Here are some practical ways to teach Hands-On History:

1. Pick a period in history.


2. Gather good resources, grab lots of books: some for younger kids, some for older, some just right. Look for books with interesting pictures, maps, diagrams. (Check out the oversized book collection.)


3. Flop on the floor with kids and browse. This could last several days or even a week or more.


4. Talk about what you are looking at - generate enthusiasm. Record questions.


5. Teach research skills under the guise of detective work. It's ever so much more fun that way. Assign them to be history detectives who are to discover the answers to a few selected questions. Show them where and how to find the answers.


6. Pay attention to what really ignites their curiosity. Consider planning projects & trips to complement their interest.


7. After spending time reading and browsing, begin bringing out additional resources one or two at a time: games, videos, posters, coins, postcards, activity kits, crafts, recipe books, etc.


8. As they begin to answer assigned questions in their student notebook add simple projects: cook a dish, draw a picture for their timeline, play a game.


9. Begin work on maps & timelines. These are important, often underrated, hands-on activities.


10. Take a trip or do a special activity.


11. In the last weeks of the unit plan a final project - the grand finale.


12. Develop film, add pictures & memorabilia to notebooks.


13. Organize and tidy the notebooks - here is the finished project that has captured what you've learned during this unit!


Keys to Success

(A.) Be realistic regarding available time.

- Plan ahead.

- Don't overload.

- Follow the plan.

- Give students some choices

- Simple hands-on projects can be just as effective as elaborate ones.