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2 WHY USE HISTORY LABS? Research supports that hands on labs help students retain a higher Depth of Knowledge and labs also lend themselves to higher levels of Student Engagement Develops Historical Thinking Skills: Actively investigate the past as opposed to passively memorizing Strengthen Critical Reading and Writing Skills Improves Student ability to handle and retain vital content information Students take control and ownership of content knowledge that fosters genuine and lasting interest in the Social Studies

3 WHAT IS A HISTORY LAB? A Research and Investigative learning experience that allows teachers the ability to cover a full range of historical thinking skills by taking students through processes similar to the methodology of historians In a History Lab, students: Seek to answer an open-ended overarching question that permits multiple possible answers Analyze sources and apply information to develop answers to the overarching question Apply literacy skills in reading, evaluation and analysis of historical sources. (cross curriculum alignment)

4 THINKING LIKE A HISTORIAN Using primary/secondary sources engage social studies students to think like a historians by: Critically examining source materials for authorship and analysis of historical sources for authorship and purpose Significant information (relevance to the lesson) Context and subtext (what is being said within the historical context) Multiple and conflicting perspectives (comparing points of view) Apply grade-level and ability-appropriate interpretive skills Adjust or modify the overarching question itself, as necessary Develop, present, and refine their evidence-based answers Challenge assumptions

5 DEVELOPING OVERARCHING QUESTIONS Good questions are central to the Historical Method and the History Lab model when students are captivated by an overarching question, they will delve into their exploration of the historical topic Ask students to use questions posed by historians when considering the overarching questions Is the topic open to debate over the role, agency, or effects of key events, factors or individuals Has new evidence emerged that challenges the traditional interpretation of the event or individual Have historians constructed divergent or conflicting interpretations from the same evidence? Have the interpretations of an event or individual changed significantly over time? (Historiography)


7 BUILDING BACKGROUND KNOWLEDGE Back Ground Knowledge helps place the historical sources used in the History Lab into their appropriate context. Through Contextualization, students unlock the claims made by authors and sources, and engage more deeply in understanding their purpose and perspective (both primary and secondary sources) Students need to know key concepts, personalities, and the chronology of their topic. Students can acquire background information through: Preliminary reading that have been discuss and debriefed prior to the history lab Video clips Short, focused presentations Brief topic lectures delivered by the teacher DO NOT GIVE AWAY THE FARM!!

8 CONDUCTING SOURCE WORK Historical Sources used in History Labs are not limited to “Primary” sources. Students should also learn to utilize secondary sources like history textbooks, essays, and historical debates Students use the same processes in examination of either primary or secondary sources AP level classes have been re-designed calling for a more even emphasis on primary to secondary sources Examples of Secondary sources: Conflict and Concession in American History Changing Interpretations of American History

9 SKILLS FOR CONDUCTING SOURCE WORK Sourcing the document: who wrote the document, when, and why? How might the author’s purpose and perspective help us understand the information provided or viewpoint expressed in the document Corroborating between sources- how does the document fit with the other sources? Identify sources that either support or challenge the claims made by the document Close-reading the document- identify the arguments being presented and how the author makes their claims Great for differentiation with teacher prepared questions (ELL’s) Scaffold questions to require multiple reading of the documents Questions gradually become more complex usually requiring re- examination of document

10 SKILLS FOR CONDUCTING SOURCE WORK CONT. Contextualization- what else was going on when the document was created? How may that context have affected the information or argument presented in the source? Look at big picture (Significance on the history to this point) What is different from before (change over time) Identifying the subtext of the document- what event or viewpoint is the author responding to or debating with? How might these factors have shaped the author’s purpose, and how is this intention reflected in the document itself? Continuity over time- what is the historical basis of the bias reflected.

11 PRESENTING AND SUPPORTING INTERPRETATIONS As students work through the History Lab they begin to develop, present, and revise their answers and interpretations of the Sources It is essential that students “ground” their answers to the overarching questions in evidence provided by the sources. Interpretations that emphasize some sources over others Critically evaluate the sources to validate certain information or perspective Use the sources to construct an entirely new narrative of the subject Mirror the interpretative work of historians

12 PRESENTING AND SUPPORTING INTERPRETATIONS CONT. Students can present and discuss their interpretations in various manners: Student Presentations (individual or group)- students discuss evidence that led them to develop their answers Whole-class discussion- teacher facilitates a discussion in which students must articulate their position and support their arguments with evidence Visual arrangement of evidence- students asked to arrange evidence in sequence or patterns that help them develop their answer to the overarching question Contrasting Student interpretations with those of historians- Teacher presents historical thought on the subject and students compare their findings with those of experts. Altering the overarching questions- students know question the parameters of the question to bring in new debates, contrasting definitions, altering the emphasis on particular elements.

13 ASSESSING STUDENT LEARNING Assessing students’ historical thinking is different than measuring their knowledge of historical content History labs seek to assess the skill and complexity of the thinking and understanding behind student interpretations of evidence and responses to the overarching question through writing. (language, ELL, Critical Thinking) Forms of assessment to measure historical thinking in History Labs: Framed Quick Writes with guiding questions (best option for closed- readings) “Two pieces of evidence that most complemented one another were…because… The most important/insightful piece of evidence was…because… Argumentative and Persuasive essays


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