Document-Based Activities: US History Book 1
Primary Sources allow us to connect directly to the people who have made history. They also strengthen observational and analytical skills. This book gives you study tools; not only reproducible analysis worksheets but also photo examples of artifacts, documents, and artwork coupled with questions. These are challenging activities, requiring thought. Background information plus an answer key is provided. Lists of image sources and a bibliography are also included. 160 pgs, pb.
Not really a “grabber” title, huh? What if I explained that these books offer students the opportunity to ponder historical issues in light of historical documents and then write an informed essay on the topic? Wow, what a great way to add a critical thinking and writing component to your history studies! Each book contains 20-23 “Document-Based Questions” (DBQs) to study, covering either world history or American history to the present. Each DBQ has a guiding question or topic and follows a similar format. The lesson begins with historical background, followed by a series of suggested steps for the student. In Part A, introductory and explanatory text is provided with excerpts from primary or secondary historical documents, with one or two questions following each excerpt. Documents may be letters, speeches, books from that time period, or secondary source documents from historians who have examined the documents and come to their own conclusions. The questions require students to draw from the short excerpt and think about the issues. By the end of Part A, they have read several different excerpts and seen multiple viewpoints to the issue. At this point they’re ready for Part B, the essay portion. Here they are asked to write an essay on the lesson’s topic by using what they have learned and supporting their opinions from the documents. A grading key at the end of the book offers answers for the questions, sample essays for each DBQ, and teacher comments. Historical issues examined in U.S. History High School include economic opportunities in the Colonies, growth of political parties, antebellum reforms, progressivism, the civil rights movement, separation of church and state and more. Middle school issues include the motivation of Europeans to explore America, causes of the American Revolution, Indian removal, the New Deal, immigration, costs and benefits of winning WWII, and more. Global History covers the fall of the Roman empire, Africa before European arrival, causes of the French Revolution, absolutism and democracy, imperialism in India, causes of WWI, the Cold War, 20th-century China and more. This series is from a secular publisher, so you will not find much religious content, and you will find more “politically correct” content. On the other hand, the books are open-ended, and essays are more likely to be graded on structure and organization than on personal opinion! Whether you’re a secular homeschooler or if you can overlook some statements you may not entirely agree with, these books offer terrific opportunities for historical analysis and essay writing! – Jess