focus questions encourage higher order thinking... and require that teachers
and students work together as active learners and investigators."
Maud Anderson, Moultonborough Central School
inquiry method of learning depends on a partnership between the students
and teachers. Using inquiry, the students learn how to ask questions
an then find resources to explore and answer those questions. Learning
becomes compelling. Students create hypotheses and use historical thinking
skills to satisfy their own curiosity. They learn content in the
excitement of the investigation.
role of the teacher changes. The teacher no longer need to be the source
of all knowledge or to know all of the answers ahead of time. Instead the
teacher plans the desired learning outcomes, the sequence of the investigation,
and the resources needed. Then the teacher and students can find
the answers together.
encourages the use of primary resources and evidence. Inquiry encourages
students to interpret evidence rather than to memorize other peoples' interpretations.
The teacher can structure the research experience and act as guide while
still becoming a fellow researcher with the students , modeling effective
learning strategies and habits.
focus questions provide initial broad questions for inquiry. Each
focus question in the book is supplemented with a list of related questions,
to Explore. You and your students can use these or your own questions
to start your investigations into New Hampshire history. Examining
the same questions in greater and greater depth or examining different
aspects of the same questions, students and teachers can return to the
investigation of history over several grade levels, building on previous
knowledge. In this way students learn to handle increasing complexity
with higher-level skills.
What are the boundaries
of New Hampshire and how did they get there?
One locates the study of New Hampshire in space as well as time. It provides
a place to practice the usual skills of mapping and geography, but also
suggests exploration of the social and political aspects of boundaries.
How have the natural environment
and the way people live affected each other in New Hampshire?
Two invites the exploration of the interactions between the natural environment
and human activity over time. It invites cross-disciplinary study of highly
important issues suing science and history.
What has happened when different
cultures, races, and ethnic groups have met in New Hampshire?
Three encourages investigation about diverse groups and cultures and their
interactions, including evidence of conflict, cooperation, and assimilation.
It turns the inquiry toward the understanding and appreciation of variety
and differences in lifeways.
How have government and
politics affected New Hampshire groups and individuals?
Four allows inquiry from the bottom up as well as from the top down.
Students can investigate not only what the famous and powerful have accomplished,
but also what the common people have experienced in the realm of government
and politics. In the process students can study the structure of government
and the activities of citizenship.
How has technology affected
life in New Hampshire?
Five gives students a chance to explore, from several perspectives, how
technology pervades our lives and the history of New Hampshire. Depending
on the students, study can stay on the descriptive level or delve deeper
into issues and answers surrounding technology and culture.
What have groups and organizations
contributed to New Hampshire life?
Six encourages a look at the powers and purposes of formal and informal
groupings of people not part of official government. Such study of
nongovernmental organizations reveals less visible sides of society and
adds much to he understanding of how multiple levels of power, influence,
interests, and group action interact.
How have people and organizations
interacted to produce, distribute, and consume wealth and take care of
material needs in New Hampshire?
Seven suggests an economic framework for studying New Hampshire history.
While economics alone do not explain the events of history, they can help
clarify events as well as provide an entry into the study of the use of
resources in ways that are characteristic of the state.
How have New Hampshire people
expressed their views, and what have they had to say?
Eight offers a bridge between New Hampshire history and the language arts,
fine arts, and philosophy. It encourages looking at primary sources such
as diaries, paintings, novels, sculpture and songs that give direct evidence
of the thoughts and feelings of people in former times.
Appendix C for a historical thinking skills list and Appendix E for a social
studies skills list.