Prepping and Planning: Social Studies

I have been trying to relax and enjoy my last few weeks of summer but as usual my minds always racing and thinking ahead. I’m always brainstorming different ways to organize my schedule, set up work tasks, or create activities – I can’t help it! I’m obsessed!

So one thing that I always struggle with fitting into my schedule is science and social studies. Between working on reading, writing, math, life skills, communication, social skills, behavior, etc. – it can be hard to find time for. I usually fit science and social studies IEP goals into our morning group work, but I would like to also work on some more thematic units as well. I try to make science and social studies goals super functional. I like using science goals related to the weather when appropriate. This is such an essential life skill that can be forgotten about. You cannot get dressed independently if you don’t know how to match your clothing choice to the weather!

Here are some functional science goal/activity ideas for weather:

  • identify temperature and weather characteristics
  • tell temperature using a thermometer
  • based on weather conditions, identify appropriate clothing options
  • based on weather conditions, identify appropriate activity options
  • match temperature to season

For social studies, I like incorporating goals for community based instruction. That way we can easily account for our minutes when we go on community field trips. Again – such an essential life skill!


So this year in addition to our functional science/social studies goals, we will be also doing thematic units. My coworker who teaches the primary autism classroom already does her science this way and it works really well. We decided to pair up and use the same science/social studies units for both of our classrooms. (If you ever have the opportunity to do this – DO IT – why double up your work load for nothing?! Then you can spend your time making much higher quality materials!)

Here are the units I’m thinking so far:

  • SeptemberGeography 
  • October: Election/Government
  • November: Map Skills
  • December: USA
  • January: Community Helpers

I finished making my first unit last week and I was lucky enough to sneak into the library my aunt works at and get it all laminated! I’m so happy how it turned out! Check it out:


16 Flashcards with definitions


Adapted Book: Hunting for a Hamburger with pictures to match: My kids love adapted books and I think this is a great way to incorporate students who are lower functioning or nonreaders. I also thought this would be a good independent activity for my students who read. This book incorporates all of the vocabulary terms in a storybook format.

13 worksheets for both my students who are both higher functioning and lower functioning. I made some fill in worksheets for my students who can read and write and matching worksheets for my other students.

Weather Bingo: Another home run in my class. We love bingo games! Bingo is great because a wide range of my students can be included in the same game. It gives students who are lower function an opportunity for structured social interaction. This bingo game has 20 boards and two types of calling cards. One calling card set is just pictures with names for vocabulary development and matching skills. The other calling card set is with definitions of the terms to work on problem solving and comprehension.

The other game I made is – I have, Who Has? I love these games too! You pass out one card to each student. One student starts reading and says, “I have beach, who has river?” Then the student who has river reads their card. This continues until the last one. This great to work on maintaining attention as well!

This whole packet is available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store – if this looks like something that would be a good fit for your classroom! I haven’t exactly decided how I will be scheduling this but I am thinking about doing something that is partially adult supervised and partially independent. I want to try to make sure to incorporate work that is appropriate for all of my students.

What types of social studies activities do you do with your students?


  1. Yes – I love Boardmaker share! I will definitely check out that book 🙂 thanks!!

    – Sasha

  2. What do you do the other four months?

  3. Topics we covered last year: geography, community helpers, election, emergencies, recycling, and economy. Sometimes we go a little over on one month or we do some seasonal activities that incorporate social studies. It ends up lasting the whole year pretty easily.

  4. This is fantastic! I just purchased your Math Centers and three levels. I have been teaching quite some time now, but was assigned this year to an Autistic Support classroom, not self contained. Brand new to me!! Exciting and overwhelming at the same time.

    Your units from last year…are they available to purchase? This can surely help get me through part of my school year!


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