It happens most every year. No matter how hard we work, the last few weeks of school are approaching and we have a couple of chapters or topics left to study. This time it is American History, and we are finally getting to the last 60 years. This is of course, the history either I or my parents remember. I don’t want to continue our history course next year, but yet there are some really notable things that were happening that I want my teens to know before we close the books for summer. So what do you do when you find yourself short on time to finish? A scavenger hunt through history, of course!
Early on in our homeschooling adventure, I had always wanted to learn history that I did not get in high school myself. Yeah, I had one of those teachers who didn’t teach anything, and I mean anything. I especially looked forward to modern history. Being a lover of all things 80’s, I looked to Billy Joel’s, “We Didn’t Start The Fire” song. So years ago, I tucked that little thought away, looking forward to the day we would get to that point.
That time is now here! I’m certainly not the first to want to use the fun tune to teach modern history! There are several things available on the internet, but nothing exactly like what I was looking for. They were either geared toward group learning, or seemed more like work than fun, and they were plain. Being one of those people who chooses a book by the cover, I appreciate good presentation. Last, there were some extra things I wanted to incorporate into this unit to tie it all together with current events.
I chose to set this up as a scavenger hunt with the people, place and events in the lyric listed by year. The student will pick one from each line to find its significance for a total of 20 items. They are also required to write additional lyrics to the song to coincide with the year they were born, as well as a line for the year 2020/2021. That shouldn’t be difficult to come up with! Because I am using this activity for a year-end final grade, I included an assignment check list. That way, they will know exactly what I expect. There are certainly more ways to use the lyrics as a way to cover history. With 118 items in the song, the activity can definitely be stretched to a more lengthy study if need be. Documentaries, biographies, mapping, and more could be easily incorporated.
We are so close to our big summer break, and this is a great way to squeeze in those last things in a fun way that will still teach as well as slip in a little creativity. Not to mention, it’s a much better alternative than sticking them with a research paper or book report at the end of the year. Their minds as well as my own are on summer!
Be sure to grab your scavenger hunt HERE or on the image below.