Social Studies and Formative...other than multiple choice or essay?

Hi! What are some ways you use Formative in Social Studies other than for multiple choice items or regular, old essay questions? Looking for some ideas…


I teach science, but one of the things I like to do is “show your work” adding a background image for them to label or explain. In SS, you could perhaps add some historical pictures with white speech bubbles so that students can type what the figures are saying, or some other sort of annotating.

You could also embed a flipgrid and use some of the ideas discussed in this article
Using Flipgrid in the Highschool U.S. History class


Thank you so much for the suggestion! I love the idea of the “speaking” background image and I LOVE Flipgrid!


You could also use it for exit slips relating to your topic for the day. I use it in science for that. Furthermore, you can post historical pictures in Formative and have students respond to a variety of items relating to the image(s).


You could use it to have the students view a primary and a secondary source about the same subject and have them respond to the differences in perspectives offered by the documents.

This might be ideal since both documents would be in the same place… you could also embed a video and have them respond to a third perspective.


I like the categorize option. You could have students sort federalist and anti federalist ideas and or people, civil war battles by winning side, key terms by theme…just a few ideas.

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Hey Angela,

I’ve used formative in U.S. history, World Geography, and Government. I find there are a number of “new” ways to use formative.

For one, uploading blank maps and having them fill them in using the “show your work” feature is great. You can also have them identify items in pictures with that feature. You might upload a pdf of a primary source document with the “upload and transform” feature, then ask general (or specific) questions.

I use formative for all my Tests and Quizzes now because of the ease of grading. But I also LOVE how I can ask so many different kinds of questions so the kids don’t just “Christmas Tree” their tests. For instance, (and I don’t know if you have the paid version or not) but using the sequence question type is fantastic for having them put historical events in order. The categorization is great for matching, and because you can use categories more than once, it can be used in situations where you’ve created Venn diagrams.

You can also create questions where the answer is a picture. This is great for engaging a different kind of intelligence.

PM me if you want other ideas!


Essays can still be a very effective way of teaching. There are two sides to it: creative and technical. I still write many essays myself, sometimes I read essay writing service reviews here, it’s pretty useful and if I don’t have enough time to do a good job I get help from a team of professionals there.