History Lesson Starters

Lesson starters set the tone for the teaching and learning process. At the beginning, standards should be set to get students ready for learning. Starters are an effective approach to get students focused on learning, to make them think and, of course, to hook them into the lesson. This file offers a growing list of suggestions for KS3 history lesson starters

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This Day in History

The teacher will assign students with researching a historic event that happened on the assigned day. The student will stand in front of the class sharing their research, while the teacher can utilise the event to expand on history or, if possible link, it to the lesson for that day. Other students are encouraged to express their thoughts. The activity should not be longer than 3-5 minutes.

Flash a Picture

For two minutes, display a picture for students to examine then ask them for feedback about it. The teacher can also ask volunteers to write keywords on the board to be used in the discussion.

Bingo!

The teacher provides bingo sheets of keywords related to the lesson. While the teacher reads the definition of each keyword, students will mark their bingo sheets with definition matches. The first student to get a line (horizontal, vertical, or diagonal) calls ‘Bingo!’ and wins.

Odd One Out

Students are provided with 3 to 4 keywords/places/people, etc. They need to identify which one does not belong to the group and the reason why. Afterwards, they have to suggest another word to be added as a replacement for the odd one out.

Guess Who?/Guess What?

The teacher will give clues about key people, events, places etc. regarding the topic. The students will guess the answer.

Do you Remember?

The teacher will ask students to write down the main points they remember from the previous lesson. This activity can be done in pairs or in groups. The aim is to review content from the previous lesson and link it to the next topic.

Brainstorming

As a prerequisite, the teacher should have assigned a research homework activity prior to the meeting.  At the beginning of the lesson, the teacher will draw a spider diagram on the board to be filled in with key terms/main ideas by the students based on their homework. By the end of the discussion, get back on the spider diagram and see which ideas are justified or needs more explanation.

Inferencing

Start the discussion with a picture or statement related to the topic. Ask the students for their own interpretation of the source. The teacher could then begin with the lesson based on the closest inference.

In Chronology

Like a quiz show, ask for volunteers to fill in two opposing factions who would arrange cards (with events) in chronological order. The winning team gets a prize or additional points in the actual assessment after the lesson.

Through Maps

The teacher will display a map on a large screen with clues and ask the students to figure out the topic of the day. The students are also expected to share their schema of the lesson.

Puzzle Time!

The teacher will provide at least 4 pictures related to the topic of the day and task the students with describing each picture before guessing what the lesson is all about.

Versus!

The teacher will post two images of opposing factions and ask the students who would win the fight and why based on their schema. Prior to this activity, homework should be given by the teacher.

Mystery Box

Using a box filled with questions, the teacher will ask volunteers to pick a strip of paper and answer the question provided. Each question will lead the students to unbox the lesson for the day.

Acrostic

The teacher will write the name of a significant person related to the lesson and let the students fill in each letter with keywords that could describe that person or the lesson in general. During or at the end of the lesson, the class could check the words they compiled.

Family Feud

Using a slide presentation, the teacher will conduct a Family Feud-like game after grouping the class. A question related to the lesson will be posted for the members of a group who buzz first until the list is complete. If the group answers 3 incorrectly, the opposing team will have the chance to answer and steal the points.

Stand or Seat!

The teacher will give the class statements that may be included during the actual discussion of the lesson. Students who think that the statement is true will stand up, while those who think otherwise will remain seated. Statements should be answered after the discussion, so that students can reflect on their initial answer.