The US History SOL test will be here before we know it. If you’re a US History teacher in Virginia, you’ve come to the right place!

This blog post is packed with review games, activities, and projects to keep your students engaged at the end of the school year as they review for the US History SOL test.

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United States Road Trip Project

Working project-based learning into your US History SOL test prep is a great way to keep students engaged at the end of the school year and review for the SOL test.

One of my favorite project-based learning activities involves planning a road trip through the United States. For this activity, students select at least 10 places throughout the United States where they will stop and plan activities that they will do at each location. They will also write a paragraph explaining how each location relates to something they learned about in US History this school year.

I like to have students plan their road trips in Google My Maps (not Google Maps). My Maps allows users to flag locations, create a route, and provide information about each location flagged. It is the perfect tool for planning a road trip.

If you’ve never used My Maps before, I’ve put together this short video tutorial.

Curate a Digital Gallery

My Maps is not the only Google tool that works well for US History project-based learning. Google Arts and Culture is another application that can be used to enhance learning about history.

If you are unfamiliar, Google Arts and Culture allows users to search for content from museums and archives all around the world. Students can find art, documents, and first-hand accounts with just the click of a button. They can even save the content they discover and curate their own galleries.

By using Google Arts and Culture as part of your US History SOL test prep, you can instruct students to curate a gallery that highlights topics they have learned. You can assign students to curate a gallery related to a specific time period or topic or you can instruct students to curate a gallery related to a list of given time periods or topics.

US History Escape Rooms

If you’ve followed me for long, you may know that I LOVE classroom escape rooms. Escape rooms are a fun way to get students moving and using critical thinking skills as they prepare for the US History SOL test.

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You can find this Colonial America Escape Room HERE.

In all of my US History escape rooms, students are traveling back in time to learn about a specific time period when their time machine malfunctions! The only way to fix the time machine and return to the present is to complete a series of challenges and puzzles that require students to review the US History SOLs.

Challenges and puzzles require students to do things such as:

  • Assemble puzzles to find a secret code or identify important people in US History.
  • Read information and answer comprehension questions to solve a puzzle or reveal a code.
  • Decode famous quotes and passages.
  • Use keys to find hidden information.
  • Identify true facts about historical events.
  • Solve math problems related to US History to create a code.
  • Match people, events, and legislation to their descriptions to create secret codes.
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You can find this Civil War Escape Room HERE.

These classroom escape rooms are one of my students’ favorite ways to review for the US History SOL test! 

You can find escape rooms in my store for most US History SOLs.

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You can find this Early Explorers Escape Room HERE.

US History SOL Review with Task Cards

Task cards should be in every Virginia teacher’s SOL test prep tool belt!

I love task cards because they require almost no prep work to put together and there are so many games you can play with them. Even though I use task cards a lot throughout the school year, I rarely have students get bored with them. That is because I switch up the games and activities we use with task cards all the time.

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You can find these Civil War Task Cards HERE.

One of my favorite activities is to use task cards with a classic board game. For example, students can play a regular game of Chutes and Ladders. But, to take their turn, they must correctly answer a question on a task card. If they answer the task card question incorrectly, they lose that turn.

You can learn more task card games and activities in THIS blog post.

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You can find these U.S. Constitution Task Cards HERE.

Virtual Field Trips

A virtual field is an easy way to learn more about a US History topic. Here are a few ways that I conduct virtual field trips.

  • Use Google Maps to visit historical sites such as the White House, Civil War battlefields, or Independence Hall.
  • Visit the website for a museum. Today, most museums have digital collections for students to explore.

US History Timeline Activities

I find that students better retain historical information better when they can correctly sequence events. That is why I always include timeline activities as part of my US History SOL test prep.

All of my US History units include a set of timeline cards, each with an event and a date. I like to cut the cards in half so that the events and dates are separate. Throughout my SOL review, I use these cards for a variety of activities such as:

  • matching games
  • sorts
  • scavenger hunts
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You can also have students create their own timelines on poster boards or digital slides (such as PowerPoint or Google Slides).

Fishbowl Game

If you are unfamiliar, the fishbowl game incorporates several fun party games into one. The fishbowl game is always a hit with students, making it a fun US History SOL test review game.

For this game, write terms related to the US History Standards of Learning on small pieces of paper. Fold the pieces of paper and place them in a bowl. Make sure there are at least 30 terms in the bowl. Terms can include things such as people, places, events, inventions, etc.

Assign teams of 4-5 students.

This game is played over a series of three rounds. For each round, set a timer for 2 minutes. One student from a team will come to the front of the room, draw a piece of paper from the bowl, and do whatever they are supposed to do for the round to get their team to guess the term on the paper. The goal is to get through as many pieces of paper in the bowl during the 2 minutes. The team gets one point for each term that they can guess during that time.

Rounds include:

  • Round 1- Taboo: The student can say any words (except the term on the piece of paper) to help their team guess the term.
  • Round 2- Charades: The student must act out the term.
  • Round 3- Password: The student can only say one word to help their team guess the term.

Each team gets an opportunity to earn points during each round.

At the end of each round, all of the pieces of paper go back into the bowl.

Conclusion

Many students automatically think “boring” when they hear Virginia SOL test prep. But, your US History SOL test review can be engaging without spending hours of your time prepping. (Because no teacher wants to spend hours prepping games at the end of the school year!)

All of the games and activities I have shared in this blog post are fun ways to prepare for the SOL test that still incorporate critical thinking and collaboration. I promise that neither you nor your students will be bored with these activities!

For more information about some of the US History SOL-aligned activities mentioned in this blog post, check out the following links.

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Have you heard of the Virginia Teacher Club®? The Virginia Teacher Club® is a one-of-a-kind program for upper elementary teachers in Virginia. Members receive instant access to a curriculum library of SOL-aligned math, science, social studies, and ELA resources. There are lesson plans, games, assessments, passages, digital activities, and more for EVERY SOL. By using the Virginia Teacher Club®, our members save hours of planning time every month and have access to high-quality, SOL-aligned resources that students love.

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