Social Studies Projects & Ideas for PBL History, Geography & Civics
Social Studies Projects for Kids
These social studies projects take your students beyond dioramas and research papers to authentic learning, through community and civic problem-solving and outreach. Students collaborate with classes across campus, town, or the world to develop solutions, share international cultures, and understand local, state, national, and world issues.
I got my start on social studies projects with an ePals project. My class paired up with a class in Germany to learn about the culture and geography of Germany and Europe. The structure of the ePals project helped me to organize my lessons and helped my students to present what they learned to other second grade classes.
I hope you find these project ideas helpful for your next (or first) project!
Social Studies for Grades K-5
- Community Impact Projects | PBLU.org
PBLU offers a couple of very detailed projects for how children can improve their communities and measure the impact of their efforts. Look at "Flat Stanley Community Heroes" and "Make a Difference".
- International Projects or Partners Place | GlobalSchoolNet
About 19 open projects for students in grades K-12. Many of them involve sharing arts, history, and culture with classes in other countries. The project list is constantly changing. Search by grade level, curriculum, and type of collaboration.
- Social Studies projects | Intel Education
21 projects for students in grades 2-12. As with Teach21 PBL, project focus is on local government, history, and geography at lower grades, shifting to world history and geopolitical events at the higher grades.
- Projects Space | iEARN
Projects for K-12 include 4 projects in geography, 21 projects in international studies/global issues, and 10 projects in history. Topics include local history, community action, and developing solutions that address world hunger.
- Generator School Network - NYLC
200+ projects for students in grades K-12. The projects involve service learning and contributing to the community. Projects are grouped by grades K-3, 4-6, 6-8, and 9-12. You can filter selections by area of service.
- Google Historical Voyages and Events | Carol LaRow
For students in grades 3-5. Kids get the opportunity to showcase their communities to the public in a historical context. They learn the history of where they live and historic figures who impacted their community, then present what they've learned.
- Project Work | Duke School
Two projects for students in grades 4-5. Fourth graders immerse themselves in research on North Carolina folk life, culminating in a display at a local folk festival. (Adaptable to folk life or cultural festivals in any state.)
Middle School Students Build Their Own Video Textbook
Middle school students in Ohio have created a history of the world online to share with students everywhere. Check out the The Students' History, a fantastic example of project-based learning.
Social Studies Project for Middle and High School
- Schools That Work: Mixing Art + Politics
For students in grades 11-12, this collaborative project between art and government classes invites students to select and research both sides of environment, social welfare, economics, and foreign policies
- High Tech High - Project Based Learning, the Vietnam Experience
For 11th grade students who pick a historic period (Vietnam in this example), research it through a variety of media, then write and produce a play using historically accurate characters and settings and realistic dialogue.
- The Hunger Games Project
For world history students in grades 9-10, this three-week project helps students learn about the global economic crisis of the pre-World War II era that led to the rise of totalitarianism and the resultant moral dilemmas.
- Leadership for Grades 6-12
Students in grades 6-12 pick an issue and use primary sources to study from the perspective of the past, present, and future. They create a documentary video of their findings and organize a public event to air their documentaries.
- Project Citizen
Middle and high school students in grades 5-12 learn how to monitor and influence public policy through their state and congressional representatives, by developing ideas to solve problems that they present in a portfolio.
Great Ideas for Elementary School Social Studies Projects
Many great ideas here for social studies projects. I really like the examples, and the ideas are easily adaptable to virtually any subject area.