Atomic bomb dropped on
Nagasaki, Japan in 1945.
Charles Levy - Wikimedia Commons
Students use history knowledge, critical thinking and digital literacy skills to tweet clues and guess the historical figure, period or event related to those clues.
Twitter, history, tweet, digital literacy, critical thinking, creative writing, historical, figures, events, review, game, activity
This lesson makes a great review activity and can be done in either a single class period or over the course of several weeks (by setting aside a few minutes per class).
First, ensure that all students have created individual Twitter accounts and that each student will have access to an Internet-connected device.
NOTE: For those uncomfortable with using Twitter in the classroom, or for teachers in schools that block access to Twitter, here are some alternatives, all of which are free, and some of which do not require individual accounts:
TodaysMeet.com is a quick and easy discussion tool that can be used to set up a chat room in seconds. The room is accessible via a link on the Web. It takes two minutes to set up the room, and it's an easy discussion or brainstorming space for students.
Chatzy.com is another type of instant chat tool for class discussions. It allows you to create a password-protected virtual chat room. The room is shared with a simple link and can be set up within minutes, even from an iPad.
CoveritLive.com is a very powerful liveblogging tool for classroom discussions that can be logged and stored on your Web site for later viewing. It’s free, and it works on the iPad. Setup for the administrator takes longer because it does require an account, but it gives you the ability to moderate the chat and embed it into a Web site.
Next, decide which historical periods/events/figures will be used. Select ones relevant to what students have been studying in class. In case students guess the answers quickly, have a relatively large number of people and events ready. You may wish to serve as the “quizmaster” who will tweet clues about these people and events. If you decide to add to the challenge by having kids serve as quizmasters, write the people and events on slips of paper and place them in a bowl for random selection by students.
Decide how you’d like students to make their guesses (on paper, on individual dry-erase boards, verbally, etc.) and set rules for participation (raise your hand to share your guess, no shouting out guesses, etc.). Also decide if you will award prizes to winners. (Consider awarding prizes both for correct guesses and for the best or most creative sets of clues, since good clues require deep understanding of history content.)
Then choose one of the following activity options and adapt them to suit the size and climate of your class:
Next, create a hashtag for each game. You may want to use a numbering system to keep track of them. (An example hashtag for guessing game #1 in Mr. Cameron’s class at George Washington High would be #MrCameronGWH1.)
It is important to remember that these hashtags will be public. As such, when students begin using them, their friends will be able to see them. It is unlikely that the hashtags will be trolled, since this activity would be public. You will, however, want to monitor them. Since Twitter can open the door to distractions, you’ll also want to keep an eye on students to ensure that they remain on task during the lesson.
If you are using an alternative to Twitter, simply set up a chat room on your chosen platform and provide the link to students. Within the chat, make it clear where a new game begins by entering GAME 1, GAME 2, etc. into the conversation at appropriate points.
Explain to students that Twitter has changed the way people communicate today. But what if this technology had existed in the past? Imagine Colonial Americans tweeting about their lives, or think about what the Twitter feed of someone like Napoleon might have looked like. How many followers would Socrates have amassed? Let’s use our history knowledge, digital literacy skills and imaginations to explore famous people and events from the past.
Divide students into teams as needed, get everyone logged in and describe how the game will proceed. If applicable, provide the list of hashtags on a dry-erase board or projection screen. Make sure to erase already-used hashtags as the games proceed, so that students can always see the most current one. If you’re using alternatives to Twitter: These platforms will not place a 140-character limit on the length of clues, so remind quizmaster students to keep their clues brief.
Prior to playing, it might be helpful to run through a few examples with students. If students will be providing clues, remind them that their clues should be neither too easy nor too hard, and have them do planning on paper prior to beginning the game. Decide whether you will allow students to use textbooks or other sources in order to plan their clues. Let guessing students know whether they will be allowed to send inquiring tweets (requests for “hints”) to the quizmaster(s) during the game.
Here are a few sample clues and answers:
Answer: The late former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Answer: U.S. dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan at the end of WWII
Once the games are underway, keep track of scores and winners on a blackboard, dry-erase board or projection screen and award prizes accordingly.
This activity offers a fun, informal end-of-class or end-of-unit formative assessment to check for student understanding. You may leave the activity ungraded and use it simply for motivation and engagement, or you may choose to grade students on the creativity and accuracy of their tweets, as well as their success in identifying historical figures, time periods or events based on the clues provided.
Lesson Plan Source
Jason Tomaszewski, EducationWorld Associate Editor
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NSS-WH.5-12.7 Age of Revolutions
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