When students need a quick introduction to a new social studies topic, or an engaging online activity that won’t take the entire class period to finish, I call it a "Goldilocks” moment: are there online resources out there that are not too small (in substance) and not too big (in time to complete) that will bridge this gap?
Here are a few of my favorite 4- to 6-minute tutorials perfect for those moments:
This dynamically illustrated overview offers diagrams and maps explaining climate changes in the Amazon rainforest.
That information helps students understand why rainforest conservation is essential.
Or try this.
This tutorial focuses on the geographic and environmental importance of the Sahara Desert. It discusses ecoregions, oases, and the fossil evidence from archaeologists that grass-fed animals like giraffes once lived in the Sahara region before it became a desert.
There are also biographical tutorials on important people like Louis XIV, Peter the Great, Queen Victoria, Winston Churchill, or Adolf Hitler.
Other tutorials cover concepts like the Five Pillars of Islam, the OPEC oil embargo, the Cold War, or organizational structures that classify economic systems.
First, students see examples of each theoretical type of economic system.
Then they consider how these strict definitions blend into mixed economies.
Each tutorial concludes with a short online quiz to check student knowledge—perfect if you want to use these tools as part of a flipped lesson.
So when students go hot and cold about online resources, offer them some that are just right.
Here is a complete list of quick tutorials available on various social studies-related topics.
Czar Nicholas II
End of the Cold War
The Japanese Economic Miracle
OPEC Oil Embargo
The Amazon Rainforest
Medieval Europe: The Crusades
Islam: The Five Pillars
Medieval Japan: The Samurai
Early North American Civilizations
Peter the Great
The Absolute Monarchy of Louis XIV