End of Year Lesson Ideas for Social Studies - History Gal

End of Year Lesson Ideas for Social Studies

Image of students taking a picture with text overlay that reads End of Year Lesson Ideas for Social Studies

Are you struggling to figure out what to do during the last few weeks of school in your social studies or history class? Don't stress! Here are some of my favorites:


Oral Project - Perfect for downtime after state exams, students (individually or in pairs) pick any topic from the 20th or 21st century to teach their classmates about. They have 20 minutes to present to the class and their project can take on any form they wish - a talk, a video, a demonstration. . . their imagination is their limit! All you have to do is give final approval of their topic and form of presentation, give them some class time to work, and set up the presentation schedule. What makes this so fun is that it's a topic that students are actually excited about and their individually personalities shine through. I've seen presentations on a huge range of topics from music to food to serial killers to historical events and so much more. What makes it even better, is that it's low prep during those last crazy weeks of the school year.

Image of Vocabulary Page with colored pens
Vocabulary Pages - Do you need a quick way to cover material? I love vocabulary pages. They are basically a word cloud with terms, events, phrases, and important people from a specific period of time. They also work great to review those last few decades that you never quite have time to cover in U.S. History. I make them with fun fonts with white fill and black outlines so students can color-code the terms (events one color, important people another color, etc.). Then, I have student note pages where students can explain what the terms are. You can create a PowerPoint to help go over the terms or just talk about the terms with your students. The pages can also be cut apart to let students each research one of the terms on their own and share with the class. The terms can then be placed on a bulletin board or around the room. Don't want to create your own? I've got you covered!

Image of 1970s Vocabulary Handout
Image of 1980s Vocabulary Page
Image of 1990s Vocabulary Page

Maps: The end of the year is a great time to reinforce students' knowledge of the locations they've learned about over the course of the year. You can also give students a head start for next year by having them work on maps for regions they'll be learning about next year. Here are a few of my favorites (one of them is FREE!)

Image of Australia with colored pens
Colored image of the United States
Map illustration of the Kansas Nebraska Act

Get artistic: Get out the crayons and markers and let students be artistic. If you have an artistic bunch, let them review for their exam by creating murals, paintings, graphic novels, book covers, or illustrative biographies. If your class is not super artistic, grab bulletin board paper from your school's supply room and pass out large sheets to groups of students. Assign each group a topic or time period and let them do a brain dump about everything they know about the topic or time period on the paper - those who want to draw can and everyone else can just write. Then, have the groups rotate to the other papers. They can add information and images as well as correct any mistakes. After a few rotations, let students get out their notes and textbooks to add any final information to the pages.


Simulations: Do you want a way for students to review without realizing they are reviewing? These are some of my favorites:

Mystery Picture Reveal Review Activities for Google Sheets: These are great for reviewing for end-of-year state tests to help students review content that will be on their final exams. There are lots of YouTube video tutorials on how to create them, but if you just don't have the time, I have several for Civics, U.S. History, and World History on my website.

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