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NCSS 2010 Session One – History as Mystery

I love going to conferences! Meeting people, learning new things, browsing the vendor area – it’s all a great time.

This morning, I’m in downtown Denver at the National Council for the Social Studies conference. I’ve had coffee, a delicious danish and have already met some great people. The first session of the day is by a group of middle school teachers from Kentucky who are sharing about using mystery as a teaching tool.

The basis for their work is a book by Harvey Silver, Richard Strong and Matthew Perini called Mystery: Learning Through Clues. Basic process?

  • Teachers provide an interesting question (i.e. How did geography and Native Americans affect the success of the Lewis and Clark expedition?)
  • Kids examine clues (Could be documents, pictures, artifacts, cartoons, oral histories, etc)
  • Kids develop a hypothesis to the question
  • Kids explain their hypothesis
  • Kids evaluate the process

Others, such as the Historical Scene Investigation people,  have done similar things but I like how the the Kentucky teachers have adapted it to their own situtation. They have some phenomenal lesson plans online for quick and easy downloading that you really need to check out.

Heading to the next session!

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