Table of Contents

2.2.1 Inquiry Lessons in History/Social Studies

Time to Read

Read the Stanford Education Group's definition of and the rationale for using inquiry lessons in history/social studies in "What is an 'Inquiry Lesson'?". Pay particular attention to the teacher procedures for designing an inquiry lesson and keep in mind how these practices will help students address the Reading Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies as well as the CA History-Social Science Standards.

Example Lessons Organized Using a Central Question

The following two lessons are examples of how to organize instruction using an inquiry question while addressing both the CA CCSS for ELA/Literacy and content standards.

The “Japanese Segregation in San Francisco” lesson plan discussed in the “What is an ‘Inquiry Lesson’?” article uses the inquiry question, “Why did Teddy Roosevelt oppose the segregation of San Francisco's public schools?” to help frame the student’s close reading and examination of the primary source documents for the lesson. The question helps guide students to consider issues and policies related to immigration, the Progressives, and civil rights in California. Select the following links to view the corresponding content and reading standards for grade 11.

CA History-Social Science Standards, Grade 11

Reading Standards for Literacy in History-Social Studies, Grades 11–12

Similarly, the California History-Social Science Project’s "Lincoln’s Speeches" lesson uses the question “Why did Lincoln Fight?” to examine Lincoln’s speeches in order to try to understand his perspective; his concerns about preserving the union, slavery, and extending freedom and rights; and how his perspective changed over time. This historically-relevant question guides students to analyze Lincoln’s speeches in order to find evidence and draw conclusions that will answer this question that is still debated by modern historians. Select the following links to see view the corresponding content standards and reading standards for grade 8.

CA History-Social Science Standards, Grade 8

Reading Standards for Literacy in History-Social Studies, Grades 6–8

Time to Try

Read the two documents describing the meeting between Montezuma and Cortez of 1519. Write a central inquiry question to guide students' exploration of the two primary sources in the journal space below. The CA History-Social Science Standards are available at the following link for your reference:

CA History-Social Science Standards, Grade 7

 

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Sample responses

Time to Extend

For more history/social studies lessons organized using central inquiry questions, see the following resources.