This activity is an excellent way to start the year! While many back-to-school activities and icebreakers are passive and do not connect to course content, this one gets students moving throughout the classroom, interacting with both the teacher and their peers, and responding to statements that relate to United States History and other Social Studies content.
For this activity, students receive a bingo-style grid, which they must try to fill out as completely as possible. They will go around the room and find a different person who can answer each statement, and write that person's name in the box. They are not allowed to use a person's name more than once, to ensure that they talk to all students (and the teacher), and not just their friends! Some examples of the statements students will respond to are:
- Over the summer, I visited a National Park or a State Park.
- I have a family member or friend who has served in the U.S. military.
- I have visited our State Capitol.
- I can identify the people on Mount Rushmore.
- I have watched a Presidential debate or speech.
This activity can be used as a fun competition between students to fill up the bingo grid as soon as possible, but it can also be a way to pre-assess what your students know about some of the key concepts in United States History. After students have filled out their chart (and if there is still time), you can go over the chart with them and get to know more about the students at that time.