In the digital world of the 21st century, are dioramas an effective teaching tool? Some educators want teachers to abandon sugar cubes and shoe boxes for more high tech activities, insisting dioramas do not require students to engage in complex problem solving and critical thinking. However, there is no reason to dump the diorama. With a well-structured lesson, building a diorama requires students to analyze primary sources, deeply understand content, support a thesis, and solve engineering challenges to build a structure that incorporates key elements of design. Dioramas are sophisticated stuff.
Glimpse war through the eyes of soldiers.
Soldiers’ letters offer students an intimate view of the impact of war. In this lesson, students analyze letters written by soldiers during the Civil War.
In a previous post, I discussed how history is a verb, not a noun. What does “doing history” look like in a classroom? Here is a fun activity teachers can use to introduce students to the skill of analyzing primary sources.
Historians dissect primary sources such as letters, diaries, court documents, or song lyrics in their quest to interpret the past. They systematically examine each component of the source in order to make sense of the whole. Read more
In honor of my favorite president–Mr. Lincoln–here is an activity that gives student historians practice dissecting primary sources, extracting meaning from them, and communicating that meaning in a coherent paragraph. In commemoration of Black History Month, the subject of Lincoln’s words is slavery. Read more