How to Handle History
History is daunting in its depth and data. Subjects like English and mathematics have clear rules and obvious implications on our daily lives. History is filled with events, dates, and names that are far from structured or clearly connected to our day-to-day activities. The trick to studying the subject is making it digestible and enjoyable. Within its complexity is a bounty of amazing stories that shed light on how civilization has developed and where it may be headed.
There are many periods and cultures that can be focused on. If you find yourself naturally interested in Ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, or another period, start your journey with that particular era. Many historians specialize in a specific subject instead of history in general. Learning about an ancient civilization is a great way to start learning about the periods that came afterwards. This can be done through primary and secondary sources. The former includes any documents or objects from the time period. These items can be found in libraries and museums, and are the closest we can get to jumping into a time machine and actually traveling to the past. Secondary sources are any books or materials that are made using primary sources. They may not be from the era, but because they use multiple primary sources they can be a great way to dig deeper into history.
There are many games that can be used to make the many facts of history easier for your brain to digest. Hangman is a great way to help remember important names and documents. Creating your own round of Jeopardy! for the classroom can help your brain recall facts, especially if it focuses on a specific period. A common game used in English as a Second Language classrooms involves each student having a famous name taped to their back. Students walk around the room, unable to see which famous person they have been assigned, asking and answering questions from others to figure out their identity. This can be used with important individuals from any period. If the focus is instead on the importance of historical events and their relevance, write a script taking the main figures from the event and placing them in a modern vlog or online show for you and your classmates to act out. This humourous theatrical game can be a silly but helpful analysis of how people felt and reacted at the time.
At first glance, history can appear boring or overly broad to many students. Yet there are many ways to break it down into smaller chunks and make it a very fun subject to learn. In doing so, you can better understand how history gives us better insight into humanity and why the world is the way it is. Choose a time period that speaks to you, hunt down primary and secondary sources, and experiment with different games to help you study. This can lead you on a journey that takes history from being daunting to digestible, and even delightful.
Gibson, Nick. “How to Study History: 4 Tips to Become a Better Historian.” Udemy. https://blog.udemy.com/how-to-study-history/
Pak, Rosshalde. “Engaging Classroom Games for All Grades.” TeachHUB. http://www.teachhub.com/engaging-classroom-games-all-grades