What do historians do?
This lesson encourages students to become history detectives. It helps them understand the work of historians.
Why is this lesson important?
Foster a historical mindset and cultivate historical inquiry skills
Students analyze and interpret primary sources. Similarly to historians, groups analyzing various sources can come up with different conclusions.
Initiate a love for history
The lesson is built around group work, with minimal lecturing from the teacher: students are active and engaged.
Nurture a sense of tolerance and an appreciation for cultural diversity
The selected sources originates from 3 different countries and periods. The focus is on understanding the principles of historical enquiry rather than learning historical facts on one country.
Cultivate “historical” empathy
Students interpret claims from 2 different rulers. They get acquainted with the challenging work of historians.
|Subject||History / Social Studies|
|Topic||What do historians do?|
|Key idea||Historians study sources to understand the past. Their interpretations change as they find new sources and
come up with new ideas.
|No. of periods / lessons||1 period (1 period is approximately 50 minutes)|
|Facilities needed||Sources and handouts for distribution|
|Prerequisite knowledge||No prerequisite knowledge is required.|
Learning objectives: by the end of the lesson, the students will be able to…
1. Hook: Asking a historian’s questions
The teacher shows the image of a stone inscription and students share their thoughts on the history and meaning of this inscription.
2. Teacher talk
The lecture introduces the work of historians, finding various sources and evidence to find out what happened in the past although this job is difficult and historians sometimes interpret sources differently.
3. Group work: Analysis of sources
In groups of 4, students analyze 2 different sources, and compare their findings with those of historians.
4. Reflection: checking answers
Students identify what surprised them most about what other groups and historians believe about these sources, and why.