SS.912.A.1.1

Describe the importance of historiography, which includes how historical knowledge is obtained and transmitted, when interpreting events in history.
General Information
Subject Area: Social Studies
Grade: 912
Strand: American History
Status: State Board Approved

Related Courses

This benchmark is part of these courses.
2100320: United States History Honors (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2100340: African-American History (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 - 2023 (current), 2023 and beyond)
2100350: Florida History (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 - 2023 (current), 2023 and beyond)
2100360: Latin American History (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 - 2023 (current), 2023 and beyond)
2100370: Eastern and Western Heritage (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2017, 2017 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2100380: Visions and Their Pursuits:An American Tradition-U.S.History to 1920 (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 - 2023 (current), 2023 and beyond)
2100390: Visions and Countervisions: Europe, the U.S. and the World from 1848 (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2018 (course terminated))
2100400: The History of The Vietnam War (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 - 2023 (current), 2023 and beyond)
2100470: Visions & Their Pursuits:An AmerTrad-U.S. Hist to 1920 Honors (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 - 2023 (current), 2023 and beyond)
2100480: Visions and Countervisions: Europe, U.S. and the World from 1848 Honors (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2103300: World Cultural Geography (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 - 2023 (current), 2023 and beyond)
2104300: Introduction to the Social Sciences (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 - 2023 (current), 2023 and beyond)
2104320: Global Studies (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 - 2023 (current), 2023 and beyond)
2104600: Multicultural Studies (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 - 2023 (current), 2023 and beyond)
2105340: Philosophy (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 - 2023 (current), 2023 and beyond)
2106330: Civics (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2019 (course terminated))
2106340: Political Science (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 - 2023 (current), 2023 and beyond)
2106350: Law Studies (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 - 2023 (current), 2023 and beyond)
2106355: International Law (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 - 2023 (current), 2023 and beyond)
2106360: Comparative Political Systems (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 - 2023 (current), 2023 and beyond)
2106370: Comprehensive Law Studies (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 - 2023 (current), 2023 and beyond)
2106375: Comprehensive Law Honors (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 - 2023 (current), 2023 and beyond)
2106380: Legal Systems and Concepts (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 - 2023 (current), 2023 and beyond)
2106390: Court Procedures (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 - 2023 (current), 2023 and beyond)
2106440: International Relations (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 - 2023 (current), 2023 and beyond)
2106445: International Relations 2 Honors (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 - 2023 (current), 2023 and beyond)
2106450: The American Political System: Process and Power (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2019 (course terminated))
2106460: The American Political System: Process and Power Honors (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 - 2023 (current), 2023 and beyond)
2106468: Constitutional Law Honors (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 - 2023 (current), 2023 and beyond)
2100310: United States History (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
7921025: Access United States History (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2018, 2018 and beyond)
2100315: United States History for Credit Recovery (Specifically in versions: 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2100460: Eastern and Western Heritage Honors (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2017, 2017 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2100336: African-American History Honors (Specifically in versions: 2015 - 2022, 2022 - 2023 (current), 2023 and beyond)
2100345: Great Men and Women of Color Who Shaped World History (Specifically in versions: 2017 - 2022, 2022 - 2023 (current), 2023 and beyond)
2104310: Examining the African American Experience in the 20th Century (Specifically in versions: 2017 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2104315: Exploring Hip Hop as Literature (Specifically in versions: 2017 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2106410: Humane Letters 1 History (Specifically in versions: 2019 - 2022, 2022 - 2023 (current), 2023 and beyond)
2100355: History and Contributions of Haiti in a Global Context (Specifically in versions: 2020 - 2022, 2022 - 2023 (current), 2023 and beyond)
2109342: Humane Letters 2 History (Specifically in versions: 2020 - 2022, 2022 - 2023 (current), 2023 and beyond)
2109343: Humane Letters 2 History Honors (Specifically in versions: 2020 - 2022, 2022 - 2023 (current), 2023 and beyond)
2109344: Humane Letters 3 History (Specifically in versions: 2021 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2109345: Humane Letters 3 History Honors (Specifically in versions: 2021 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2109346: Humane Letters 4 History (Specifically in versions: 2021 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2109347: Humane Letters 4 History Honors (Specifically in versions: 2021 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2106415: Humane Letters 1 History Honors (Specifically in versions: 2022 - 2023 (current), 2023 and beyond)

Related Access Points

Alternate version of this benchmark for students with significant cognitive disabilities.
SS.912.A.1.In.a: Identify the importance of the use of authentic sources and critical review by historians to write about events.
SS.912.A.1.Su.a: Identify the importance of the use of authentic sources by historians to write about events.
SS.912.A.1.Pa.a: Recognize that historians write about events.

Related Resources

Vetted resources educators can use to teach the concepts and skills in this benchmark.

Lesson Plans

Salem Witch Trials:

This web resource from Discovery Education helps students analyze the significance of the Salem Witch Trials of the late 1600s through a study of several primary and secondary source materials. While synthesizing the information from these documents with details present in Arthur Miller's commentary on a 20th-century phenomenon, the hunting of communists as if they were witches, students will recognize the lasting impact of the hysteria. After reading Miller's The Crucible, students will modernize a key scene according to rubric guidelines provided on the site.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Guatemala:

In this lesson, students analyze primary and secondary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: How and why did the U.S. fight the Cold War in Guatemala? The teacher begins by explaining how covert actions were part of the Cold War. Students read 2 brief accounts of the CIA takeover from recent textbooks. Students answer questions in pairs. Class discussion: Why does each textbook include details the other leaves out? Students then read a declassified CIA document-an assassination list with names deleted-and discuss: how does this document challenge the textbook accounts? A final class discussion attempts to place this incident in the larger context of what students have learned about the Cold War.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Women in the 1950s:

In this lesson, students analyze primary and secondary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Is the image of the "happy 1950s housewife" accurate? The teacher first introduces the time period and some of its features: the baby boom, the GI Bill, suburbia, Leave it to Beaver. The teacher then shows images of the "happy housewife" from 50s-era publications. In groups, students analyze 2 documents: a Harper's magazine article on suburbia and a passage from Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique. They complete a graphic organizer that includes a hypothesis: does the stereotype seem true? Students then do the same with 2 more documents: secondary source analyses by Joanne Meyerowitz and Alice Kessler-Harris. The class completes the graphic organizer and shares final hypotheses in a group discussion: Should we believe the stereotype? How about the experience of minority women?

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Great Society:

In this lesson, students analyze primary and secondary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Was the Great Society successful? Students first read LBJ's "Great Society" speech and answer sourcing, close reading and context questions about it before discussing as a class. The teacher then hands out a list of Great Society programs and asks: Which have you heard of? Which do you think were successful? Students then watch a film clip about the Great Society, streamed via Discovery Education. This is followed up with 2 secondary sources: a "Pro" perspective from historian Joseph Califano and a "Con" perspective from Thomas Sowell. They fill out a graphic organizer in groups and discuss: Which historian is more convincing? What kind of evidence does each use to make his case? How do these arguments still play out today?

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Korean War:

In this lesson, students analyze secondary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Who started the Korean War? The teacher begins by first explaining that textbooks can be biased sources and then uses a brief PowerPoint to show the geography of Korea and why/when war began there. Students then form pairs and read 2 accounts of the war: one from a South Korean textbook and another from a North Korean book. For both, students not only summarize and answer questions, but they must identify which source is which (North or South Korea?) and use textual details to prove it. In a class discussion, students share their answers. If time remains, the class may corroborate these sources with their own class textbook.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Atomic Bomb:

In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: How should we remember the dropping of the atomic bomb? First, students are told that they will choose an appropriate photo to accompany a U.N. website commemorating the dropping of the bomb. Students are then introduced to 2 narratives about WWII: "Hiroshima as Victimization" (the Japanese point of view) vs. "Hiroshima as Triumph" (the American point of view). The class is then divided into 2 halves, each of which looks at a variety of source documents-anecdotes, letters, and data-through its side's point of view only. Students then form groups of 4 to choose which image should be used in the "website." Each group shares its image and explains why they chose it. In a final discussion, the class talks about whether the bomb should have been dropped and whether they can second-guess a decision like Truman's.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Social Security:

In this lesson, students analyze primary and secondary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Which historical account of Social Security is more accurate? Students begin by responding to a prompt: should out-of-work Americans receive government assistance? The teacher then streams a video on the New Deal and its critics, including Huey Long, followed by discussion. Students then look at the summarized views of 2 historians, Carl Degler and Barton Bernstein. In pairs, students summarize and discuss. They then read 3 primary source documents: 1) a 1935 speech by FDR, 2) the testimony of NAACP spokesman Charles Houston before Congress, and 3) a letter to Mrs. Roosevelt by an anonymous critic of Social Security. For each, students answer guiding questions. In a final class discussion, students corroborate the documents and use them to side with the views of 1 historian-Degler or Bernstein-over the other.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: King Philip's War of 1675:

This lesson challenges students to answer the central historical question: What caused King Philip's War of 1675? After warming up with some historical background information, students are presented with 2 primary source documents: a 1675 document ostensibly representing King Philip's "perspective" (but actually written by a colonist) and a post-war query as to the war's causes instigated by the English government. Students then answer questions (sourcing, contextualization, close reading) to analyze the passages and work in pairs to answer a final corroboration question on the war's ultimate cause.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Slavery in the Constitution:

In this lesson, students analyze a variety of primary and secondary sources in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did the Founding Fathers keep slavery in the Constitution? Students first read Thomas Jefferson's original (deleted) anti-slavery grievance from the Declaration of Independence. Students are then given brief statements from 4 different Founders (Benjamin Franklin among them). These are followed by paragraph-length analyses from 3 historians who comment from a historical distance on the Founders' unwillingness or inability to eliminate slavery. The lesson ends with a "debrief" class discussion.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Stamp Act:

In this lesson, students study the origins of the American Revolution and the colonial protests against the Stamp Act in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why were colonists upset about the Stamp Act? Students will read three primary source documents:

  1. a short piece form the Boston-Gazette urging protest,
  2. a letter from an English newspaper expressing bafflement over the protests, and
  3. a letter from tax collector John Hughes complaining of his ill-treatment and blaming it on the Presbyterians.

Following the teacher's model, students answer sourcing and contextualization questions for the first two documents and do the last on their own. Discussion questions which corroborate all three documents conclude the lesson.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Albert Parsons SAC:

In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents and engage in a Structured Academic Controversy in an effort to answer the central historical question: Was [Haymarket Riot defendant] Albert Parsons a dangerous man? First, the teacher uses a timeline to introduce Haymarket and the 8 men put on trial in its aftermath. Students are then given 6 documents-several by Parsons himself, but also a newspaper account of the trial, trial testimony, and a 2006 secondary source-and answer guiding questions. Students then divide into groups of 4 and into pairs within each group. Each pair presents the argument to the other that Parson was/was not "dangerous"; only at the end can students abandon their previous positions, reach consensus in writing as a group, and defend that view in a final class discussion.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Battle of Lexington:

In this lesson, students will study the first outbreak of violence in the American Revolution in an effort to answer the central historical question: What happened at the Battle of Lexington? Through sourcing and contextualization questions students will study a textbook passage on the battle, two primary source documents (one from a British soldier and one from a group of minutemen), and two paintings of the battle. As a final assessment, students will rewrite the textbook's account, taking into account the new perspectives they have learned.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Evaluating Sources :

In this lesson, students inhabit the roles of historians as they try to judge the accuracy and trustworthiness of one primary source over another. Students are divided into groups of 3 and given 6 historical questions-for each, 2 sources/accounts are listed and students explain which they find more trustworthy, and why. (Example: a high school history textbook vs. a contemporary newspaper account.) In a class discussion, students explain their answers, and the teacher has the opportunity to explain that true historical understanding is intertextual, depending on corroboration of sources.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Explosion of the Maine :

In this lesson, students analyze primary sources in an effort to answer the central historical question: What sank the Maine? The teacher introduces the concept of media sensationalism and shows a painting of the Maine's destruction and a propaganda song blaming the Spanish. Students then receive opposing newspaper accounts from Hearst's New York Herald and the New York Times; for each, they fill out a graphic organizer and/or guiding questions. A class discussion explores how the reporting of news influences readers' opinions. For homework, students explain--using textual evidence--which account they find more believable.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Homestead Strike:

In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did the Homestead Strike turn violent? The teacher first recaps labor/industry relations of the era and introduces the Homestead Strike with a timeline. The teacher then models sourcing and close reading techniques with a document: Emma Goldman's 1931 autobiography. Students then do the same with an 1892 newspaper interview of Henry Frick, followed by corroboration guiding questions that pit the 2 authors against each other. In a final class discussion, students evaluate the validity of the sources and debate whether the historical "truth" about the strike is knowable.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Irish Immigration:

In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Were the Irish considered "white" in the 19th century? The teacher introduces the topic with background information on anti-Irish hostility. Students are then split into groups of 4 and given 2 political cartoons (one by Thomas Nast), a primary source except from a Know-Nothing newspaper, and a secondary source by historian David Roediger. For each, they answer guiding questions, and then, using all 4 documents, compare evidence that Irish were/were not considered "white." A final class discussion addresses the racially ambiguous status of the Irish.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Lewis and Clark SAC:

In this lesson, students analyze primary and secondary source documents, as well as engage in a Structured Academic Controversy, in an effort to answer the central historical question: Were Lewis and Clark respectful to the Native Americans they encountered on their journey? Detailed directions are provided for both teacher and students as to how to conduct a Structured Academic Controversy. All primary and secondary source documents (a letter from Thomas Jefferson, 4 excerpts from Clark's journals from 1805 and 1806, and a Time magazine article exploring the expedition from the Native American's point of view) are included with the lesson.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Lunchroom Fight :

In this unique introductory lesson, teachers use the example of a hypothetical "lunchroom fight" to introduce students to the approach and disciplines they will use in the Reading Like a Historian curriculum, sourcing and corroboration in particular. Students pretend to be a principal who must debrief many different witnesses - students, teachers, etc. - to the fight. In groups, students answer guiding questions: why might there be so many versions of the truth? What might make 1 witness more/less believable than another? In a group discussion, the teacher connects this type of analysis to the students' upcoming study of historical primary sources.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Mapping the New World:

This lesson plan requires students to compare/contrast two maps, one from 1636 and the other from 1651, of early colonial Virginia. Students will think about how and why maps change over time, including how maps might be affected by changing historical events.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Nat Turner:

In this lesson, students analyze 3 source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Was Nat Turner a hero or a madman? The lesson begins by first reading the class textbook's account of the Nat Turner massacre and then reading a timeline which includes Turner's capture and execution. The teacher them models the first document, an excerpt from Thomas Gray's Confessions of Nat Turner, by helping students answer sourcing, contextualization, corroboration, and close reading questions. Students then do the same with 2 more documents: a newspaper editorial contemptuous of Turner and an admiring 1843 speech by Henry Garnet to the National Negro Convention. Finally, students use all 3 documents to write a response to the central question and discuss as a class: what kind of person was Nat Turner?

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Pocahontas:

This lesson focuses around two different versions of John Smith's "rescue" by Pocahontas. Students compare and contrast the two versions and encounter the idea of subjectivity versus objectivity in primary source historical documents. Finally, they read the brief opinions of two historians who provide their perspectives on the incident.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Puritans :

This lesson utilizes 2 primary sources—John Winthrop's "City on a Hill" speech and John Cotton's "The Divine Right to Occupy the Land" speech—to challenge students with the fundamental question: Were the Puritans selfish or selfless? Students respond by answering questions, writing an informal extended response utilizing textual evidence from both speeches, and discussing the issue in class.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Sharecropping:

In this lesson, students analyze a primary source document in an effort to answer the central historical question: How accurate is the textbook's description of sharecropping? Students first view an 1898 photo of sharecroppers-most will probably assume the workers to be slaves. In pairs, students then read their textbook's description of sharecropping and compare it to an actual 1882 sharecropping contract. Guiding questions on the document and a final discussion allow the class to judge the accuracy of the textbook's depiction.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Shays' Rebellion :

In this lesson, students analyze a primary source in an effort to answer the central historical question: How did Americans react to Shays' Rebellion? Students read a textbook excerpt (included) about Shays' Rebellion and a letter from Thomas Jefferson speaking about Shays' rebels. Students answer questions that ask them to analyze the letter through sourcing, contextualization, close reading, and corroboration questions. A final class discussion corroborates the textbook passage and the Jefferson letter in an effort to challenge the popular account in which all Americans feared the rebellion.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Snapshot Autobiography :

In this unique 2-day lesson, students reflect on events from their own lives to understand how learning history depends on different perspectives and the reliability of source information. On Day 1, students write their version of their birth and discuss the limitation of their own perspective with a classmate. For homework, they then create an autobiographical "pamphlet" of key events and must interview another person to get their perspective on the event, corroborating the 2 versions and taking notes on the interview. On Day 2, students share their events and what they have learned, and the teacher explains how studying history depends on a similar corroboration-cross-checking-of evidence.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: The Battle of the Little Bighorn:

In this lesson, students analyze primary and secondary sources in an effort to answer the central historical question: Who was responsible for the Battle of the Little Bighorn? After a mini-lecture on the late 1800s Indian Wars, students read a textbook account of the battle, and then compare it to 2 documents: 1) a report by the War Secretary, and 2) an account by Kate Bighead, a Cheyenne Indian. Students answer guiding questions for all documents, followed by a class discussion. For homework, students write a new textbook account using primary source information.

Type: Lesson Plan

Text Resource

Who Stole Helen Keller?:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the Social Studies content area. It is most appropriate for 9th-10th grade students enrolled in a U.S. History class.

This essay is a reevaluation of the life and reputation of Helen Keller, especially as it is commonly (mis)represented in textbooks and biographies for young readers. The author argues that Keller should be remembered for far more than being courageous, as she was also a "defiant rebel" and a radical.

Type: Text Resource

Tutorial

Sights and Sounds of the Roaring Twenties:

In this tutorial, you will explore an interactive map featuring video and audio clips that help you explore the sights and sounds of New York City in the 1920s. During this time in American history, life for Americans was in a constant state of change - culturally, politically, socially, and economically. Things were booming, especially in New York City. Enjoy this interactive exploration through an exciting time in American history!

Type: Tutorial

Video/Audio/Animations

How to Read a Document, Part 2: Analyzing FDR's Inaugural Address:

 

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

How to Read a Document, Part 1: Source Identification:

Learn how to "think like a historian" in this brief video from Khan Academy. Your hosts explain the difference between primary and secondary sources and analyze the beginning of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's First Inaugural Address.

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

Thinking Like a Historian:

Learn how to "think like a historian" in this brief video from Khan Academy. The speaker describes how thinking like a historian entails using the skills of a storyteller, a scientist, and a lawyer!

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

Student Resources

Vetted resources students can use to learn the concepts and skills in this benchmark.

Tutorial

Sights and Sounds of the Roaring Twenties:

In this tutorial, you will explore an interactive map featuring video and audio clips that help you explore the sights and sounds of New York City in the 1920s. During this time in American history, life for Americans was in a constant state of change - culturally, politically, socially, and economically. Things were booming, especially in New York City. Enjoy this interactive exploration through an exciting time in American history!

Type: Tutorial

Video/Audio/Animations

How to Read a Document, Part 2: Analyzing FDR's Inaugural Address:

 

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

How to Read a Document, Part 1: Source Identification:

Learn how to "think like a historian" in this brief video from Khan Academy. Your hosts explain the difference between primary and secondary sources and analyze the beginning of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's First Inaugural Address.

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

Thinking Like a Historian:

Learn how to "think like a historian" in this brief video from Khan Academy. The speaker describes how thinking like a historian entails using the skills of a storyteller, a scientist, and a lawyer!

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

Parent Resources

Vetted resources caregivers can use to help students learn the concepts and skills in this benchmark.