes

This lesson is designed to help students understand what holidays and festivals are important parts culture through multiple activities, discussions and research surrounding holidays.

Land and Water

Length of Time: About 45 minutes

This lesson is designed to help kindergarten students “distinguish between land and water on maps and globes”.

Rules and Laws

Length of Time: About 45 Minutes

This lesson is designed to help students evaluate rules. It is important since not all rules are necessarily good or appropriate. Sometimes, school rules are arbitrarily imposed, other times they are arrived at as the result of consensus.

Truth and Consequence

Length of Time: About 45 Minutes

This lesson is designed to help students understand the importance of telling the truth, through lessons from history.

1st Grade Social Studies Lesson Plans

Chinese New Year

Length of Time: 50-60 minutes

This highly engaging Social Studies lesson on Chinese New Year is integrated with elements of performing arts (drama).  This lesson is appropriate for students in K-3, as it can be easily modified.

Chinese New Year - Fan Dance

Length of Time: 50-60 minutes

A hands-on lesson which integrates Social Studies concepts with performing arts (dance). Students will delve into customs of Chinese New Year by exploring traditional artifacts and dance.

Chinese New Year - Lion Dance

Length of Time: About 45 Minutes

This lesson is great for grades K-2.  It integrates Social Studies with elements of visual and performing arts as the children create a Chinese lion and a dance.

Friendship - Accepting Differences

Length of Time: 40-50 minutes

This lesson on "Friendship" integrates Social Studies standards along with Music, Dance, and Visual Arts. The lesson focuses on "accepting differences" and is great for grades K-2.

Friendship - Conflict Resolution

Length of Time: 30-40 minutes

This lesson on Friendship  and Conflict Resolution integrates Social Studies content along with Visual and Performing Arts (Theater) content.  A highly interactive lesson that is great for kindergartners as well as first graders.

Holiday Traditions

Length of Time: About 45 Minutes

This lesson is designed to help students understand what holidays and festivals are important parts culture through multiple activities, discussions and research surrounding holidays.

Land and Water

Length of Time: About 45 minutes

This lesson is designed to help kindergarten students “distinguish between land and water on maps and globes”.

Rules and Laws

Length of Time: About 45 Minutes

This lesson is designed to help students evaluate rules. It is important since not all rules are necessarily good or appropriate. Sometimes, school rules are arbitrarily imposed, other times they are arrived at as the result of consensus.

Truth and Consequence

Length of Time: About 45 Minutes

This lesson is designed to help students understand the importance of telling the truth, through lessons from history.

2nd Grade Social Studies Lesson Plans

Chinese New Year

Length of Time: 50-60 minutes

This highly engaging Social Studies lesson on Chinese New Year is integrated with elements of performing arts (drama).  This lesson is appropriate for students in K-3, as it can be easily modified.

Chinese New Year - Fan Dance

Length of Time: 50-60 minutes

A hands-on lesson which integrates Social Studies concepts with performing arts (dance). Students will delve into customs of Chinese New Year by exploring traditional artifacts and dance.

Chinese New Year - Lion Dance

Length of Time: About 45 Minutes

This lesson is great for grades K-2.  It integrates Social Studies with elements of visual and performing arts as the children create a Chinese lion and a dance.

Christmas Around the World Part 1

Length of Time: 30-40 Minutes

This lesson combines Visual Arts with Social Studies. Students will read about how Christmas is celebrated in different parts of the world and draw a scene depicting that location.

Christmas Around the World Part 2

Length of Time: 30-40 Minutes

This lesson combines Music and Social Studies. Students will listen to and learn Christmas songs from around the world and analyze.

Friendship - Accepting Differences

Length of Time: 40-50 minutes

This lesson on "Friendship" integrates Social Studies standards along with Music, Dance, and Visual Arts. The lesson focuses on "accepting differences" and is great for grades K-2.

Holiday Traditions

Length of Time: About 45 Minutes

This lesson is designed to help students understand what holidays and festivals are important parts culture through multiple activities, discussions and research surrounding holidays.

Rules and Laws

Length of Time: About 45 Minutes

This lesson is designed to help students evaluate rules. It is important since not all rules are necessarily good or appropriate. Sometimes, school rules are arbitrarily imposed, other times they are arrived at as the result of consensus.

We Must Recycle

Length of Time: About 20 Minutes

Students will use creativity to use something considered trash to create something new.

3rd Grade Social Studies Lesson Plans

Chinese New Year - Fan Dance

Length of Time: 50-60 minutes

A hands-on lesson which integrates Social Studies concepts with performing arts (dance). Students will delve into customs of Chinese New Year by exploring traditional artifacts and dance.

Christmas Around the World Part 1

Length of Time: 30-40 Minutes

This lesson combines Visual Arts with Social Studies. Students will read about how Christmas is celebrated in different parts of the world and draw a scene depicting that location.

Christmas Around the World Part 2

Length of Time: 30-40 Minutes

This lesson combines Music and Social Studies. Students will listen to and learn Christmas songs from around the world and analyze.

Native California's Diverse Cultures

Length of Time: About 45 Minutes

In this lesson, students will learn about the origin of stories from tribes, and understand how to demonstrate respect for others’ beliefs. American Indian origin stories are not to be treated or told as a simple fairy tale, and therefore this lesson will teach students the appreciation of diverse cultures and communities.

We Must Recycle

Length of Time: About 20 Minutes

Students will use creativity to use something considered trash to create something new.

4th Grade Social Studies Lesson Plans

A Day in the Life of a Roman Girl and Boy

Length of Time: 3-4 Class Periods

Students will research the topic of daily life for children of ancient Rome.

Christmas Around the World Part 1

Length of Time: 30-40 Minutes

This lesson combines Visual Arts with Social Studies. Students will read about how Christmas is celebrated in different parts of the world and draw a scene depicting that location.

Christmas Around the World Part 2

Length of Time: 30-40 Minutes

This lesson combines Music and Social Studies. Students will listen to and learn Christmas songs from around the world and analyze.

History of Hanukkah

Length of Time: 30-40 Minutes

Students will read a passage about the history of Hanukkah and “talk to the text” to understand the story better. Students will answer questions individually and then with a partner to understand the text better.

Native California's Diverse Cultures

Length of Time: About 45 Minutes

In this lesson, students will learn about the origin of stories from tribes, and understand how to demonstrate respect for others’ beliefs. American Indian origin stories are not to be treated or told as a simple fairy tale, and therefore this lesson will teach students the appreciation of diverse cultures and communities.

Spring Calendar

Length of Time: About 45 Minutes

Spring is the beautiful season that encompasses the three pleasant months of March, April and May. But, how well do your students know the popular season? Help them research and plan a calendar with the important festivals events in the three months. Encourage them to make a pictorial encyclopedia with their favorite spring festival.

The History of Thanksgiving

Length of Time: 30-40 Minutes

Students will research the history of Thanksgiving based on the perspective of the Native Americans and the Pilgrims and then interview each other to learn about each story.

We Must Recycle

Length of Time: About 20 Minutes

Students will use creativity to use something considered trash to create something new.

5th Grade Social Studies Lesson Plans

A City Saved by a Volcano

Length of Time: 3-4 Class Periods

Students will learn how the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in Italy preserved two Roman towns.

A Day in the Life of a Roman Girl and Boy

Length of Time: 3-4 Class Periods

Students will research the topic of daily life for children of ancient Rome.

Christmas Around the World Part 1

Length of Time: 30-40 Minutes

This lesson combines Visual Arts with Social Studies. Students will read about how Christmas is celebrated in different parts of the world and draw a scene depicting that location.

Christmas Around the World Part 2

Length of Time: 30-40 Minutes

This lesson combines Music and Social Studies. Students will listen to and learn Christmas songs from around the world and analyze.

Exploring the West

Length of Time: 3 class periods

The lesson will teach the students why there was an expansion to what is now the western half of the United States, as well as the displacement of Native Americans.

Help a Cause

Length of Time: 30 - 60 Minutes

Students will use recycled materials to create toys for a local shelter.

History of Hanukkah

Length of Time: 30-40 Minutes

Students will read a passage about the history of Hanukkah and “talk to the text” to understand the story better. Students will answer questions individually and then with a partner to understand the text better.

Kwanzaa Socratic Seminar

Length of Time: 30 - 40 Minutes Each

Students will discuss the cultural roots of Kwanzaa and analyze why the holiday has been brought to the United States.

Spring Calendar

Length of Time: About 45 Minutes

Spring is the beautiful season that encompasses the three pleasant months of March, April and May. But, how well do your students know the popular season? Help them research and plan a calendar with the important festivals events in the three months. Encourage them to make a pictorial encyclopedia with their favorite spring festival.

The History of Thanksgiving

Length of Time: 30-40 Minutes

Students will research the history of Thanksgiving based on the perspective of the Native Americans and the Pilgrims and then interview each other to learn about each story.

6th Grade Social Studies Lesson Plans

A City Saved by a Volcano

Length of Time: 3-4 Class Periods

Students will learn how the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in Italy preserved two Roman towns.

A Day in the Life of a Roman Girl and Boy

Length of Time: 3-4 Class Periods

Students will research the topic of daily life for children of ancient Rome.

Comparing Countries

Length of Time: Twp 45-minute class periods

Students will research information on places in the world, outside their own country, compile the info and create a display to show the info compared to other countries.

Exploring the West

Length of Time: 3 class periods

The lesson will teach the students why there was an expansion to what is now the western half of the United States, as well as the displacement of Native Americans.

Follow the Direction

Length of Time: One to two 45-minute class periods

Using maps, a compass (if available), and learn the difference between east, west, south, and north; including SE, NE, etc.

Help a Cause

Length of Time: 30 - 60 Minutes

Students will use recycled materials to create toys for a local shelter.

History of Hanukkah

Length of Time: 30-40 Minutes

Students will read a passage about the history of Hanukkah and “talk to the text” to understand the story better. Students will answer questions individually and then with a partner to understand the text better.

It’s a Wonder – Filled World

Length of Time: About 2 Class Periods

Students will learn about the list of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World compiled by the ancient Greeks.

Kwanzaa Socratic Seminar

Length of Time: 30 - 40 Minutes Each

Students will discuss the cultural roots of Kwanzaa and analyze why the holiday has been brought to the United States.

Spring Calendar

Length of Time: About 45 Minutes

Spring is the beautiful season that encompasses the three pleasant months of March, April and May. But, how well do your students know the popular season? Help them research and plan a calendar with the important festivals events in the three months. Encourage them to make a pictorial encyclopedia with their favorite spring festival.

The Articles of Confederation

Length of Time: 2 to 3 class periods

The students will research the “first rules” of the United States, the Articles of Confederation.

The History of Thanksgiving

Length of Time: 30-40 Minutes

Students will research the history of Thanksgiving based on the perspective of the Native Americans and the Pilgrims and then interview each other to learn about each story.

7th Grade Social Studies Lesson Plans

A City Saved by a Volcano

Length of Time: 3-4 Class Periods

Students will learn how the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in Italy preserved two Roman towns.

A Return to Ancient Rome

Length of Time: 3-4 Class Periods

Students will research and create a brief power point program about a landmark of Ancient Rome.

Exploring the West

Length of Time: 3 class periods

The lesson will teach the students why there was an expansion to what is now the western half of the United States, as well as the displacement of Native Americans.

Follow the Direction

Length of Time: Two 45-minute periods

Students choose or be assigned a notable person from the past, research and find quotes or speeches written by that person and role play the person in the classroom, reading some of the speech, and/or the quotes, allowing other students to guess who it is.

Help a Cause

Length of Time: 30 - 60 Minutes

Students will use recycled materials to create toys for a local shelter.

History of Hanukkah

Length of Time: 30-40 Minutes

Students will read a passage about the history of Hanukkah and “talk to the text” to understand the story better. Students will answer questions individually and then with a partner to understand the text better.

It’s a Wonder – Filled World

Length of Time: About 2 Class Periods

Students will learn about the list of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World compiled by the ancient Greeks.

Kwanzaa Socratic Seminar

Length of Time: 30 - 40 Minutes Each

Students will discuss the cultural roots of Kwanzaa and analyze why the holiday has been brought to the United States.

President vs. President

Length of Time: About 3-5 class periods

Each student will research a past deceased president, review their life, speeches, quotes, term in office, etc., and use it to run for President versus another past President.

Presidential Politics

Length of Time: About 2-4 Class Periods

Students will research a past president’s opinions, promises and goals discussed prior to their election and compare/contrast them during their years in office.

The Articles of Confederation

Length of Time: 2 to 3 class periods

The students will research the “first rules” of the United States, the Articles of Confederation.

What Year Did That Happen?

Length of Time: About 45 - 90 Minutes

Students will research several historic events in history concentrating on the years they occurred and attempt to create pneumonic devices to help match the correct year to the event.

8th Grade Social Studies Lesson Plans

A Return to Ancient Rome

Length of Time: 3-4 Class Periods

Students will research and create a brief power point program about a landmark of Ancient Rome.

Changing History

Length of Time: About 2 - 4 Class Periods

Students will research a historical event, “change history” by asking a “What if…” question.  The students will rewrite new information based on their research using the same era and people involved to realistically alter the outcome of the event(s).

Help a Cause

Length of Time: 30 - 60 Minutes

Students will use recycled materials to create toys for a local shelter.

It’s a Wonder – Filled World

Length of Time: About 2 Class Periods

Students will learn about the list of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World compiled by the ancient Greeks.

Music and History

Length of Time: About 45 - 90 Minutes

Students will cooperatively research music from the past 5 or 10 decades and compare and contrast the lyrics with historical events/culture of the decade, answering the question:  How does/did history affect music and lyrics?

President vs. President

Length of Time: About 3-5 class periods

Each student will research a past deceased president, review their life, speeches, quotes, term in office, etc., and use it to run for President versus another past President.

Presidential Politics

Length of Time: About 2-4 Class Periods

Students will research a past president’s opinions, promises and goals discussed prior to their election and compare/contrast them during their years in office.

The Articles of Confederation

Length of Time: 2 to 3 class periods

The students will research the “first rules” of the United States, the Articles of Confederation.

What Year Did That Happen?

Length of Time: About 45 - 90 Minutes

Students will research several historic events in history concentrating on the years they occurred and attempt to create pneumonic devices to help match the correct year to the event.

9th Grade Social Studies Lesson Plans

A Return to Ancient Rome

Length of Time: 3-4 Class Periods

Students will research and create a brief power point program about a landmark of Ancient Rome.

Changing History

Length of Time: About 2 - 4 Class Periods

Students will research a historical event, “change history” by asking a “What if…” question.  The students will rewrite new information based on their research using the same era and people involved to realistically alter the outcome of the event(s).

Country to Country

Length of Time: About 45 - 60 Minutes

Students will develop a timeline for events in their country and another country over the last 200 years and then compare/contrast the timelines to recognize possible relationships between the events in each country.

Music and History

Length of Time: About 45 - 90 Minutes

Students will cooperatively research music from the past 5 or 10 decades and compare and contrast the lyrics with historical events/culture of the decade, answering the question:  How does/did history affect music and lyrics?

President vs. President

Length of Time: About 3-5 class periods

Each student will research a past deceased president, review their life, speeches, quotes, term in office, etc., and use it to run for President versus another past President.

Presidential Politics

Length of Time: About 2-4 Class Periods

Students will research a past president’s opinions, promises and goals discussed prior to their election and compare/contrast them during their years in office.

What Year Did That Happen?

Length of Time: About 45 - 90 Minutes

Students will research several historic events in history concentrating on the years they occurred and attempt to create pneumonic devices to help match the correct year to the event.

10th Grade Social Studies Lesson Plans

Changing History

Length of Time: About 2 - 4 Class Periods

Students will research a historical event, “change history” by asking a “What if…” question.  The students will rewrite new information based on their research using the same era and people involved to realistically alter the outcome of the event(s).

Country to Country

Length of Time: About 45 - 60 Minutes

Students will develop a timeline for events in their country and another country over the last 200 years and then compare/contrast the timelines to recognize possible relationships between the events in each country.

Mini Debates

Length of Time: About 2 Class Periods

Each student will be assigned, or may choose, an historical figure to research, selecting a speech given by the figure, and then write a rebuttal challenging some of its content backed by facts.

Music and History

Length of Time: About 45 - 90 Minutes

Students will cooperatively research music from the past 5 or 10 decades and compare and contrast the lyrics with historical events/culture of the decade, answering the question:  How does/did history affect music and lyrics?

11th Grade Social Studies Lesson Plans

Country to Country

Length of Time: About 45 - 60 Minutes

Students will develop a timeline for events in their country and another country over the last 200 years and then compare/contrast the timelines to recognize possible relationships between the events in each country.

Mini Debates

Length of Time: About 2 Class Periods

Each student will be assigned, or may choose, an historical figure to research, selecting a speech given by the figure, and then write a rebuttal challenging some of its content backed by facts.

12th Grade Social Studies Lesson Plans

Mini Debates

Length of Time: About 2 Class Periods

Each student will be assigned, or may choose, an historical figure to research, selecting a speech given by the figure, and then write a rebuttal challenging some of its content backed by facts.