Finding ways to make history hands-on is my jam! You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for fun activities to use with your Virginia Studies Government, Geography, and Economics Unit. In this post for Virginia teachers, I’m sharing my favorite lessons and games for this SOL.
Are you looking for even more fun Virginia Studies activities? You can find all of my Virginia Studies blog posts HERE. You can also sign up for my free newsletter for Virginia teachers to learn when I upload new posts and resources just for teaching in Virginia.
Take a Virtual Field Trip to the Virginia State Capitol
Visiting the Virginia State Capitol is one of the best ways to cover the Virginia Studies government SOL. But, not every class can travel to Richmond, where the Capitol building is located. A virtual field trip can be a great option if you are limited on time or resources.
My favorite way to take a virtual field trip to the Capitol is by watching the Virginia Trekkers video, Podcast 4: The Capitol Building. The video does a great job of showcasing the Capitol building and highlighting the roles and responsibilities of government leaders who work in the building.
The Virginia State Capitol website also has a lot of great tools for extending your virtual field trip. Students can take a virtual tour of the building, read about its history, and explore primary sources related to Virginia’s government.
When taking a virtual field trip, I always provide students with a worksheet so that they can document and reflect on what they see and hear. More information about how I conduct a virtual field trip to the Virginia State Capitol can be found in my Virginia Studies Government, Geography, and Economics Unit.
Use Music to Learn Products and Industries
The first time I taught Virginia Studies, my students struggled to memorize the products and industries. It is a lot of small details for students to remember.
One way I have overcome this challenge is by putting the products and industries to music. I wrote a song about the products and industries to the melody of a popular Maroon 5 song. My students loved it! Putting the information to music helped my students quickly memorize all of those small details. I even overheard one of my students humming the song to himself during the Virginia Studies SOL test.
You can find my Virginia Studies Products and Industries song HERE.
Another fun option is to assign students to groups and have them write their own products and industries songs. Then, you can have a Virginia Studies talent show where each group shares the songs they wrote.
Create Virginia Products and Industries Brochures
Using a wide assortment of activities is also a good way to help students memorize the products and industries.
Another products and industries activity I use is a brochure project. In this assignment, students create a brochure that highlights each of Virginia’s regions. They include information about the region’s geography and the products and industries found in the region.
Not only does this help students memorize the products and industries, but it also allows them to review Virginia’s regions and geography that they previously learned about.
Use Virginia Studies Sorts
The Virginia studies Government, Geography, and Economics SOL is a great time to incorporate lots of sorts into your instruction.
Sorts can be used to compare and contrast Virginia’s branches of government.
Sorts can also be used to differentiate products and industries or the types of industries.
All of the sorts shown here are included in my Virginia Studies Government, Geography, and Economics Unit.
Complete a Government, Geography, and Economics Escape Room
My students’ favorite Virginia Studies activities are escape rooms! Escape rooms incorporate math, ELA, and critical thinking skills as students review the Virginia Studies SOLs.
With my Virginia Studies Government, Geography, and Economics Escape Room, students find themselves trapped. The only way to escape is by completing seven escape room challenges that help students review information about Virginia’s government and economy.
- solving math problems to reveal a code
- unscrambling words related to Virginia’s products
- decoding information on a map related to Virginia’s products and industries
- using a key to decode information about agriculture in Virginia
- matching terms and definitions related to Virginia’s government and economy
As soon as we complete this Virginia Studies activity, students are always begging to do another escape room.
Review with Task Cards
Using task card games is a fun way to review information and get students up and moving. Another great thing about task cards is that there are so many ways they can be used and games that can be played with them. I show some of my favorite task card games in this blog post and in the video below.
To review the concepts from this Virginia Studies SOL, I have created 28 Virginia Studies Government, Geography, and Economics Task Cards with questions that resemble what students will see on an SOL test. These task cards make for a fun, no-prep Virginia Studies activities at the end of a unit or before SOL testing at the end of the year.
All of my Virginia Studies task cards are available in both PDF and digital formats.
If you are looking for fun, hands-on activities to get your students excited about your Virginia Studies Government, Geography, and Economics Unit, try incorporating some of the lessons and games listed above in your classroom.
The Virginia Studies activities described in this post can be replicated in your classroom, but I know planning time is limited. If you’re short on time, I’ve got you covered! You can find all of my Government, Geography, and Economics resources in my store, including:
- Government, Geography, and Economics Unit: My unit includes detailed lesson plans, passages and comprehension questions, worksheets, digital activities, and assessments.
- Government, Geography, and Economics Task Cards
- Government, Geography, and Economics Escape Room
All of my Virginia Studies resources are also bundled together for a discounted price.
- Virginia Studies Curriculum Bundle: Includes all of my Virginia Studies unit plans.
- Virginia Studies Task Cards Bundle
- Virginia Studies Escape Rooms Bundle
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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