Using AI in the Social Studies Classroom: ChatGPT Prompts for Social Studies Teachers

ChatGPT Prompts and Activities for Social Studies Teachers: Using AI in the Social Studies Classroom

social studies chatgpt prompts

As a middle school teacher with a PhD in innovative technologies, I’ve been fascinated by the intersection of technology and education, especially AI! Over the last several months, ChatGPT has been taking the education world by storm. I’ve been talking with colleagues about how they can use ChatGPT and Open AI in their social studies classroom. I’ve written some ChatGPT prompts and activities for social studies teachers that you can use right away in your classroom!

Using ChatGPT Prompts to Interview Historical Figures

One of the ways to use ChatGPT in the social studies classroom is with interviews. Yes, you can use ChatGPT prompts to have your students interview any historical figure.

Here’s how it works!

Create a ChatGPT Account

If you haven’t already, create a ChatGPT account. Notice the terms. If your students are under 13, they may not have an account. If they are between 13-18, they will need parent permission. I usually have the students generate their questions on paper, then we do the activity from my account as a class.

ChatGPT Prompt to Act or Answer as a Historical Figure

First, ask the AI to act as the historical figure you’re interviewing.

This is a response asking ChatGPT to act as George Washington.

Replace ChatGPT Prompts with Historical Figures and Events

Next, replace [historical figure] and [event] with the name of the historical figure and event you’re studying. For instance, if you’re studying the American Revolution, you might ask, “George Washington, what made you want to be a part of the American Revolution?”

Here’s what ChatGPT responded:

George Washington response in ChatGPT

ChatGPT prompts George Washington

Scaffold and Differentiate for Learners

If the response is too difficult for your students to understand, ask “George Washington” or the historical figure of your choice to write the response at a different reading level. (You can also ask for a higher grade level to challenge students.)

For elementary school students, the prompts are designed to be more straightforward and engaging, while the prompts for middle and high school students delve deeper into the motivations, challenges, and impacts of the historical figures and events.

Follow-Up with Additional Questions

Here’s when the learning comes in! Have your students read the response and generate additional follow-up questions. I asked ChatGPT George Washington, “What was your biggest challenge during the Revolutionary War?” Here is part of his response:

ChatGPT prompt from George Washington interview

Continue the conversation with the same or any historical figure. Use these prompts in whole group discussion, independent work, or in stations.

Beginning Historical Figure ChatGPT Prompts

Here are a few prompts to get you started.

1. [Historical figure], what made you want to be a part of [event]?

2. Can you tell me, [historical figure], what it felt like to be around during [event] and what people were saying and doing?

3. [Historical figure], did where you grew up or how you were raised play a part in what you did during [event]?

4. What was really tough for you, [historical figure], during [event] and how did you get through it?

5. [Historical figure], can you tell me why [event] was so important and how it made things different than before?

Check out all 20 elementary ChatGPT Historical Interview Prompts and 20 middle/high school ChatGPT prompts!

Historical Figures and Events

Here are some historical figures and events to use with the ChatGPT prompts.

  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Albert Einstein
  • Amelia Earhart
  • Cleopatra
  • Leonardo da Vinci
  • Marie Curie
  • Mahatma Gandhi
  • Rosa Parks
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • Malala Yousafzai
  • Muhammad Ali

These ChatGPT prompts can be used in a variety of ways in the classroom. They can serve as a warm-up activity to start the class, a tool for group discussions, or a homework assignment where students can write down the AI’s responses and their thoughts on them. The possibilities are endless, and the goal is to make learning about history more interactive, engaging, and fun.