Bringing Excitement and Engagement to Social Studies with Video and Green Screen

For some students, learning about the past can be a tedious subject full of seemingly endless memorization. Video and green screen tech can be great tools to bring Social Studies to life while keeping students engaged and helping them learn. All of these ideas require extensive research from the students, so the learning will not be lost in the fun. Here are five green screen projects you can utilize in your classroom to get your students excited about the past!

Newscast From the Past

A fun way to explore an important event in history is to have students approach it like a modern-day new story. Students can research each aspect of the event including who was involved, where it took place, clothing, etc and apply them to different news segments. Create breaking news stories on events such as the start of the Revolutionary War or even a weather report on the ash raining down in Pompei. Once students have completed their research and written their scripts, they can use green screen tech to bring their newscasts to life. They can then share their projects with the class to effectively teach their classmates about their assigned history topic while gaining a better understanding of it themselves.

Interviews with Famous Historical Figures

Students can create interviews modeled after modern interview shows like 60 Minutes and Dateline or something more lighthearted like the Hot Ones YouTube show or Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Students can choose to work with a green screen and have an interview in a historical setting or just use a simple interview set up without a digital background. These short video interviews can help students take a deeper dive into the lives of famous historical figures or take a closer look at their involvement in a particular time period or event. This project allows students to put themselves in the shoes of their subjects and begin to understand the human implications of what they’re studying.

Historical Reenactments

Reenacting famous events from history can be an engaging way to immerse your students in pivotal moments from the past. Doing this as a live presentation can be great but creating a short film using a green screen is an even better way to get students involved! Students can research costumes, settings and even appropriate music of the time to authentically recreate a monumental event. This would be a perfect application for topics like the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the moon landing, and the discovery of gravity by Sir Issac Newton.

In-Depth Video Reports on the History of Country or Place

This green screen project is perfect for students to take a closer look at physical places of historical significance. Ideas include famous historical sites like ancient Rome, Medieval England, or specific landmarks like the Statue of Liberty. Students can compile photos and videos to play behind them on the green screen while they present on their chosen topic. This assignment can easily be done in the style of a documentary or a more traditional report and is great for single students or for groups.

Parody Music Video of a Historical Event

A fun take on the video history report is creating a music video by parodying a popular song. Students can change the lyrics of a song of their choosing to describe a particular historical event or person. They can then design the music video around the facts they gathered in their research. This kind of assignment is great for creating mnemonic devices to help your class remember an important fact or sequence of events. This project is definitely suited for groups of students and can be a great addition to a large project or a fun assignment to do before a school’s open house or a parents’ night.

By Marin Morales

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