How History Works

Essential Questions

How does examining the past and history work?

Why is studing history important?

What is History? How does it Work?

In order to read like a historian, you must understand what history is. The following activity will help us develop a better understanding of History.

Activity 1: The Story of Your Birth

Make a circle map and brainstorm what you know of the story of your birth. Include the who, what, when, where, how, and why?

Discussion Questions:

  • How do you know the story of your birth?

  • What evidence do you have to back your story?

  • How might someone else remember this story?

Activity 2: Snapshot Autobiography Project.

SHEG-Snapshot Autobiography Lesson Plan-Student Version.pdf

Discussion Questions:

  • Why did you choose certain events and not others? What made some events more important or memorable than others?

  • Was it difficult to select events? Why or why not?

  • What types of evidence would be necessary to corroborate that your selected event actually happened?

  • What happened when you asked someone about the event? Did they agree with your version? Did they remember things differently?

What is History?

What is history? A collection of dates and names? History is not a single story but many, and that the job of historians is to analyze multiple primary and secondary sources to create theories about what happened in the past and why.

SHEG-What Is History poster.pdf

As you may have learned from your Snapshot Biography, history is what happened in the past, just like the events in your life. Different accounts may conflict or agree with one another. Our work this year is to figure out how we can gather enough evidence to get the clearest picture possible of what happened in the past.

Discussion Question

  • Why might accounts differ depending on one's perspective?

  • Why is it so important to have evidence what finding out what happened in the past?

  • Why should we question the reliability or trustworthiness of each piece of evidence (hint: think about question 1)?

  • Why do we need to have multiple pieces of evidence to make our account of the past believable?

Activity 3: Snapshot Autobiography Reflection

Write one or more paragraph answering the following prompt "Before the Snapshot Autobiography Activity, I thought studying history was _________________. Now I know studying history is................................." *Remember a paragraph should be 5 or more sentences and you must proofread.*

Why Study History?

The main reason:

The goal of studying history is to give you the knowledge and thinking skills to be active and engaged citizens that participate in our democratic way of life to improve our communities, nation, and world.

There are so many other reasons as well! Here are a few of my favorite.

  • It widens your way of looking at the world by introducing you to new cultures and locations.

  • Developing respect for people all over the world.

  • You need to learn how the world works before you work to change it

  • You will understand how people connect with each other and what causes conflicts between people.

  • Understanding politics and past events helps you understand current events better.

  • You will better understand your place in the world and that you can change the world.

  • It will help you become a better citizen in whatever country you choose to live in.

  • You will gain wisdom to learn from peoples' accomplishments and mistakes.

  • You will develop critical thinking skills and the ability to investigate information to form your own opinion.

  • If you are a human, it is important to learn about other humans.

  • You are where you are because of the help of other humans.

  • You live in a society, so it is a good idea to learn how to survive in a society.

  • You will learn it's not about you, it's about us.

Activity 2: Why You Should Study History Advertisement

Imagine you were just hired by the National Historical Association to create advertisements to convince students why studying history is important. Create an advertisement of your choice (Poster, Billboard, Pamphlet, etc.) that includes the main reasons you should study history. You may include reasons from the lesson but you must also include reasons to personally think you should study history. Your advertisement must include both writing and color visuals. It may be completed on paper or digitally.