New Geography Challenges: Engaging Students with Video-Based Activities

TCI is updating its History Alive! interactive middle school social studies curriculum. One exciting addition to History Alive! is a video-based geography challenge that will begin each unit. From surveying the physical features of Ancient Greece to exploring the environment of the Americas, these geography activities engage studies with vivid images and thought-provoking questions.

Get a Sneak Peak of a Geography Challenge Video

Want to sample TCI’s latest Geography Challenge videos? Check out this video that opens History Alive! The Ancient World’s unit on Ancient Greece.

Video-based Geography Challenges were developed with customer feedback. Although Geography Challenges have been a feature of the History Alive! Programs, TCI wanted to enhance the classroom experience and student learning through videos. Videos provide an immersive experience, allowing students to imagine themselves in the environment and deepen their understanding of the region.

TCI’s Director of Product Experience Marsha Ifurung explained, “In talking with our customers, we heard that teachers want to help their students build geography skills, but it’s hard to do with a print book. With new Geography Challenge Videos, students will see the map, the geographic features, and the connections between places in a much more visual format that helps them build a deeper understanding.”

The video is only one part of the new Geography Challenges. After students watch the video, they engage in an activity in which they create and analyze a map of a region and respond to critical thinking questions about the region.

Videos in Social Studies Curriculum

Videos are powerful tools for enriching social studies activities in middle school classrooms. Visual media support learning through multiple modalities and help deepen student understanding. When used strategically, videos can support meaningful learning. Here are three ways to use videos effectively in the classroom.

  1. Capturing attention. Research suggests that beginning a lesson with a video captures and maintains student interest. While videos cannot replace classroom instruction, using videos at the beginning of a lesson along with guiding questions can be an impactful way to keep students attentive and prepare them for further learning.
  2. Reaching students through multiple modalities. Using multiple mediums for instruction can help students learn. Studies show that communicating content through a combination of text, audio, and visuals can reinforce learning and improve outcomes for students.
  3. Complementing an interactive activity. Videos are especially effective in an active classroom. Pairing videos with interactive questions or incorporating videos as part of a larger activity can help students process information more effectively.

In addition to video-based Geography Challenges, TCI will be incorporating more educational videos in their middle school curriculum programs to capture students’ attention and get them excited about learning. One upcoming feature to the History Alive! programs is an interactive video activity that supplements a lesson.

“As Video Activities are developed, we’re hearing excited reactions from customers,” Ifurung shared. “With short videos, followed by meaningful interactions, students will gain the knowledge they need in a way that catches their attention and solidifies their understanding of the content.”

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