Main Idea in a Bag: Hands-On Practice with 10 Social Studies & Science Card Sets

Grade Levels
4th - 6th
Formats Included
  • PDF (34 pages)
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Main ideas and supporting details are HARD concepts, especially if you are stuck reading a long, boring article. :) So, when introducing main idea to my ‘BIG’ 5th graders it had to be interactive. In this hands-on resource, students work in pairs to differentiated between the topic, main idea, and supporting details. This is a fantastic activity for modeling what main ideas, topics, and supporting details look and sound like. Additionally, this hands-on ‘game’ is a perfect transition into students identifying their own main ideas in a nonfiction passage.

Teacher Resources

  • Notes to the Teacher
  • A Picture Tutorial – Using This Resource
  • Explaining Main Idea as a House

Anchor Charts

  • Topic
  • Main Idea
  • Supporting Details
  • The Main Idea ‘House’

Graphic Organizers

  • Main Idea ‘House’ Recording Page
  • Main Idea Mapping (2 details)
  • Main Idea Mapping (3 details)

6 Social Studies Based Main Idea Sets

  • Causes of the Civil War
  • Causes of the Revolutionary War
  • How 9/11 Changed America
  • Important Inventors
  • Famous Speeches that Changed America
  • Words Have Power

5 Science Based Main Idea Sets

  • Effects of Increased Technology
  • Characteristics of Deserts
  • Scorpion Adaptations
  • Way to Go Green
  • Animals that Travel in Groups

Happy teaching,

Catherine, The Brown-Bag Teacher

Total Pages
34 pages
Answer Key
Does not apply
Teaching Duration
3 days
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarize the text.


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