Elementary social studies is an excellent opportunity for your students to explore American history, their own state, and the world! You can spend hours upon hours finding amazing projects to address your state and district objectives and standards. Why not check out these social studies research projects for 3rd-5th grade? These engaging activities will help your students learn about history and their own community while having fun!
European Explorers Flipbook
I love using flipbooks with my students! Creating flipbooks at the end of a unit is a perfect way for students to showcase their learning. If a formal assessment is required, this is a wonderful way to review. Otherwise, let them show what they know through this project alone.
The European Explorers Flipbook Research Project is one of my favorites! Your students will learn about explorers including John Cabot, Henry Hudson, Juan Ponce de Leon, Jacques Cartier, and Hernando Cortez. There is also a blank template that can be used with any explorer. Students will read articles about the explorers then draw conclusions and practice summarizing before putting their findings together in the flipbook.
The sections include: Early Life and Background, Explorations, Map of Travel, Accomplishments, Interesting Facts, and Bibliography/Resources Reference. Students can “explore” their explorer individually or each take a section and complete as a group.
Try this and other flipbooks in your elementary classroom!
Study Your State
Fourth grade is a great time to study home states. Many states provide funding and opportunities for kids to visit their state capitol or local museums. In fact, if you state has a National Park, it’s a great time to utilize the Every Kid in a Park program, which gives all 4th graders a National Park pass for a year!
Visit your state’s website for resources, and use maps to study geography, historical figures, and important events in your state’s history. Another alternative to researching your class’s home state is to allow each student to choose a state to explore through online and reference material research. Ask your media specialist to help you introduce your students to databases and other online reference materials!
13 American Colonies Research Project
This is another flipbook research project that your students will love! Learning about the 13 original American colonies can be fun with this easy-to-follow template and project.
The flipbook covers Southern, New England, and the Middle Colonies. Each set has a map of each group. Students will research the date each colony was founded, the founder/s, the reason why the settlers went to that location, the common jobs and resources for each of the settlements, and religious practices at each settlement.
This is another opportunity for collaboration. You can divide the students into pairs for each colony (if you have enough students) or have some advanced learners work on their own. The chances for differentiation are endless. Utilize Google Classroom with the links provided to the research as well!
After your students finish their research, make a gorgeous bulletin board with the provided letters!
Gold Rush Grams
Do it for the gram! Even elementary kids think social media (like Instagram) is cool. Share “Gold Rush Grams”, short stories about the Gold Rush and have your students illustrate what they hear on their own “Instagram” templates.
The set comes with 15 grams plus a culminating gram to put it altogether. Imagine the beautiful pictures your students will create while learning about the history of the Gold Rush.
There are so many unique ways to integrate history and geography in social studies classroom. Try out some of these social studies research projects for 3rd-5th grades in your own classroom!