Do you remember your junior high or high school history class? What memories come to mind? Maybe excitement, stories of adventure, or maybe just day-dreaming as you were zoning off into your own little world! When I was in class, I remember asking myself and thinking "Why am I learning about history?" "Why do we have to study this stuff anyway?" "When am I ever going to use this in life?" "Isn’t history about a bunch of old, dead people and things that have already happened?" Asking why is a vital part of learning and a great question to ask! The question of why should not be dismissed but instead explored. It is the inquisitive mind that asks why, and students who ask why are the students that want to learn. Start the first day of school, or the first lesson of any history unit, with “WHY” because students always want to know why?
Right from the get-go, I like to start with why. I have found that the “WHY” must be answered before the “WHAT.” When students know why, then learning can begin. If there is no why, then it seems like a waste of time to students. So with that question of why in mind, I have developed and tweaked this back-to-school resource for my classroom. I begin my first day of any history class going through this PowerPoint styled classroom discussion to convince my students that history is truly important to them. This format has proven to be beneficial, and if you don't already have a resource like this, I encourage you to give this a try.
I know this activity will help your students as it has certainly helped my students get excited about learning history! If you are hesitant in knowing how to convince your students why they should study history, I have included all of my notes with examples throughout history to prove to students the importance of history. I am including these teacher notes and the 6 reasons why, so you don't have to do any research! Woohoo! In addition to the discussion slides and teacher notes, you will receive a few lesson ideas, reinforcement activity, and a quiz template for additional assessment. All files are also available in Google Drive format for those who prefer Google Classroom!
Start the year off right and enjoy this “NO-PREP” WHY STUDY HISTORY? lesson with your students! Let me know how it goes and leave your feedback below. What other helpful things have you done at the beginning of the school year to hook your students and get them engaged in History?