"The focus questions encourage higher order thinking... and require that teachers and students work together as active learners and investigators."
                                  Maud Anderson, Moultonborough Central School

The 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.

The 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.

Inquiry 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.

The focus questions provide initial broad questions for inquiry.  Each focus question in the book is supplemented with a list of related questions, 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?
Description: Question 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?
Description: Question 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?
Description: Question 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?
Description: Question 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?
Description: Question 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?
Description: Question 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?
Description: Question 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?
Description: Question 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.

See Appendix C for a historical thinking skills list and Appendix E for a social studies skills list.

IntroductionQuestionsOverviewsPeopleLesson PlansAppendixesAcknowledgementsIntroductions  What Does this Book Do?Glossary of TermsQuick Reference ChartFocus QuestionsSummary List of QuestionsFocus Questions and NH FrameworksTime Periods Covered by 10 Eras