Education Through Entertainment

Hands-On History: Postcards from the Past

Posted on Mon, Jan 22, 2024

Postcards From the Past

How often can students get hands-on with history? Not very often as we usually learn about history through our textbooks, movies, and books. As several historical celebrations approach us this time of year, Mobile Ed has a simple and engaging way for students to dive into the past using hands-on learning. Continue reading to learn how to make the Postcards from the Past project. 

We are big fans of hands-on learning at Mobile Ed, and history class is no exception to this technique! Though history isn’t always the most tangible topic, we are encouraging educators to get hands-on with history this Presidents’ Day, Black History Month, and Women's History Month with this research-based activity students will no doubt enjoy!

Hands-on learning, also known as kinesthetic learning, is an effective education method that can be more compelling for students than visual or auditory learning. Hands-on projects require full participation and attention, challenging students to focus, follow instructions, and have fun! Hands-on learning

    • Builds confidence in students as they create projects and accomplish goals
    • Improves retention as students experience lessons with both the left and right brain as well as sensory and motor cortexes
    • Encourages problem-solving and trial-and-error as students attempt to meet a goal 
    • Increases attentiveness as students are required to move around and participate in the lesson

But why postcards for this project? Well, postcards are an easy to to combine lots of information into a short form of communication, and we're all pretty familiar with them, even our students have seen postcards at their local post office or in a tourist shop. This project calls for students to know their characters extremely well in order to write a short postcard, maximizing their information intake and research ability but making the most of their time. 

In this project, students will harness "historical empathy" to write postcards from a historical figure or a fictional historical character. Students will be required to research the times, places, and politics of people and/or time periods depending on how you design the assignment. Read below for the instructions.


Postcard From the Past Project Instructions

What You’ll Need:

      • Blank flashcards/postcards/paper
      • Pens/markers
      • Scissors
      • Access to research
      • Ability to print photos (optional)


What You’ll Do: 

  1. Choose a time period (or multiple time periods) that you'd like your students to study.
  2. Assign each student a historical figure or create a fictional one. 
  3. Assign to whom students are writing their postcards. This could be you as the teacher in the modern day, or it could be to another classmate's historical character. 
  4. Encourage students to research their historical character. They will want to know their age, gender, location, family status, education, social class, political views, and goals. 
  5. Have students brainstorm why their character is sending a postcard to this person and what the content should contain.  
  6. Print, draw, and decorate postcards to reflect the historical accurately. 
  7. Trade with others to analyze the different perspectives of the time period. 

TIP: For younger students, you may consider writing "letters" instead as the medium instead of postcards. 

ADVANCED VERSION: Have students create multiple postcards from the same time period or create several postcards, each from different time periods. 


Women in History image banner

Mobile Ed Productions, Inc. has a one-of-a-kind program that brings important women back from the past to meet your students right in their classroom. Using our Mobile Ed Time Machine, your students will get to meet various women who have changed the world while understanding how and why they did it. Through their personal stories, students will get a well-rounded historical background about various time periods while also giving them the confidence to change the world around them. 

In the Women in History program, students will learn about: 

      • Clara Barton
      • Florence Nightingale
      • Madame Curie
      • Amelia Earhart
      • Helen Keller
      • Anne Sullivan
      • Harriet Tubman
      • Annie Oakley
      • Eleanor Roosevelt

Blog post inspired by Creative Educator



Contact us here to learn more about our Women in History program.

We are looking forward to connecting with you!