Tools of historians and exploring different perspectives of significant events in American History
Author-Misti French & Tracey Leath
School- Pembroke Elementary School
Grade Level- 5th Grade Social Studies
District- Christian County Schools
This unit may be taught in two ways. The unit may be taught in its entirety as an end of year culminating unit for a large standard which spans many eras of American history. When teaching it this way, the teacher is able to use different significant events from history for analysis since students will already be exposed to these events such as “I Have A Dream” speech etc. The unit may also be divided into 2 parts with the introductory lessons as a unit for primary and secondary sources with the ending lessons using historic events at end of year as a culminating assessment of standard.
Statement of Purpose
Kentucky Program of Studies and Core Content Connections
Program of Studies Applicable Skills and Concepts SS-5-HP-S-1 Students will demonstrate an understanding of the interpretive nature of history using a variety of tools such as primary and secondary sources.
Explain and draw inferences about the importance of major events in U.S. history
SS-5-HP-S-2 Students will use information from print and non-print sources (e.g. documents, information passages/texts, interviews, digital and environment
Examine factual and fictional accounts of events and people in U.S. history
SS-05-5.1.1 Students will use a variety of primary and secondary sources (e.g. artifacts, diaries, maps and timelines) to describe significant events in the history of the U.S. and interpret different perspectives. DOK 3
What do you want students to KNOW?
What ATTITUDES or HABITS will students develop?
Know the different tools that historians use (primary sources, secondary sources, artifacts, diaries and timelines)
Why isn’t understanding history simply knowing the factual information of specific events?
How do you think in a historical context in order to understand significant events?
Why is it important to understand historical perspective?
Why is it important to understand the past in order to understand the present and plan for the future?
How could including only one group’s perspective effect historical knowledge (example-the settler’s viewpoint on Westward Expansion) of American history?
How will students show what they know and understand?
Students will complete a task rotation addressing each of the four styles.
Mastery Task- Students sort items into primary and secondary sources piles- list items on Task Rotation and then complete Mastery style multiple choice questions.
Interpersonal Task- Students play card perspective game and must describe two different perspectives of an event. (Empathy)
Self Expressive Task- Students imagine they are a historian and are “traveling” back in time. Students must then decide in their opinions which tools would be most important to show multiple perspectives and then describe how the above tools help them to report the event more historically accurately than it is now.
Understanding Task- Students will complete an ORQ.
Students will participate in a culminating project named American History Museum** where students role play a chosen American hero after researching and writing multiple informational pieces. Students interpret history and describe significant events as primary source (someone who was there). These characters from history are performed for audiences in school. Student reporters also interview these historical people to create a news cast movie reporting on different perspectives in history. Students also are asked to compare the information gained from secondary sources as opposed to the “primary sources” of the role play activity.
The History Museum is an extensive undertaking and the unit may be taught without the Museum assessment if time is limited.
**(Idea for Wax Museum was inspired by 2 other teachers that shared their project with fellow teachers)
Why isn’t understanding history simply knowing the factual information of events? How do you think in a historical context in order to understand significant events? Why is it important to understand historical perspective? Why is it important to understand the past in order to understand the present and plan for the future?
What are primary and secondary sources? What are artifacts? How are primary sources, secondary sources and artifacts similar and different? How do you represent multiple perspectives when reporting on an event?
How do people’s feelings and emotions affect their viewpoint of historical events? Why is it important to try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes in order to understand historic events? Do you feel it is important to include perspectives of citizens from America’s enemies in wars when teaching students about history? (ex. perspective of Japanese soldier or child in Nagasaki when teaching about WWII, Iraqi students’ viewpoint or British citizen’s perspective on Revolutionary War)
Why do we need to fully understand primary and secondary sources in order to study history? How could only including one parties’ perspective effect historical knowledge (example- the settlers’ viewpoint on Westward Expansion)? What stories of historic events can you see as being only “one side of the story”? (celebrating Columbus Day and why it would not be a day that Native Americans might celebrate)
If you could re-write an account of history, what would you change? How could people who write textbooks be sure to include multiple perspectives when they write history books for American students? How could we create a perfect- non biased account of historical events?
Mapping the Vocabulary for the lesson/unit of study.
SS- 05- 5.1.1 Students will use a variety of primary and secondary sources (e.g. artifacts, diaries, maps, timelines) to describe significant events in the history of the U.S. and interpret different perspectives. (DOK 3)