The study of history comes alive and is more engaging and meaningful for students when they learn how to think like an historian.
Building on the work of Professor Peter Seixas of the University of British Columbia, TC² has developed engaging videos with accompanying lesson plans to introduce students to six historical thinking concepts that enable them to go beyond merely learning historical information to thinking deeply about history.
Thinking historically with source documents
This six-page reference guide identifies freely available video, print and online resources that explain historical thinking, suggest how to teach it and offer sources of historical documents and images on topics in Canadian history. Also indicated at the end of this guide are exemplary resources available for purchase.
Teaching Historical Thinking
This print resource elaborates on the six interrelated concepts central to students' ability to think about history. It offers specific suggestions for introducing the concepts to students and for applying them throughout the history curriculum.
Exemplars in Historical Thinking: 20th Century Canada
This print resource contains teaching instructions, reproducible activity sheets and assessment support addressing a range of events and people in 20th century Canada. The nine critical challenges build upon the six concepts of historical thinking.
Students bring history to life and direct their own learning by doing history, particularly through rich, hands-on project-based inquiry. With the following resources, educators can support students to research their own inquiry, take intellectual risks and learn curricular content by constructing meaning rather than simply absorbing facts.
Heritage fairs provide an excellent opportunity for project-based historical learning. Students research their own inquiry questions and use the media of their choice to present the results at a public exhibition.
Seven steps to a powerful Heritage Fair project
This online guide, developed by the BC Heritage Fairs Society in partnership with TC², helps teachers support students with their heritage fair projects. It offers suggestions for how to help students choose and refine a topic of personal and historical significance, dig deeply and critically into that topic, connect their findings with broader themes, social issues and “big ideas” in the curriculum and creatively share their conclusions in a public forum.
Enriching projects with historical thinking concepts
This Tips for Teachers document outlines the value of embedding historical thinking concepts in projects, and how specific concepts help guide more rigorous historical inquiry. Sample questions from actual heritage fair projects are provided to illustrate how each of the six historical thinking concepts can be embedded.
The following lesson plans from the Tools for Thought collection develop the techniques of effective historical research and inquiry. These resources, useful at both the elementary and secondary levels, include teacher notes, detailed instructions and relevant activity sheets.
Preparing effective questions to guide research
Visually demonstrating the sequence and span of related events and showing the impact of these events
Read around the document
Identifying clues around the ‘edges’ of a historical document to learn about its author, audience, origin, purpose and type
Using strategies to prepare and conduct interviews
Distinguishing between important and unimportant information or facts for a specific research question and purpose
Connecting facts to conclusions
Writing well-structured paragraphs that organize facts and indicate how they support the overall conclusion
Using verbal communication strategies to connect with an audience
The online and video resources that are part of Thinking about History are published with the support of the following groups: