50 classroom activities for Middle School

Posted by Melinda Kolk on Jul 16, 2023 6:42:44 AM

Using a device to fill out a digital worksheet isn’t any more compelling than using a pencil to fill out a paper version. Encourage students to show what they know and capitalize on their interest in technology by creating digital projects on classroom topics using media formats that abound in the world around them.

This blog shares ideas for digital projects students can create in Wixie to meet standards and learning goals in middle school, whether students are learning at school or at home. The blog is divided into sections for:

• Language Arts
• Math
• Science
• Social Studies
• Arts & SEL

Each idea includes a sample and a text link to open a template you can assign as a teacher, or use as a student, immediately. The end of each subject area section also includes two products students can create with ideas for implementing that product in multiple areas.

Language Arts

Wixie engages middle school students in reading comprehension and provides authentic opportunities for listening, speaking and writing in narrative, informational and argument form.

1. Design a new book cover

Have students create a new cover design for a book they are reading to demonstrate comprehension and explore character, plot, setting, symbolism, and conflict. (template)

You can find a full lesson plan for this idea on Creative Educator.

2. Create a Character Coat of Arms

A coat of arms is a symbolic representation of a family’s identity and values. Have students create a coat of arms for a book character as a fun way to showcase their comprehension of the character's traits. 

Search "coat of arms" in Wixie to open a template that makes it easy to fill with colors, add images, and write a motto. (template)

Explore a Character Coat of Arms lesson plan

3. Create a character scrapbook

Ask students to demonstrate knowledge about a character's physical traits, feelings, experiences, and actions by creating a digital scrapbook for them. Students can include images of important events, diary entries, objects important to the character, letters from a friend, and more. (template)

Explore a Character Scrapbook lesson plan

4. Create a Book Trailer

Much like the movie trailers students are familiar with, ask students to create a short, fast-paced book trailer that shares information about characters and events in a way that would motivate others to read the book.

Share the book trailers with the rest of the class or play them on the morning announcements to encourage others to read the books.

Explore a Book Trailer lesson plan

5. Visual Poetry

Blackout Poems

To write a blackout poem, the author covers up words on a page of text until the leftover words form a poem. Search "blackout" in Wixie to find templates containing a page of text from Tom Sawyer (template), Shakespeare (template), Lewis Carroll (template), and more. 

  wixie-sample-blackout1

Students should read the text and circle words they find interesting, then read them in order to listen to the resulting poem. Circle additional words to fill out the idea and blackout (or pink-out, as the case may be) the rest of the words and add additional painted decoration.

Video Poetry

Poetry's purposeful word choice encourages close, careful reading. Have students create digital storytelling versions of text poems to demonstrate their comprehension of the author’s word choice and intent.

Ask students to open a new blank project and type a poem from their favorite poet or one they have written, adding stanzas to each page. Students can add illustrations and record themselves reading it.

You can find a full lesson plan for this idea on Creative Educator.

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6. Modernize a Myth or Legend

Rather than merely retelling stories, ask students to adapt, extend, or create new versions of stories they are reading. Students can modernize an ancient myth to make it more relevant to their lives today, comparing similarities and differences along the way. (template)

7. Creative Vocabulary Building

The ability to combine text, images, and voice narration makes Wixie an ideal tool for building vocabulary creatively. Use Frayer diagrams, trading cards, and visual vocabulary to cement new terminology. 

More ideas for building vocabulary in Wixie

8. Publish a personification story

Have students personify an object, use Wixie to write and illustrate a story about it, and publish their work as an eBook!

Students should use the object‘s feelings they brainstormed to develop the conflict that will drive their story and begin writing. You can scaffold their work further by identifying character traits, determining setting, and codifying the plot diagram or at a minimum the beginning, middle, and end.

Explore a Personification Stories lesson plan

9. Product: Fictitious Interviews

Creating a digital story in the form of an interview helps you engage students in writing and makes work with informational text come alive. Ask students to craft fictitious interviews between characters in a novel they are reading to demonstrate comprehension of the traits and behaviors. (template)

Fictitious interviews are great ways to summarize and deepen comprehension for informational texts as well, making them perfect for science and social studies classrooms. For example, you can ask students to interview a figure from history, an animal, or even an artifact.

More ideas for conducting interviews

10. Product: Wanted posters

Creating a Wanted poster is a great way to get students thinking about the traits, experiences, and motivations of the characters in stories they are reading.

It is often the antagonist that makes a story interesting or gives a plot direction. Have students create wanted posters for villains in the stories they are reading to evaluate comprehension and help them consider how they might craft a villain to add impact to their own writing. (template)

wx-wanted-villian

Creating Wanted posters can also help students clarify their thinking about definitions related to math, atomic elements and molecules, and figures from history.

Math

Wixie provides a platform for middle school students to apply mathematical thinking and engage in standards of mathematical practice as they practice procedures, create visual models, and solve problems.

11. Work with Ratio and Rate

Use word problems (ratio and rate) to give students a sense of the ways that ratio and rate connect to the world around them. (speed-specific word problems).

Ask students to extend their understanding by writing their own ratio and rate word problem and challenging their peers to solve it using a double-number line. (template)

12. Putt Putt Polygons

Measuring perimeter and area of polygons requires knowing and applying formulas like the Pythagorean Theorem. Give students a fun context for practicing by asking them to design a hole for miniature golf! (template)

 

13. Expressions and Equations

Wixie includes a folder of math backgrounds students can use to represent expressions, equations, and data. Combine these with the paint tools and virtual manipulatives like algebra tiles to get students playing with numbers for deeper understanding.

wixie-templates-math-5th

To find these backgrounds, log in to Wixie and open the Templates folder in the list on the left. Open the Math folder, open the Templates folder and browse to find the grid, plot, or mat you want to use.

14. Design a Dream Home

Ratio and rate also applies to scale in architectural drawings. Even if they don't want to be an architect, most students would love to dream up a bedroom, tiny house, or even mansion design. Have students use a grid (template) to create architectural designs to scale.

 

15. Play with Probability

You can teach students the rule of probability, but the understanding cements better when they come up with the mathematical rules on their own.

Wixie includes Magic Stickers in its widgets area that let you add interactive stickers that change with each click. Have students calculate experimental probability by using a specific magic sticker, such as dice or spinners, to do a task 40 times. Have students tally their results and use the data to calculate the experimental probability.

wixie-widget-spinners

After establishing experimental probability, challenge students to come up with the theoretical probability for each color in the spinner with 1 green, 2 blue, and 3 yellow spots.

16. Collect, analyze, and showcase data

Using data to make predictions, analyze and communicate information is becoming an essential skill for future success. While there are other steps in the data science process, students need to know how to collect and display data in ways that make it easy to visualize and understand.

Wixie makes this process easy with its design tools and templates, whether students are creating bar graphs (categorical), histograms (numerical), or other data displays.

17. Explore Geometric Transformations Through Tessellations

Tessellations are geometric patterns that repeat forever with no gaps or overlaps. Squares can tessellate easily. The word tessellate comes from the Greek word tesseres, which means four.

CE-Halloween-Tessellation-1-1
Inspire students with the work of M.C. Escher or Islamic tiling, and then have them create their own rotation or reflection tessellations. (template)

Explore a Tessellation lesson plan

18. Work with the Coordinate Plane

From simply plotting coordinates, to graphing slope to using equations to show geometric transformation in each quadrant, there are so many possibilities for this mathematical tool. (template)

19. Product: Explainer Video

What can your students teach others? Procedural writing is an excellent way for students to become experts in a topic and feel confident about their ability to share the information with others. This process of deconstructing and reorganizing information helps students cement concepts and provides an opportunity for you to pinpoint misconceptions.

So, whether students are sharing content or a process they struggled to understand, or something they are passionate about, a how-to assignment is the perfect task to cement learning and inspire others. 

Assign this multi-page template to students. You can also search "procedure" or "presentation" in Wixie to find other templates you can use. 

20. Product: Infographics

Have students research information, conduct surveys, or collect data on a topic. Then, students can create charts and graphs, analyze the information, and develop an infographic to display their findings.  

2018 survey infographic-1

Students can find a variety of infographic designs by going to Templates > Infographics. 

Explore a Creating infographics lesson plan

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Give these activities a try with your students for free for 90 days.

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Science

Students can use Wixie's tools to label and explain scientific understandings for Life, Physical, Earth and Space and Engineering concepts.

21. Body Systems Brochure

Ask students to create a brochure (template) to share information about each body system:

• explaining the various parts of each system, 
• delving into their specific functions or purposes, and
• illuminating how they intricately interact with other systems within the human body. 

22. Cell Function Similes

Evaluate student understanding of animal cells by asking them to compare how various cell parts, including the nucleus, cell wall, cell membrane, chloroplast, and mitochondria, function like elements on a farm. (template)

By illustrating these comparisons, students not only gain a deeper understanding of cellular structures and their functions but also develop their ability to make meaningful connections between seemingly unrelated concepts.

23. Model Chemical Reactions and Scientific Processes

Actively engage students in scientific exploration by creating simulations and visual representations that model chemical reactions and scientific processes.

Wixie-sample-8th-grade-science-digestion

By encouraging them to create visual representations, students can deepen their understanding of complex concepts. (template)

24. Connect with Experts

Students can create expert interview videos that delve into scientific concepts and discoveries. By conducting interviews with scientists or experts in the field, students can explore complex ideas and present their findings in an engaging and accessible format; fostering a deeper understanding of science among their peers. (template)

wixie-template-science-video

You can find a variety of interview templates in Templates > Video. 

25. Write Informational Texts

Students have the opportunity to create informational science books enabling them to share their learning with others. Through these books, students can convey their understanding of various concepts.

Students can use this book template to write about the role of gravity, and always get started with a blank book template as well. 

26. Terminology Journals

Students can use Wixie to journal new science terminology. For instance, in this template, students define each form of energy (potential, kinetic, and thermal) and add 3 visuals for each to show details about that form of energy.

There are many templates for explicitly teaching vocabulary. For more vocabulary ideas, browse Templates > Vocabulary. 

27. Design Cycle Animations

Students can showcase their understanding of cycles by creating animations. They can visually depict various cycles such as the water cycle, seasons cycle (template), life cycles, or geological cycles, illustrating the stages and processes involved. 

Animating in Wixie

28. Model Geologic Processes

Have students create models to explain how geological processes, such as those that formed the Chocolate Hills in Bohol, Philippines, have influenced the creation of these unique natural wonders. (template)

fault

Explore 22 more ideas for Earth Science

29. Product: Comics

Comics and cartoons are a great way to engage students in the stories they are reading, the information they are researching, and the ideas they are exploring in science. For example, in the Decomposer Comic activity (template), students showcase how mushrooms, slugs, snails, and worms play essential roles in the decomposition process, while deepening their understanding of the role these organisms play in maintaining ecosystem balance.

Creating comics is a great way to get students to summarize math concepts, share historical information and practice both narrative and informational writing.

Explore additional ideas and lesson plans for creating comics

30. Product: public service announcement

Students in middle school are starting to have the capabilities and passions to change the world. Students can use Wixie to combine images with voice narration and video to raise awareness, inform, and change behavior.

When developing a public service announcement (PSA), students have a chance to practice and apply persuasive writing skills in a real-world, authentic context. A short PSA targeted at a particular audience also encourages students to focus on writing organization, as well as voice and word choice.

Explore a Don't Let the Earth Down lesson plan

Social Studies

Wixie engages middle school students in deep thinking about history and community, helping to develop citizens who have powerful inquiry and critical thinking skills.

31. Biographies

Using a digital storytelling approach to biographies helps prevent their writing from becoming a list of unrelated facts. Having students combine their research results with imagery, sound, and other media can help them better combine aspects of narrative and informational writing for a more compelling script.

Biographies aren’t always books either. There are even entire cable television channels devoted to biographies. Consider having your students create video biographies too.

Explore a Video Biography lesson plan

32. Historical Journal

To help students think deeply about how events, circumstances, culture, and leaders in the past affect the lives of human beings, ask students to create a series of fictional journal entries that indicate how events in the past might have affected the life and perspective of a specific person living during that time. (template)

Explore a Historical Journal lesson plan

33. Make a Map

Have students use paint tools and text labels to create maps to show the geographic features, regions, and/or economy of an area, country, or civilization. 

34. Produce the News

Our students have grown up watching shows, but not necessarily the news. Challenge your students to come up with a news report they would actually want to watch based on the content they are learning.

Writing a news report requires students to organize and summarize information and use new vocabulary and terminology in context. (template)

Explore a News Broadcast lesson plan

35. Interview a Community Leader

Ask students to interview a community member to expand their knowledge and experience, as well as encourage listening, curiosity, and empathy skills.

Encourage students to change the order of questions or the order of the answers shared so that the story “unfolds a lesson learned.” In other words, what is the moral of this person’s story, or what can it teach the rest of us? (template)

36. Explore the Issues

Students in middle school are idealistic and often passionate about current issues. While they may simply want to proclaim their ideas on a billboard, ask them to both express opinions and back up those opinions with claims and evidence.

37. Develop a Virtual Museum

Have students design an online museum, displaying artifacts and stories to engage others in the heritage of their community or a specific region. (template)

Explore a Virtual Museum lesson plan

38. Create tourism materials to promote a geographic location

To help students better understand the unique features of a place, have them use Wixie to develop materials for a virtual tourism trade show where student promote and pitch that location to attract visitors. (template)

You can find a full lesson plan for this idea on Creative Educator

39. Product: Newspaper/Newsletter/Brochure

Have students create a newsletter or newspaper to show what they have learned about the events, politics, and culture of a different time in history. (template)

wixie-sample-newsletter-american-revolution

Developing newsletters can also help students better understand the perspectives of those in different times and cultures, by asking them to empathize and write from a specific perspective. Students can also develop newsletters on breakthroughs in science or from a location in a book they are reading.

Explore a Day in the Life lesson plan 

40. Product: Postcards

After learning something new, have students tell someone else using a postcard! They could write a postcard from:

Wixie includes several templates (1- or 2-page) you can use to get started. Simply log in to Wixie and search "postcard" to find them. (template)

 

Arts and Social-Emotional Learning

Wixie provides a canvas for students to set goals, explore emotions, and express themselves through art and music.

41. Set smart goals 

 Search "goal" in Wixie to find a range of templates, including one to help students set a SMART goal (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely). (template)

Reach your goal

 

42. Design a Vision Board

A vision board provides inspiration and motivation to reach dreams and goals. Students can choose a goal and add pictures of what they think achieving them looks and feels like. (template)

43. Create an Arcimboldo-inspired self-portrait

Giuseppe Arcimboldo is an Italian Renaissance painter known for his portraits of people that use objects like fruit and books. Challenge students to create Arcimboldo-style self-portraits by combining clip art images. (template)

wixie-sample-arcimboldo-portrait  

Explore an Arcimboldo-Inspired Self-Portraits lesson plan

44. Play Music

While you may not be teaching music theory, expressing one's feelings and emotions through music is both fun and therapeutic. You can try the online keyboard below or give students options like:

• a xylophone
a piano
• percussion tubes

45. Compose a melody

Wixie includes a library of music notation students can use to compose their own music. Search using keyword compose to find a simple template with notes and rests already included and with a notation library already attached to the Image button. (template)

Have students record themselves singing their melody or playing their compositions on a recorder or keyboard.

46. Create surrealist art

Inform students about surrealism. You might inspire them by reading a book like Pish, Posh, Hieronymous Bosch. Have students use Wixie's symmetry paint options to create bizarre creatures juxtaposed around a normal self-portrait. Then, have them write a poem about the way the surrealism feels.

sample-surreal-symmetry

Explore a Surreal Symmetry lesson plan

47. Explore Collaboration Skills

In All in the Same Boat by Wilkie Martin, a greedy rat is shown how no one wins when success is achieved at the expense of others. Ask students to complete the Team Member ID Card to let future team members know a bit about themselves as a person, as well as a teammate. (template)

wixie-sample-team-ID

48. Healthy Risk-Taking

Assign the Wixie Comfort and Stretch Zone Activity to have students reflect on activities and skills they are already comfortable with and identify areas where they feel safe to stretch into new skills. (template)

49. Make a playlist for your future

Students likely already have playlists for their favorite songs and many of them have playlists for different moods. Use this as a jumping off point to ask them to "audiolize" what their future sounds like by creating a playlist. (template)

Students can add songs they know or create new artists and bands and write descriptions for them.

50. Affirmations

Confidence drops for many students in middle school, so ask students to record video and add sticky notes to state things they are good at to develop affirmations they can return to again and again. (template)

Try these ideas with Wixie

Give these activities a try with your students for free for 90 days.

Get started for free

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