10-15 contact hours
English Language Arts, Social Studies
4th grade is the year when students across the United States study their state’s history. This provides an opportunity for students learn about people in their family in the past who took risks to shape their futures and who helped provide the students with the opportunities from which they currently benefit.
In the Choose Your Own Adventure project, students explore their state and family history by answering the Driving Question, “What makes people take a risk?”
Using examples of risk taking from personal and state history, taken from a variety of literary contexts, students create their own Choose Your Own Adventure interactive stories. They combine family histories with those of two other students and develop outcomes based on historical probability. Student teams present their adventures in an interactive presentation with an audience of parents and other students.
This project is designed to teach state history to 4th graders in a manner authentic to their own lives and experiences. The aim of this project is"for students to learn more about the motives that brought settlers to their state or country, and to explore decisions that were made and risks that were taken in the process. In teaching this project, there should also be an intentional connection to the students themselves and the risks that have been taken for them and also the risks they have taken and would like to take in the future.
What Inspired the Project?
My students love history and are always the most engaged in class when reading stories, both fiction and nonfiction, that are set in different time periods. This project stems from a desire to teach California history in a way that feels both exciting and relevant to my students, capitalizing on their love of the past. I did not want my students to recreate a scene that they read about in history or merely write about inventions of that time period, but rather to make a meaningful connection between events in their past and their lives today.
Student Work Samples
Click the slideshow to see larger images