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Grade 7 Historical Inquiry Unit: Connect Charter School

David Scott
1 December 2013 - 10 January 2014
Calgary, Alberta

With the help of a Small Projects Grant from THEN/HiER, I recently collaborated with Jody Pereverzoff and Chris Dittmann from Connect Charter School (formally Calgary Science School) to develop a historical inquiry unit for their 100 grade 7 students. As outlined in this video, Jody and Chris were interested in exploring the question:

“How can we help people learn more about historically significant events in Canada’s past in a way that will be both interesting and also show the relevance of history to their lives?”

As a culminating activity for this unit, on Friday December 13th, 2013 we linked up with Dr. Jennifer Pettit and Dr. Joe Anderson from the Humanities Department at Mount Royal University who hosted a history symposium and showcase. Before showcasing the students’ work, Dr. Pettit and Dr. Anderson led a discussion guided by a series of big questions unique to the study of history. These questions included: 1) What is the differnence between the past and history?, 2) In whats ways can determining what is historically significant change based on group membership?, and 3) Why should we study history? During the presenation, students had the opportunity to discuss these questions in small groups and then share their responses with the group as a whole.

We would like to thank Dr. Pettit and Dr. Anderson for volunteering their time to take up these important questions with the students, as well as giving them feedback on their final presentations (see video for an explanation of what this entailed). In providing this opportunity, Dr. Pettit and Dr. Anderson helped these young people see that history is not simply a set of objective facts about the past to be memorized and restated on a test, but a series of issues and questions to be explored, debated, and ultimately justified based on evidence.