How to Teach Social Studies with Educational Toys

Social Studies is made up of 5 fields: history, culture and society, geography, economics, and civics and government. When I think back to my days in school, social studies consisted of a huge textbook, lots of reading, and a few worksheets. With all the technology these days, teachers are having to find different, more inventive ways to capture students’ attention. Visual and tactile learning is starting to become more popular and Safari has plenty of educational toys to help supplement your social studies lessons.

History

History is full of intriguing characters. One of the most notable is Julius Caesar of Ancient Rome. You can easily display the safari figurine as you read about Julius Caesar and his rule of ancient Rome. Having a visual to help put a face to the name always helped me when remembering information. You can assign groups of students and divvy up the information into who, what, when, where, and why facts. Each group gathers facts about Julius Caesar that falls under their theme. After creating a poster with the facts they present their information in front of the class.

 

History

 

Art history is a big area of study. The Romans were famous for their 3 types of columns: Doric, Ionic, Corinthian. When learning about the building styles that ancient romans used, visuals are a must. Use the Roman Aqueduct, Triumphal Arch, and Colosseum figurines to point out similarities and differences in design. Discuss how columns and arches were used to create larger structures. The architectural design the Romans used worked to distribute weight among the building and therefore led to bigger and more structurally sound buildings. Taking what they learn from the ancient Roman architecture, have groups of students either re-create existing Roman structures or make their own brand-new structure.

 

History kids

 

Geography

Geography was one of my favorite subjects in school. I loved placing all the states and learning their capitals. With the World Landmarks Toob and Around the World Toob you can extend your teaching to world geography and include some of the most famous world landmarks. Choose which landmarks you want to focus on. Maybe You may want to choose specific ones, just one Toob, or both. Once decided, count how many you have and give each student a number. For example, if you choose to use only the World Landmarks Toob there are 7 figurines.

Designate each landmark in the Toob to a specific number and then give your students numbers 1-7. Have the students create a fact poster for their given landmark. They can talk about the origin of the landmark, how it was built, its physical and geographical location. Have students with the same number gather and share their information with each other. Then have them present the information to the class as a group. This activity helps build teamwork and communication skills as well as teaching historical and geographical content.

 

Ancient Egypt

 

Economics

You probably read the title for this activity and thought “that sounds more like math….”. You’re not wrong, however economics has a lot to do with math. And if you think about it, this is probably one of the most important subjects because it helps prepare your students for real world financial situations. Teaching economics doesn’t have to be done in a specific lesson. For younger kids you can use classroom reward systems to teach financial skills.

Many teachers have a treasure box system. The students rack up points and at the end of the week can cash in their points for a reward from the treasure box. You can choose a different student each week to be the cashier. You can also give rewards for good behavior or work done. For example passing out material or sweeping the floors. You can have students share points with each other to demonstrate exchange of goods and services. For example, helping out a classmate with their work can earn you a point from that specific student whom you helped.

 

I absolutely love this Toob for teaching. It showcases the many different paths students can take career wise. Some require degrees, others special certifications, and some just require passion and skill. I think many times, students aren’t aware of their options when it comes to careers and it’s a way for teachers to open the door to more opportunities.

For this Labor and skills lesson, you can use the People at work toob to introduce careers and the schooling it takes to acquire those positions. Then you can send your student home to gather information on their parent/parents’ careers/jobs. They can research the requirements, salaries, and skills needed to go into that career. Have them share their findings with the class and make a collage of all the different careers discussed. This can be timed around your school’s career day and you can have parents come share more information with the class.

 

Culture and Society

Now, more than ever, we are learning more about different cultures. Technology has made it easy to research foundations and traditions of other cultures. It has also given individuals a spot light to share their culture & societies with others. One of the most well-known societies was that of Ancient Egypt. Their elaborate ink markings, and burial rituals were a huge part of their culture. Safari’s ancient Egypt t=Toob has 12 brightly colored figurines. Some are historical figures, and others are famous landmarks.

 

Ancient Egypt history

 

Create a KWL Chart.

Have your students use background knowledge and Write their ideas under the What I Know section of the chart.

Have them come up with questions based off the figurines. For example, what do they think the animals represent? Do you think Egyptians were wealthy considering their elaborate dressing? Write their answers under the “What I Want to Know” section

Use these figurines to supplement informational text about ancient Egyptian society. Read and discuss their culture and traditions. You can read character biographies on Queen Nefertiti and King Tutankhamen. Fill out the final portion of the chart, “What I Know Now” by calling on students and writing their answers down.

 

There are so many ways to use safari’s history themed toys in the classroom. You can apply them to teach math, practice reading, develop writing skills and so much more. You can use Safari figurines to create new assignments or simply display them around the classroom to take your students back in time!

 

DeAna Dunn is a former special education and science teacher turned stay-at-home mom to 3 toddlers. Living life in survival mode.

 

 

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