project, Social studies, Student-centered

Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse – A Lesson in Land Regions for Social Studies

This art from Jordan Crane hangs in my living room

I have been obsessed with zombies for a long time, not that I can watch many movies with them in it because I am wimp who gets nightmares, but books, art, and the whole concept has fascinated me for many years.   This year as I try to get my students invested in social studies and the study of the United States history we always start with land regions, so what better way than to get them researching these with the help of a zombie apocalypse?

While this is meant to be a hook, it is not meant to be a study of zombies, but rather a new way to get to know a certain land region.  Students must prepare a presentation to the citizens of their land region suggesting two possible safe places for them to go.  Before they can present they therefore have to research major cities, climate, elevations, major transportation routes, main bodies of water and anything else that can aid them in defending their citizens and riding out the attack.  I will also ask the students what else they should be researching and adding to their presentation.  Because this is our first presentation of the year I want to see which tools they have and also how they research.  Students will pick partners and then I will pair up the partnerships, this way I can also study the group dynamics.

I made sure to mention this project at back to school night to hopefully ensure parents understand the educational value behind it.  I am looking forward to seeing how the students react and will start of by showing David Hunt’s video as an introduction.  To see the student hand out (that will probably change before I am happy with it) please click here.  As always, feel free to borrow this idea, I did not invent it , I just tweaked it to fit my needs.

Update:  I cannot tell you how wonderful this project has been in my classroom.  The students have been motivated, engaged, and driven by their curiosity.  In fact, to see one student’s take on it, read her blog post.  I also created two rubrics with the help of Rubistar for the project, here is the self evaluation one and here is the presentation rubric.

Here is a video of an actual presentation by the Southeast Region group.

14 thoughts on “Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse – A Lesson in Land Regions for Social Studies”

  1. This is such a cool idea! My kids are really going to get into this with our Canadian regions. Thanks for passing it on.

  2. Thanks so much for this! Introduced it today by complaining of not feeling well and then surprised them by launching into full zombie mode. They loved it and are very excited for the assignment.

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