October 2020: Featured Lessons – Grades 6-8 ELA/Social Studies

Check out October’s featured resources – seasonal lessons, subject area content, and some of our staff favorites too! 


The Electoral College

Grade(s): 6, 7, 8

Subject(s): Math, ELA, Social Studies

In this project, students will have the opportunity to research and then create a brochure on the use of the Electoral College for electing the President of the United States. In addition, students will choose whether or not they agree with the use of the Electoral College and participate in a debate. There are multiple opportunities for problem solving and student inquiry. This project also provides an Electoral Vote simulation.

ELA Lessons

Marketing Madness

Grade(s): 8

Subject(s): ELA

In Marketing Madness, students use their favorite food or beverage to practice argument reading and writing in a real world context. As marketing analysts, for a food or beverage company, they have to write a marketing proposal to decide which country to expand into with their product. They read other marketing proposals and analyze data about consumption internationally, before deciding on a country to expand into and justifying their decision. They have to meet with their team to come to agreements, before writing their final marketing proposal. The task ends with the opportunity to develop argument writing in several ways.
This performance task has editions for 6 foods and beverages, including milk, bottled water, and chocolate.

Sentence Types with Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Grade(s): 7

Subject(s): ELA

Nothing like a good criminal investigation to liven up English class!

In a Crime Scene Decoder Skill Builder, students work to solve 10 problems that increase in difficulty focusing on specific language skills. After each answer, they will receive a clue. Similar to the board game Clue, there will be a fictional theft of a famous manuscript. The goal is to determine the thief, the scene of the crime, and the method.

In this Skill Builder, students practice identifying simple, complex, and compound sentences using an excerpt from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor.

Included are extension activities where students add interest to their writing using a variety of sentence structures either through a response to the text or as a piece of creative narrative writing.

Drones: Fun or Dangerous?

Grade(s): 7, 8

Subject(s): ELA, Social Studies

In this project, students are taken through the process of argument writing in a real-world scenario reporting on the drone industry.

The project includes links to articles and videos with comprehension and discussion questions included. Then students are directed to plan their report in stages before a peer review process, revision, and reflection on their work and process. A rubric is also included to grade students’ work.

Social Studies Lessons

New World Survival Handbook

Grade(s): 8

Subject(s): ELA, Social Studies

The “First Thanksgiving” in 1621 celebrated the pilgrims’ first harvest. Help students better understand the celebration by having them explore the challenges and difficulties faced by the early American colonists when settling in the “New World.”

For this project, the students will learn the dates, times, and reasons for Colonial American settlement and the basic geography of the Eastern United States seaboard. The students will also understand that the early settlers of the United States faced many challenges including harsh landscape, limited understanding of resources, lack of knowledge of surroundings, and limited survival skills.

The students will write a book with multiple chapters in small teams to provide detailed instruction for survival to Early American Colonists. There are resource guides and guiding questions to help the students.

The Age of Exploration

Grade(s): 7

Subject(s): ELA, Social Studies

The Age of Exploration was a time of discovery! Analyze the motivations, the tragedies, and the changes in the world during this age and determine why exploration was so significant. Create an infographic focusing on an aspect of the Age of Exploration that fascinates you. Using graphic design and QR codes, discover an effective way to reach an audience with your ideas.

Leader vs. Bully

Grade(s): 6, 7, 8

Subject(s): ELA, Social Studies

We admire leaders who can effectively help us live safe, peaceful, and productive lives and even those who challenge our thinking.

Leaders are found on teams (sports, academic, political, etc.) and they inspire others to be their very best. A great leader brings out our best and helps us focus on a goal, but does not make us uncomfortable or feel bad about ourselves.

In this Rank & Reason, students consider a variety of traits and rank them according to which is the most important in an effective leader.

This question is designed to have no right answer. Students must think critically and provide justification for their rankings. Interactive features allow students to compare their rankings with others and to the class average.

Staff Favorite

Tweet if You’re Magellan

Grade(s): 7

Subject(s): ELA, Social Studies

During the Age of Exploration, ships traveled the world with courageous and daring captains and crews. Discovering new lands and navigation routes, as well as engaging in conflicts with natives, the explorers had unique experiences. What were they thinking?

The National Explorographics Society has accepted students into their Explorer-in-Residence Program and is assigning them to one of their explorer ships. While following the explorer’s route and tweeting along the way, they’ll work on researching and summarizing. #ageofexploration