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History Mysteries for the littles: Inquiry resources and materials for your elementary classroom

Well, it’s been a while.

Between some unplanned family obligations and a variety of work related stuff, History Tech got pushed off the front burner, then the back burner, and eventually ended up somewhere into one of those cabinets where you store Tupperware bowls that are missing a lid.

This week we’re crawling out of the cabinet and onto the back burner at least. But . . . we missed sharing start of school resources. Missed National Women’s Suffrage Month. Missed the kickoff of the very awesome Kansas state social studies virtual PD series that is replacing the equally awesome but Covid-19 canceled F2F state conference. Missed the kickoff of the election. Missed a bunch of stuff.

So we’re gonna start small today. Just a quick website recommendation designed especially for K-5 teachers who are looking for resources and ideas for helping their kids understand historical inquiry.

History Mysteries: Historical Inquiry for Elementary Classrooms is a new site created with Library of Congress / Teaching with Primary Sources money. Two teachers, Kelley Brown and Laurie Risler, from Massachusetts partnered with the Collaborative for Educational Services to develop Google Slides, student materials, and teacher guides that all focus on historical thinking skills and the use of primary sources.

Get a quick overview with their introductory video:

We know that the sooner kids start solving historical problems, the better. They gain basic skills that let them identify different types of resources, they get used to the vocabulary of thinking historically, and they start to realize that history is more than stuff they have to memorize. But it can be difficult for elementary teachers. They often don’t feel comfortable teaching social studies because their background is limited and many times they lack time in their day to integrate history.

History Mysteries provides a ton of ready to use presentations, intro videos, handouts, and teacher resources, all designed to make the life of an elementary teacher as easy as possible.

The site is divided by grade levels. Get started by using their introductory lessons, broken into grade bands. As your students get more comfortable with the idea of solving problems, move into specific grade level activities. Each lesson is aligned with the National Council for the Social Studies Inquiry Arc and starts with a compelling questions.

Students then move into the process of using evidence to make and support their answers to the compelling question. All activities and resources are designed for use in both a face to face classroom environment or a remote learning situation.

This is the kind of thinking our elementary kids need to be doing. And Kelley and Laurie have taken a lot on most of the prep work in the process. So there’s no reason why you shouldn’t already be over there downloading resources.


3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Welcome back to the back burner! Love your site and your passion! Stay safe!

    September 30, 2020
    • glennw #


      Appreciate you sticking around as I get out of the Tupperware cabinet.

      Have a great Thursday!


      October 1, 2020

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