Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Studying History, a Complicated Endeavor

What do historians do? By 3rd or 4th grade, I suspect, most students, can tell us that historians “tell us about the past”. Telling students that history is the study of the past is an idea they have heard many times. You need to push students to dig deeper into the nature of studying the past.  

Ask students: How do we know about the past? (parents, teachers, books, museums, historical sites: battlefields, preserved homes)

When textbooks come up, which is often quite quickly, discuss the following questions: Who wrote your textbook? How do you think choices were made about what to include and exclude from this history textbook? Can we trust the accuracy of the information presented in textbooks? What does it mean to trust the accuracy of information?

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