End-of-year Busy Work: 6 Fun Resources

If you are a staunch believer that no time in the classroom can ever be wasted then this is not the blog for you.

If you are, however, a realist and understand that many times at the end of the year, we are all just hanging on till the end, then read on.

I see the end of the year as a fantastic time to try new things. Fun things. Games. Projects. Things that take time. Things that might fail. Things that may not achieve the learning goals but I want to try anyway. You may just stumble onto something wonderful that will actually work during the normal school year.

Here are 6 busy work resources in my TpT store that will help you get to the coveted last day of school.

1.Fun History & Math Games

The name of the resource is exactly that. A fun way to incorporate math skills with your history class. This resource is Euro-history-centric. Students will 100% need access to the internet to look up answers but essentially, students are given a prompt that will lead them to a number. That number is followed by a mathematical sign and another prompt.

We are not worried about the order of operations here. No shenanigans. No math tomfoolery. Just this number added with that number divided by this number multiplied by that number.

I’d love to say the answers lead to some magical or mythical number to do with one of the prompts but they don’t. This was just a fun resource to make in order to do something different in class. Busy work in the truest sense.

All answers are whole numbers.

2. Fun History Writing Prompts

Where else will you get prompts that ask the important questions like, “How could you tell your Model T from your neighbor’s Model T?” Or like any real historian, “Which time period would you most want to visit?”

How about comparing a picture of a Macaroni to Charles II? Both are fantastic looks. But who wore their look best?

Not only are these writing prompts fun they could lead to some amazing historical thinking. The Model T question for example is about the concept of individualism and mass production. Question the whole class and discuss rather than write. Get your students talking about history in a fun way and hear the information they come up with when they don’t think learning is happening.

Read my blog about this resource here.

3. Build-a-museum: Historical Artifact Activity

Focus on historical artifacts and build a history museum in the final weeks of school. Students have the option of bringing in actual artifacts or representations (if appropriate) or they can print a picture of the artifact.

This project-based learning opportunity will require the internet. If students can’t access it in the classroom then schedule some time in your school computer lab or library. The internet is required for more in-depth research of their chosen artifacts. The textbook will not have all of the information necessary.

This resource comes with a display page to be paired with the artifact or image. This page explains the artifact and its importance on civilization. There are also research pages to help students collect the research and to focus their thoughts.

This resource is available for grades 1 – 4, 5 – 8, and 9 – 12. Google Classroom™ versions are also available. Look for the link in the descriptions when you click the grade you want above.

For grades 9 – 12, you can challenge your students to create themed museums. Students working alone, in pairs, or in a group can have a separate theme from their neighbor’s museum or you can create a large class museum and theme it. It is up to you.

4. Tournament of Technology or Top 25 Inventions/Discoveries

Tournament of Technology was created first but then the pandemic began and I tweaked it for a fun Google Classroom™ activity. They are slightly different but essentially the same.

Students will be presented with inventions and discoveries throughout world history and they have to rank them (top 25) or debate which of a pair was more important with the winner entering the new bracket (tournament).

I wanted to create a learning opportunity that got students talking and perhaps even debating. Which had more of an impact on civilization: the internal combustion engine (cars) or the internet? In the right classroom, this could lead to some heated discussion.

If you choose Top 25, you can assign it to each student or you could try to complete just one as a whole class.

Choosing tournament style, students can still work individually. Just assign students to individual brackets. As a whole group, you could debate each one together too. The possibilities are endless!

5. Who is it? World History Bundle

Play a person guessing game with people from world history. This resource includes cuttable prompts for the classic game, new game size, or you can create a folder game.

It’s definitely more fun to have a bunch of the games for students to use but unless you can find a bunch in yard sales the cost can be prohibitive for teachers. The folder game is a good way to save money. Plus they will store nicely in a file cabinet for next year.

This is bundled resource but you could choose to purchase each separately if you wish. World history 1 is the ancient world to c. 1500. World history 2 is c. 1500 – 20th century.

The bundle includes six different name combinations. Each combination is entirely different from the others so you get a ton of names.

The name combinations were not just thrown together though. Effort was made to ensure that each combination included multiple women and was not European-centric. It is world history after all.

6. Teaching with Pit

Pit is a really fun card game that I grew up playing. You try to corner the market by trading with players. Plus there is a bell. The trading bell is iconic on Wall Street and it is fun to ring in the game. (It could also be a teacher’s nightmare so you can go ahead and buy the game without the bell and save a few bucks.)

You will need to buy a few games from an authorized marketplace to use this resource as it doesn’t include the game.

Your students will learn about trading and commodities, negotiation, and strategy. There are research pages for students to learn more about the commodities being traded themselves. If you choose to complete the research pages this resource is Common Core-aligned.

But this resource is fun. Students get to play the game. It will be loud. It should be. Trading on Wall Street is loud. Students will be learning a tiny bit about economics and maybe even remembering some of their lessons from the year: tulip mania, joint-stock companies, Great Depression. This is a way to help them understand and “do” what they learned.

Read my blog about this resource here.

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