Starters for A-level Sociology

Last Updated on August 25, 2020 by Karl Thompson

A few of my favourite starters for A-level Sociology Lessons:

Draw Society

While the drawing task may seem a little juvenile, it is typically quite revealing – you usually get a mixture of pictures which show harmony and conflict/ division and some which are ‘whole society’, while others more individualised, but most of them tend to illustrate on the various different perspectives.

This is my very first task in the introduction to sociology unit.

After basic housekeeping, handing out the introductory hand-outs, and a quick discussion about ‘what does the word sociology mean to you?’ I then ask students to ‘draw society’.

I issue students with mini Whiteboards (but paper and pens would work) and simply give them the following instruction (which is on a PPT, and written in the main hand-out)

It takes 5-10 minutes, no more than 10. I then invite students to show and explain their pictures – and then do a quick PPT on perspectives in sociology, using the pictures to illustrate the Perspectives.

NB the reason for quickly introducing the perspectives in Lesson one is to remind students this is a difficult subject, not just about discussing social issues, which is an all too common misconception.

Find someone who Bingo

This icebreaker works a treat: it consists of 20 ‘activities’, 5 of which hardly anyone is going to admit to because they are ‘too deviant’ and people have been socialised into NOT doing them.

The instruction box below is embedded into my main intro hand-out, and on the PPT I use for the lesson:

Intro task – Find someone who bingo   Using the sheets provided, stand up, circulate, and try to match at least one name to each of the actions on your bingo sheet. First one to complete three lines of completely different names (no repeats) and shout bingo wins a chocolate bar, if they can identify the people whose names they’ve put down.   NB – Yes, it’s an icebreaker, but also relevant to the content of today’s lesson!

This activity is also handy to get students talking to one another for the first time – I let it run until the point where you get a large group of students giggling which each other while at the same time a couple of them are starting to look a bit lost, then it’s time to bring it back together – lasts about 5-10 minutes!

Follow up

Ask students if they’ve got any gaps, and if so why…. This introduces the concept of deviance.

When do you want to get married? Marriage and Divorce starter

Students answer the questions below on Socrative. Link to the quiz here.

Intro task – answer the following questions

•           Do you want to get married?

•           If you want to get married, then why, if not, then why not?

•           At what age do you expect to get married?

•           Note down 3-5 words you associated with marriage.

Follow Up

Use Socrative to show the class trends, you can compare these to some of the historical trends as they come up in the lesson.

You can ask students how common they think the answers to the qualitative questions are or ask for volunteers to explain their answers. If no one volunteers, ask ‘why might someone has said this’, just be careful to remind students to be sensitive!

Match the crime to the trend

Hand out the ‘intro to crime trends’ supplementary sheet, this only shows the trends, project up the PPT slide which shows the trends and the ‘crime’s they need to match.

  • Students then match the crime to the trend
  • Show students the answers – on the PPT, see bundle below.
  • Get students to rank the crimes in order of how valid they think the statistics are.

Follow Up

You might want to point out that more serious crime is very low, but some of the ‘softer’ crimes have much higher rates.

You should point out that ‘crime stats are socially constructed’ and that there are several reasons why some of these crimes might go unreported.

20 Starters for A-level Sociology

All of the above resources are available in my latest teaching bundle which contains 20 starter activities for A-level sociology lessons. There are five starter activities for ‘introducing sociology’, three for education, two for methods, five for families and five for crime and deviance.

The activities are quite varied, and include a mixture of the following:

  • Drawing concepts
  • A Walk-about and finding out from other students’ activity
  • Brainstorming reasons why/ differences between.
  • A Making the links dice game
  • ‘What do you think’ personal Socrative intro questions.
  • One musical intro
  • Key terms recaps
  • Applying perspectives starters.
  • Classic data response
  • Classic ‘quick recap tests’

I’ve used all of these activities in my own teaching, they are tried and tested and work well with classes of 10-20 or more students.

Over page is an index of all the activities and (in brackets) when in the specification you can employ them.

Most of these activities are paper based, and where this is the case, I’ve included a copy of the ‘worksheet’ here, as well as individual files in a separate folder, clearly labelled.

Some of the activities require a PPT so I’ve included the relevant slides on a separate PPT.

A-Level Sociology Teaching Resources

NB – you get All of these starters and more as part of my A-level sociology teaching resources, available as a monthly subscription, for only £9.99 a month! The subscription includes lesson plans and modifiable student hand-outs and PPTs. Activities such as these starters are embedded into the student learning materials.

I hope you find these resources useful, and happy teaching,

Karl, September 2020.

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