Strategies for Teaching Social Studies

by Misty Weatherford
Teaching social studies

Are you looking for strategies for teaching Social Studies? Teaching Social Studies is such a blast, because there is so much freedom on what all that we get to teach. We could teach religions, Ancient Civilizations, the constitution, sociological principles and so much more. Regardless of what you’re teaching, having strategies that reach the kids at their level, is crucial.

Below are strategies for teaching social studies, which I have used in my classroom, as well as Resources for teaching Social Studies:

1. Active learning:

Encourage students to participate in activities such as debates, simulations, and role-playing. This helps students to engage with the material and to make connections between the content and their own lives.

One example of how I do that in my classroom is with this debate activity: An example from my classroom!

In this activity, students interact with 17 slides of questions where students have to write arguments for and arguments against, and there is even an extension activity included on active listening.


I love activities that bring about research, and interesting conversations in the classroom. The key with debates is that everyone understands the expectations. Particularly how to address subjects that students may disagree on. I always tell students that the best way to get someone to hear you out on a topic, or change their mind on a topic, is to make sure that they are 1. ready to hear what you have to say, and 2. are not closed off from at least entertaining what you have to say. Otherwise, its like beating a dead horse. Being able to argue or debate is such an essential life skill.

2. Project-based learning:

Have students work on projects that allow them to explore a topic in depth. Projects can include research papers, presentations, and community service projects.

Here are my project lessons within my store: (Apparently I did a lot of projects in my government/civics class haha)

3. Collaborative learning:

Have students work in small groups to explore a topic. This helps students to share their knowledge and to develop social skills. One management tool that I have found to make sure that students aren’t just copying off of one student, is to assign roles. For instance, everyone reads, but maybe one is the one thinking of questions, the other is identifying facts, and one is coming up with the summary. Having different roles, helps students avoid idleness.

4. Differentiation:

Differentiation in the classroom refers to the practice of tailoring instruction to meet the individual needs of students. Below are some examples of how to execute differentiation in the classroom.

  1. Tiered assignments: providing different levels of difficulty for the same assignment, based on student readiness.
  2. Small-group instruction: Breaking students into small groups for targeted instruction based on their needs.
  3. Flexible grouping: Rearranging students into groups that change based on the topic or activity.
  4. Self-paced learning: Allowing students to work at their own pace on different activities or assignments.
  5. Choice boards: Offering students a choice of activities or assignments that address the same learning objective.
  6. Learning stations: Setting up different stations in the classroom where students can rotate to work on different activities.
  7. Variety of assessments: Using different types of assessments, such as projects, essays, and tests, to assess student learning in different ways.
  8. Journaling: Encourage students to reflect on their learning through writing.
  9. Scaffolding: Gradually releasing responsibility to the students for their own learning.
  10. Differentiating the content, process, product, and the learning environment.

I have one example of a differentiated lesson for my foundations of Democracy lesson. Simply changing the objective of what students are doing, for example Identifying versus analyzing, truly helps students who have differentiated needs.

Foundations of Democracy Example

I hope that this post helps you with your strategies for Teaching Social Studies!

Have a great Teaching day my friends,


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