Relation to Standards
We have drawn on the historical thinking standards outlined by the National Center for History in the Schools [http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/nchs/]. These standards provide excellent guidelines for teachers on how to focus social studies work in their classrooms.
As a social studies unit, the Investigating Environmental Legislation Unit strives to help students develop "[h]istorical understandings that define what students should know about the history of families, their communities, states, nation, and world. These understandings are drawn from the record of human aspirations, strivings, accomplishments and failures in at least five spheres of human activity: the social, political, scientific [and] technological, economic, and cultural as appropriate for children."
We agree with the researchers at the National Center for History in the Schools that developing "real historical understanding requires students to engage in historical thinking: to raise questions and to marshal evidence in support of their answers; to go beyond the facts presented in their textbooks and examine the historical record for themselves; to consult documents, journals, diaries, artifacts, historic sites, and other evidence from the past, and to do so imaginatively -- taking into account the historical context in which these records were created and comparing the multiple points of view of those on the scene at the time." (Historical Thinking Standards, National Center for History in the Schools)
An evaluation of how the Investigating Environmental Legislation Unit addresses some of the National History Standards:
The Mid-Continent Writing Standards [http://www.mcrel.org/standards-benchmarks/standardslib/langarts.html] suggest helpful general and specific skills for K-12 students to learn, and consist of four (4) items or tasks specified for several grade levels.
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