What Does it Take to be a Good Citizen? Social Studies Activities for Differentiated Learning

Social Studies Activities for the Inclusive Classroom

Planning inclusion lessons for the social studies curriculum are fun because they allow for a lot of social integration within the classroom. This lesson plan focuses on good citizenship and working as a team.

Group 1: General Education students

Group 2: Students with access needs (i.e. students who receive the same curricular content, but receive accommodations in how information is presented or skills are evaluated due to a learning difficulty.)

Group 3: Students with curricular content adjustments.

Lesson 1 Objectives:

  • Students will interact amongst themselves to portray understanding of the characteristics of a good citizen.
  • Students will demonstrate understanding showing the effects and benefits of being a good citizen.


  • Cause and Effect sheets
  • Pencils
  • Assessments

Lesson Procedure:

1. As a class discuss the characteristics of a good citizen. Write the characteristics on the board so students can reference these traits for the activity. Split the class into groups (making sure that a variety of skills and difficulties are represented in each group. Assign each group three characteristics and have the groups portray their characteristics in some way (i.e. written sentences, a poster, creating a role play, etc.). Give the groups time to plan and time to present their assigned characteristics. Each person in the group must participate in some way.

2. Differentiated instruction: Cause and effect sheets. Have students fold a white sheet of paper in half. One half is for the characteristic of a good citizen (i.e. Take care of the environment) and the other half is for the effect of being a good citizen (i.e. Our planet will be healthy).

  • Group 1: This group will be required to choose a characteristic from the board, write it on their sheet, and come up with the effect or benefit that characteristic has on society. Ask them to write and color a small picture.
  • Group 2: This group will receive a sheet of paper that has the characteristic already written down on one half. They must imagine the effects of that characteristic and write it or dictate it to be written by the teacher. Draw a picture.
  • Group 3: This group will receive a paper that already has the characteristic and benefit of being a good citizen written on their paper. Have them trace the words and draw a picture about the characteristic that demonstrates understanding.


  • Group 1 Format: Three part short answers (i.e. Name three characteristics of a good citizen. _________________________________________________________________________).
  • Group 2 Format: Three part short answers with numbered answer lines so students are reminded to write three reasons (i.e. Name three characteristics of a good citizen. 1. _________, 2.____________, 3.____________.)
  • Group 3 Format: Simple Multiple Choice. (i.e. Which of the following is a characteristic of a good citizen? A. Takes care of the environment, B. Throws trash on the ground, C. Plays baseball).

As always, each plan can be tailored to specific student needs. Always make sure that each assessment evaluates student knowledge and understanding of each topic!

This post is part of the series: Differentiated Instruction for an Inclusive Classroom

Many teachers now experience classrooms with students of all abilities. This series includes activities for language arts, social studies, science and math.
  1. Differentiated Instruction for an Inclusive Classroom: Language Arts
  2. Working with Fractions in a Centers-Based Environment
  3. Differentiated Instruction for an Inclusive Classroom: Social Studies
  4. Tracking the Growth of a Plant: Science Activity for Inclusive Classrooms