Gallery Walk Questions for Social Studies

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Gallery walks can be a great way to get students excited about learning and asking questions. This lesson offers gallery walk ideas that you can use for teaching social studies.

Teaching With Gallery Walks

Are you a social studies teacher looking for ways to innovate in your classroom? Maybe you want to get students more engaged in discussions or to challenge them to push critical thinking to new levels.

One instructional strategy that benefits many students is the gallery walk. In a gallery walk, you post questions or prompts in different places around your room. Students circulate, either alone or in small groups, and try to answer the questions, thinking as deeply as they can while working. Then, you can bring students back together to debrief what they learned or thought about.

Gallery walks can also be a wonderful way to showcase students' own work. If you hang work samples around the classroom with different questions attached to them, students will be able to thoughtfully critique one another and learn from one another's efforts.

The key to a successful gallery walk is having good questions available for students to work with. The questions in this lesson will help you facilitate a strong social studies gallery walk.

General Critical Thinking Questions

This section offers general questions that you can post for gallery walks in your social studies class. These questions do not require any other materials but you will want to modify them to sync up with the content area your students are studying.

  • What is the relationship between geography and culture in the time period or region you are studying? Be as specific as possible.
  • What key historical figures do you think made a big difference in the time period or region you are studying? Why?
  • What is the one event you hope to learn more in relation to what you are studying in social studies?
  • How are people's lives influenced by new inventions or other changes in science and technology? What specific examples can you come up with?
  • How do you think that learning about history influences the way you live your life?
  • What is different about economics in the region or time period you are studying from in the contemporary society where you live?
  • What do you think makes someone a strong government leader? Rely on examples from the region or time period you are studying.

Primary Source Document Questions

Often, social studies is taught by having students look at and work with primary sources. This section offers questions that will help your students think deeply about primary source documents of different types.

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