It’s exciting that so many people and events from Virginia played a significant role in founding the United States. Many of the Founding Fathers came from Virginia and the United States’ founding documents were inspired by documents created in Virginia. With so much history here in our state, there are lots of great activities to incorporate into your Virginia Studies lessons when teaching your A New Nation unit.
Looking for more SOL-aligned activities and resources? Sign up for the Virginia teacher newsletter!
Memorize Important Documents
Encouraging students to memorize excerpts from the United States’ founding documents will help them better understand the meaning and significance of the documents.
The Preamble of the Constitution is something I expect all of my fourth-grade students to memorize and be able to explain. Some activities I use in my Virginia Studies lessons to help this task include:
- Playing the School House Rock “Preamble” on repeat.
- Incorporating ELA activities that help students understand the meaning of each word in the Preamble.
- Sending home an activity so that students can practice the Preamble daily throughout the A New Nation Unit.
Take Virtual Field Trips through Virginia
The Virginia Trekkers are a staple in my Virginia Studies lessons. If you are unfamiliar, the Virginia Trekkers offer a variety of short videos for kids that teach Virginia history. Best of all, the videos cover the Virginia Studies SOLs. Each video even starts with a fun song that helps students memorize Virginia’s regions.
**NOTE: Recently, I experienced trouble accessing the videos on the Virginia Trekkers website. But, I have been able to still locate them on the Virginia Trekkers Vimeo channel for free.
I especially like using the Virginia Trekkers videos for virtual field trips during my A New Nation Unit. Students take virtual field trips to places such as Mount Vernon (the home of George Washington) and Montpelier (the home of James Madison) to learn more about the Founding Fathers. Not only do students get to see a picture of early American life, but they also get to see and hear information aligned to the A New Nation SOLs.
When taking their virtual field trips, I have students complete a guide to record their observations and help them to stay on task. These guides are included in my A New Nation Unit which comes with detailed Virginia Studies lesson plans, worksheets, passages, digital activities, and assessments.
Virginia Studies Foldables and Books
In addition to taking virtual field trips to the homes of Founding Fathers, students also research important Virginia leaders.
Instruct students to select a Founding Father from Virginia to research. Then, they can create a book to document their findings. This is a fun way to integrate the ELA SOLs with your Virginia Studies lessons.
The pictures show a George Washington book students make as part of my A New Nation Unit.
Virginia Studies SOL Review Games and Activities
My A New Nation Task Cards set includes 24 task cards, each with a question that resembles a question students could see on the SOL test at the end of the year.
I love that there are so many different ways to use task cards and like to play different games at the end of each Virginia Studies unit. You can learn more about some of my favorite task cards games by watching the following video.
The second SOL review activity is a favorite…. A Virginia Studies: A New Nation escape room! With this escape room activity, students pretend they are time travelers, going back in time to investigate Virginia’s role in the establishment of the new nation. As they are traveling back in time, their time machine malfunctions. The only way to fix the time machine and return home is to complete six challenges that review the Virginia Studies SOLs.
Challenges include activities such as assembling puzzles to find codes, decoding excerpts from important documents, and unscrambling and matching information.
Where to Find Virginia Studies A New Nation Resources
These are just a few of my favorite Virginia Studies lessons to use when teaching the A New Nation SOL. There are so many ways to step outside of the textbook and get students excited about Virginia Studies.
The activities described throughout this post can easily be replicated in your classroom. But, if you are short on time, I’ve got you covered!
My Virginia Studies: A New Nation Unit includes:
- detailed lesson plans
- digital activities
- passages with comprehension questions
This unit is also included in my Virginia Studies Bundle, which comes with almost everything you need to teach your Virginia Studies lessons for the entire year.
I hope you and your students both enjoy these activities! Until next time, happy teaching!
Here at Vestal’s 21st Century Classroom, we love helping Virginia teachers find high-quality, SOL-aligned resources. You can check out the Virginia teachers page here on the blog or join the waitlist for the Virginia Teacher Club to stay up to date with our latest SOL-aligned resources, news, and tips.