Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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America's History in the Making

Historical Thinking Skills Interactives

This series of interactive activities introduces and models the Historical Thinking Skills defined by the National Center for History in the Schools. The interactives each model a specific skill or set of skills, such as analyzing historical artifacts or using primary sources to develop a thesis. The first five interactives conclude with "Classroom Extensions," which give teachers hints on how they can teach using these skills in their classrooms. The final interactive, Balancing Sources, includes input from our advisory board of teachers, modeling how they might use the primary sources within the interactive.


These interactives require that cookies and JavaScript be enabled in your browser. Internet Explorer on Macintosh is not supported at this time.


Placing Artifacts in Time

This interactive focuses on the concept of Chronological Thinking. Using the example of Pocahontas, teachers explore how historical representations change over time, and often reflect the period in which the representation was created.

This interactive should take 20-30 minutes to complete.


Analyzing Artifacts

While teachers may be familiar with analyzing historical documents, this interactive introduces them to the process of analyzing historical artifacts. Many of the same criteria are considered, and this interactive provides a framework from which to begin this work.

This interactive should take 20-30 minutes to complete.


Reading Maps

Cartographic literacy is an important skill, and this interactive provides a basic foundation in reading and analyzing maps as historic artifacts.

This interactive should take 20-30 minutes to complete.


Evaluating Evidence

This interactive guides teachers through the process of evaluating primary sources and determining their support of a given thesis. Using the Civil War as the example, teachers rank the relevancy of sources in relation to four common beliefs as to the cause of the war.

This interactive should take 30-45 minutes to complete.


Curating an Exhibit

This interactive allows teachers to curate their own museum exhibit, centered on the theme of "Conflicts in American History." Teachers select artifacts, letters. paintings, and other items that reflect this theme. Then, they are able to write their own descriptions of the items that tie them to the larger theme. Finally, teachers are able to view and print their final compiled exhibit.

This interactive should take 45-60 minutes to complete.


Balancing Sources

This interactive invites teachers to examine historical events, consider how they have been portrayed in different sources, and create a narrative that considers the various perspectives represented. Teachers examine a variety of primary sources from major eras of American History, and choose several sources to represent different perspectives of the era.

This interactive should take 30-40 minutes per era to complete.

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