Student Created Trading Cards

I’ve been having so much fun creating cards for my class that I thought students might have fun making them too! Here are a few examples:

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I created the project with a few concepts in mind.

First, I love the concept of Sketchnotes and since Trading Cards need to have a image, so the front of the card needed to have an image that represented the overall concept. Usually when I allow pictures on a project students google the term and cut and paste the first image that comes up. For this project I made it a requirement that the picture had to either be original or altered in someway to make it unique. I don’t have a picture, but my favorite example of this was a student using a picture of A. Mitchell Palmer and changing the color scheme to make it all Red. (Palmer led the Palmer Raids which is the prime example of the Red Scare in our standards).

Second, I wanted students making contextual and chronological connections. On the back of the cards, after giving a description of the card subject, the students had to give both an explanation of how the term fit into the era and how it connected to another card in the deck.

Third, this was a collaborative project – I called it a collaborative quest – and guild members could work together to make the deck. This worked out so much better than I had planned! Each group independently realized that they might all choose the same terms and that they were going to have to connect the cards together. Nearly all the groups figured out on their own (I helped a couple) that they could share a Google Doc and list out the terms that they wanted to examine. The group members then assigned terms to each other. The conversations about which cards connected and why were amazing!

Fourth, Autonomy and Choice were important factors in the creation of the decks. I did not assign a set number of cards, terms that needed to be defined, or the connections that needed to be made. I was pleasantly surprised at the connections being made outside of the time period we were studying. One great example was a student working on a 19th Amendment Women’s Suffrage card asking if it would be OK to create a Seneca Falls Convention card even though it occurred in 1848, well out of the Interwar Years we were studying – OF COURSE! I was amazed at the levels of connections being made and most would not have happened had I assigned specific terms. The freedom was a bit paralyzing for some students at first, but after some quick discussions on where to find terms (people, places, events, key legislation, etc.) most students realized they could dig into their notes or the state essential knowledge guide.

As always, students had the choice of other projects. Groups could also create children’s books based on the Federal Writers Project Great Depression interviews (if you are a Social Studies teacher these primary sources are highly recommended). Students could also work individually on a large number of individual missions as well.

For those interested in having students create trading cards. These are the directions I gave through my class website. The template is also below.

Create a deck of trading cards that examine the People, Places, Laws, Policies, and other important information from the 1920s, Great Depression, New Deal and pre-World War II.

  1. Download either the The Trading Card Template picture file or the Trading Card Template PDF

    1. If you use the picture file you can upload it to a Google Drawing program and add text and pictures digitally. Save the finished version as a PNG and upload all finished cards to a word document that we can then print.
    2. You may also print the PDF and complete the cards by hand.
  2. Cards should be divided roughly evenly between people, places, policy/laws, events

  3. Illustrations must be original. You may use digital illustrations but must alter them to fit your purpose.

  4. The descriptions MUST be in your own words. DO NOT cut and paste from another website.

  5. Connection to the Era means provide some context for the inclusion of that card in that era. For example, why would you include Franklin D. Roosevelt in the New Deal Era?

  6. Connection to another Card means explain how this card interacts with another card in the deck. Be creative.

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