If you already had a chance to read my blog posts about organizing thematic units and science materials then you pretty much have the social studies thing covered because those same tips apply here.
However, I wanted to add a few more details that are social studies specific.

Regardless of your grade level, I’m sure geography and map skills come into play somewhere in your curriculum. Therefore, you most likely possess maps and a globe. My recommendation is that you don’t actually store these items, but instead make them accessible to the students at all times. Different geographical locations come up throughout children’s literature so it will be handy to have the ability to point out where that is on a map.

If you don’t already own a globe and want to save on space, I suggest investing in an Inflatable Globe . It takes up very little space and can be use for lots of fun activities.

Have a map serve double duty by using it to cover open shelving. This will eliminate visual clutter by hiding your storage and will also provide students with an easy to view resource. You could also hang a map off the edge of a table to create hidden storage underneath.

As I’ve mentioned before, let the library be your cost and storage-saving friend. Borrowing titles that relate to your current topic will provide you with lots of books at no cost and best of all you don’t need to store them when not in use.

Depending on what topics you teach, you may find it useful to contain the related artifacts in small boxes by topic or in one larger tub dedicated to all social studies concepts

{photo source 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 }

OK Y'all. I need your help.

As you know, I've been doing a series on how to set up your classroom and have been including all of the typical areas and centers you would find in an elementary classroom.

Well, it seems that science and social studies centers are scarce. It's hard to find resources for either and they typically tend to be combined into one area.

I realized this needs to be a goal of mine this year in my own classroom.

For the past few years, my teaching partner and I have split the responsibility of these content areas. She took on science and I tackled social studies.

If you don't read my other blog...well, you aren't missing much because I've really slacked at blogging there...but, you missed why it wasn't a bad thing that I wasn't the science teacher. You can read about my crayfish experiences there.

Anyhow, she's off to a new school and I'm now teaching science. If you have a fabulous science center or if you know of one feel free to send me a link via email or by leaving a comment and I'll update this page...and thank you profusely.

In the meantime, here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Set up an area in the classroom that enables students to explore and discover.
  • Use trays to make the materials portable.
  • Rotate the supplies seasonal, thematically or as interest continues.
  • Let the children run the center. Assign a scientist of the week and have them research a science topic they are interested in. Encourage them to gather resources to share with the class and make them available to be explored.
  • Include scientific tools: magnifying glasses, microscopes, etc.
  • Place a bin of science-themed nonfiction literature in the center.
  • The great thing about a science center is that it can be put together on the cheap: look to nature...acorns, leaves, pinecones, shells, soil, seeds, etc.
  • Display maps, globes and atlases for exploration.
  • Gather supplies for students to create their own.
  • Create task cards for students to research a topic using materials in the center.
  • Feature a different culture or geographic area each week. Again assign a student to take on this task.

For more ideas and pictures to help organize and manage your classroom, please check out my book:The Clutter-Free Guide to Classroom Organization and Management by clicking here.


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