I don’t know about you, but I had students in my social studies class that didn’t like history (**gasp**). I don’t know how anyone could not like history, but these students did not. I was faced with making history interesting enough so they would participate in class and LEARN. Sometimes I know the standards I have to teach aren’t overly interesting (government and Econ, I’m looking at you), but even those standards I thought were super interesting, these kiddos were like, “Meh.” And I was like, “Seriously?! This is cool!”
I would also come across tidbits of information I really wanted to spend time teaching my students, but these weren’t in the standards. I didn’t want to confuse my students on what they were expected to learn versus not, so I came up with a way to still fit these interesting facts in AND engage my most reluctant, history-aversion learners. And this is how Unlock History’s Secret Vaults ™ came to be!
If you would rather watch and listen, you can do that on my Facebook page where I discuss how I use Unlock History’s Secret Vaults ™ to engage my most reluctant learners and give those high achieving kiddos trivia bits. If you would rather read about it, just keep scrolling!
Why did I create this resource?
I always wanted to share tidbits of interesting information with my students about the topics we studied, but often there wasn’t enough time to fit it in. I didn’t want to just throw random facts at them, so I created a resource that would incorporate these tidbits and encourage student interaction. Some of the facts are common myths or misconceptions, some are controversial and were hidden, and others are just cool facts to learn. There are many misconceptions and myths, and I wanted to address this with my students. There are also facts that are controversial and were buried throughout history. I wanted my students to be aware of these facts, too. Some of the facts I thought were just really cool to learn, and so did my students!
What is in this resource?
This resource includes 10 color vaults, each with an interesting fact that may or may not be true. There are also 10 answers that explain why the fact is or is not true. For those of you who want to save color ink, there are 10 blackline vaults. There is a recording sheet and question cards that can be used to facilitate small group discussions and help students think through their responses. The question cards are also available in blackline. You can print the blackline vaults and question cards onto color paper. I have also included a separate file with one vault per page if you want to use this resource whole group.
How do I use this resource?
This resource is very versatile. You can use the vaults as:
- stations to review at the end of the unit
- table talks to get students talking to each other and to organize their thoughts
- bell ringers for social studies to start off class with students thinking about the current topic of study
- early finisher activity
- time filler for those days when you finish your daily lesson early
Who benefits from this resource?
Every student in your class benefits!
- Reluctant learners who don’t like history will find the facts interesting
- Advanced students who like to learn as much as possible about history will learn little-known facts
- ELL students will be encouraged to participate in small group discussions to improve their language skills and historical knowledge
- Struggling students who need to participate in small group discussions to think through the content to better understand it
- All students because they will have to use their learned knowledge to formulate their reasoning to determine if a fact is true or false
This resource is meant to be low prep for you. You can simply print it 2-sided and cut it in the middle (each page has 2 vaults), or you can make copies and assemble using glue or staples.
You could even add small magnets or velcro to give your students to experience of really unlocking history’s secret vaults!
You can get really creative and make your own mini-vaults to store each topic in, or you can simply store them in baggies, envelopes, or small plastic tubs. My students really loved learning these tidbits of information, and it also hooked my most reluctant learners, which is what I was after. Everything else was just icing on the cake 🙂 These history vaults are now available in my TpT shop!
If you are looking for more fun social studies activities check out these other blog posts:
- Simulations for the Social Studies Classroom
- Social Studies Escape Rooms
- Using Stations in Social Studies