Manipulatives in Social Studies

Usually when you think of the word “manipulatives”, math comes to mind. But did you know you can use manipulatives in Social Studies as well? 
Sequencing is an easy method to introduce manipulatives in your classroom. We are constantly asking our students to think chronologically, but rarely giving them the opportunity to do so.  In a sequencing activity, students can place key events in chronological order.  This allows them to think of the whole event and break it down into its separate parts.
Can your students place events in order? Here is an Events Leading to The American Revolution activity that requires manipulation of events. 
Categorization is another skill that can be enhanced by manipulatives. When you give students an era, can they sort the key events that define that era?
Students sort images into categories that represent each era. 
Spectrums are one of my favorite higher level thinking activities for Social Studies.  I love to have my students rank events from “Most Important” to “Least Important”.  Once they are done, challenge their thinking and have your students defend their rankings.
Spectrums challenge students to rank events.

You don’t often see puzzles in Social Studies – but you can include them when you are asking your students to memorize a text.  The Preamble to the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence are excellent sources of text to use for a puzzle.  Simply have the students solve the puzzle as they recite the text over and over again.
The Preamble can be made into a puzzle. 
One of my student’s favorite review games is Memory – and it is an easy adaptation to your class for any grade level.  Have your students match images to text as they play – and your test scores will rise!
Repetition reaps rewards! Match the image to the amendment in this Bill of Rights activity


Enjoy these ideas! If you are interested in more teaching strategies – check out my Teaching Tips for Social Studies for free!  I would love to hear back from you on different ways you use manipulatives in your Social Studies class.  

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