If there is one game that kids of all ages love, it’s “Would you rather…?” in which players decide which of two hilariously awful options they would choose.
Inspired by this game, Teach-and-Learn Social Studies is proud to present its own version of “Would you rather…? -- a new easy-to-differentiate paper-based activity series with products corresponding to major world regions.
After all, what student doesn’t want to have to choose between swimming in the anaconda-infested Orinoco or the piranha-infested Amazon?
Each product focuses on a region and has three pages; each page has four “Would you rather…?” questions focused on that region for a total of twelve “Would you rather…” questions. Each square has the numbers 1, 2, and 3 and space for students to justify their choice.
Teacher feedback on this product suggests that the best way to use it is to give one page to groups of two students. Since there are three pages in each product not every student group is working on the same page. This cuts down on copying and stimulates cross-group discussion during and after class.
These questions are very flexible and differentiatable; so, they can be used by any grade and at any point in your unit. It may be enough for younger or less advanced students to make basic observations about the presence of water, mountains, or other obvious features; for more advanced students, you may ask them to cite economic, demographic, or political evidence to justify their choices.
Teach-and-Learn Social Studies uses this as a grabber at the beginning of regional geography units and asks students explain their decisions using anything they can find in an atlas. Another teacher reported using this as a reflection document at the end of the unit and being struck by the thoughtful responses despite the silly questions.
Don’t be fooled by the format. These questions draw students in and get them engaged with region-related content in ways that they almost certainly haven’t been before. Students develop atlas skills, map reading skills, mental maps, written expression ability, reasoning capacity, and teamwork as they gather data and make their decisions.
And don’t think that they are just learning about the topics in the questions. Interacting with maps and other sources has wonderful spill-over learning effects as something catches a student’s eye and they pursue it for a moment on their own.
In the immortal words of one student conversation:
Student A: “Look!! Do you not see?! THERE’s Bolivia, THERE’S Colombia, and THERE’s the Amazon River!”
Student B: “But we only care about the Amazon River.”
Student A: “I don’t care what we’re supposed to care about!! Look at the map!!!”
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