Guest blog by Mrs. Linda Salinas, AP European History and US History teacher at Harlingen High School with Harlingen CISD.
Across the country and throughout our great state, classrooms are transforming in an effort to engage students in meaningful learning. Teachers are revamping their teaching styles and lessons to reach students in a way that is fun and memorable. As a secondary social studies teacher, I had to become extra creative in order to find ways to make learning historical content and skills fun and exciting. I knew lectures and workbooks would keep the learner in a sedated state. So how could I bring learning to life and get students to learn without even realizing it? In this blog, I will share out my speed dating activity and how I used in my 11th grade social studies classroom.
The great thing about this activity is that it allows your students to explore a large amount of content in a 45 or 90-minute class period and can be used in any subject area. Students work individually, in pairs, and then collaboratively. Initially, I thought I was a genius but after researching, I realized it was not some new, unheard of idea. I introduced this activity in my Progressive Era unit. To better understand how it works, here is my breakdown for the period. This is explained with 24 students, and 12 different people being showcased.
Think, Write, Talk
DOK 1 – Video on Muckraker, Upton Sinclair
After watching the video, students independently write down their thoughts about what the word muckraker means. This leads to a discussion by groups and then as a whole class to introduce the lesson.
DOK 1 – Research
After class discussion, students are paired up. In the graphic below, these students shared the same letter. Together, the duo is assigned a person during the Progressive Era that was either a muckraker or reformer. Together, they read a short biography and had the opportunity to do some online research. All information they collected went into the person’s dating profile. To make the assignment a little more interesting, I printed out masks for each historical person they were about to meet.
As groups are working, I would walk around to make sure the information that is being gathered is not only correct but that it answers the questions that are provided to the students via the Dating Profile.
DOK 2 – Speed Dating
This is where the Speed Dating activity will begin. It takes some careful planning to ensure that they groups rotate accordingly. As shown in the graphic, the 12 students sitting in a red circle area did not move during the Speed Dating activity. They remained seated. Students sitting in the green circle moved
each time they were asked to rotate. By doing so, all 12 historical people will be showcased to all 24 students.
To organize even further, students who remained seated always started the date first by introducing who they were, with their printed mask on. As students listened and rotated through the stations, they filled out their matrix highlighting what the historical person was most known for and the problems they sought to address. Each date lasted 6 minutes with roughly 3 minutes per person.
Think, Talk, Write
DOK 3 – Finding your Match
Once the rotations finished, the partners should match up again, A with A and B with B. At this point, they have met the 11 other historical people. Now, they must decide which historical figure they would want to meet up with for a second date or meeting based on their dating profiles. This is a component on their Dating Matrix.
Share Out, Closing
Think, Pair, Share
DOK 4 – Connect
Each pair would then have to share out their meeting request in hopes that the historical person they selected also chose them. Here, it is interesting to see why someone would or would not pick a person using the research their gathered. Students are expected to relate what they learned to historical evidence gathered.
This activity was a great way to change things up in the classroom. My students were moving around, role playing, and what I love most of all is that they had the opportunity to work independently, work in pairs, in groups, and they were teaching their peers about the different muckrakers and reformers during the Progressive Era. While the activity did take a lot of planning, it became a lesson that I use every year due to its success.
If you want additional information on Speed Dating or how to tweak it to fit your content, grade level, or student population feel free to contact me!