3 Ways REACH Can Help Engage Your Students in the Classroom

by Davion Hutchinson, IEEE REACH Program Specialist
April 30, 2021

We understand keeping your students engaged in history can be a challenge. That is why IEEE developed REACH – to provide you with free educational resources that help your students explore the complex relationships that technologies have with society, viewed through the lens of history. We’ve packaged the information into predefined inquiry units – with supporting information and hands-on activities – that will keep your students engaged and make it simple to integrate into your lesson plans. You can use the whole unit or pick and choose the components that work best for you.

We’ve also ensured that our inquiry units support the latest standards and practices in the following areas: 

  • C3 Historical Thinking Standards
  • Common Core Content Standards
  • AP World History Historical Thinking Skills and Reasoning Processes

Let’s dive in…

1. Inquiry Units

Our inquiry units highlight the history of technology and provide teachers with the resources needed to teach the lesson plan. Within the inquiry unit, compelling and supporting questions are listed for students to answer, challenging them to think about how the technology has evolved in response to historical events and has been used to impact all aspects of human history. We provide a description of the inquiry unit as well as background information on the topic to ensure you’re up to speed on the topic when teaching your lesson.

With each inquiry unit, teachers will be provided with featured sources and formative performance tasks to help them prepare for the lesson, all within a downloadable pdf. Videos and hands-on activities are also included in the inquiry unit, which will make for an engaging and valuable educational experience for students. The videos are fully downloadable as well.

Check out this video of history teachers Brian Sullivan and James Somma, as they implement the Early Maritime Navigation inquiry unit in the classroom.

2. Hands-On Activities

Hands-on experiences stimulate and engage students to want to learn more. Our hands-on activities provide teachers with a materials list, directions, images, worksheets, and when necessary, an instructional PowerPoint for an engaging lesson. Your students will be able to improve collaboration skills and gain a deeper understanding of the social context of the technology highlighted in the inquiry unit. We provide you with everything you need (except the materials, which are simple, inexpensive, and easy-to-find in local stores or online) making it easier for you to focus on your lesson plan.

Our hands-on activities have proven to be engaging for many students. They allow them to discuss with each other the challenges they face when working with the activity. Laurie Bisconti, an 8th-grade history teacher from Heritage Middle School in Livingston, NJ shares her experience using the Triremes hands-on activity, from the Triremes Inquiry Unit and how effective it was in getting her students to interact with the curriculum.

3. Videos

What better medium to captivate students in your lesson than with video? Video consumption has increased over the years and has become a favorite medium for Gen Z. There’s no doubt in our minds this will probably be a favorite resource among your students in the classroom (or at home in an inverted classroom approach). Our videos are short, easily accessible, cover various topics, and often include artifacts. They feature leading experts discussing the interaction of technology and history. You can think of them as historical shorts!

Check out this short video about Elisha Otis and the invention of elevators which is part of our Skyscrapers inquiry unit.

The multimedia resources are available to download or stream with the click of a button on our website.

Try out these three ideas in the classroom and let us know if they help you engage your students in conversations around history, society, and technology. We welcome your feedback to help us continuously improve our lesson plans! You may email us at reach@ieee.org with your questions, comments, or suggestions.

For more on our inquiry units, you can click here and start implementing them into your lesson plans today!