Recently I began my big New Government project in US History. My culminating project is a student presentation of a government style (that they find or create) that would be a good fit for the new US nation following the Revolutionary War.
Before the culmination, I had to get the students to think about the fundamentals – what a government is, what governments do, what US citizens wanted in a government at that time, etc. This year, to make the fundamentals more engaging, I decided to make them a little more relevant for students. For instance, where I spend time trying to get students to think about what style of government the citizens of the new USA would be interested in, I decided to connect it to the concept of dating. Students had to imagine that the new USA (free from the tyranny of King George III) was now “single and ready to mingle!!!”
Rather than creating a boring chart or paragraph about the USA exploring government styles, I had the students create Tinder profiles for the USA. Note: I did not have the students create real Tinder profiles. Instead, they went into Google Docs or Google Drawings and create a mock profile. First, the students had to brainstorm what the new USA was all about – who were these people? What were their characteristics?
Once we had that list, students then considered what these newly free Americans would want in a style of government. In practical terms, the students had to come up with an image that represented America – much like Tinder clients did. This was funny – Google searches for images that represent the USA are a hoot! There are some pretty funny people online.
Next, the students had to write the dating profile. This was a summary of the ideas they explored earlier – who are these Americans and what style of government were they looking for?
The results were spectacular! Students found some really iconic images and wrote some very engaging profiles.
Next time you are doing the same-old, same-old, think of new ways to connect to your students and connect them to learning.