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Bringing History Home

iowa classroom, bringinghistoryhome

Bringinghistoryhome.org builds lesson plans on the analogy that students, like carpenters, need to learn to use tools of the trade. In the case of the study of history, these tools are historical narratives, timelines, written and visual primary sources, maps, and historical narrative.

Each curricular unit within each grade level and throughout the progression of grade levels, K-12, introduces increased levels of sophistication into the use and application of the tools of historical thinking. Sequential development of knowledge and of learning processes is a primary focus, and lesson plans review content from earlier grade levels, reminding teachers and students of what has gone before.

Students learn that different kinds of sources on a historic topic may yield the same information.

Each lesson plan includes process and content goals. For example, a fourth grade unit on the Great Depression includes the content goal, "Students learn what housing and clothing looked like for many people during this time period." The process goal accompanying this content area states that "Students learn that information about the same historic topic may be found in different types of sources. In this case, students identify Depression hardships that appear in both letters and photos." Lesson units include individual classroom adaptations from teachers who have utilized the lesson plans.

Bringinghistoryhome.org originally targeted elementary school educators, but the value of the curriculum modules—including the provision of worksheets for a variety of analytic activities and additional instructional resources—led to its extension into middle school and high school. Elementary students learning with the curriculum exceeded assessment expectations. Success led to sustainability: six additional Iowa districts adopted the program and additional districts in four other states are applying the format to their own standards of learning.


University of Iowa, Washington Community School District, Iowa