- Grade Level: High School, Middle School
- Subject Area: Social Studies
Students will discuss what makes for a valid historical resource. During the discussion, students will develop a list of questions to use as guides in viewing and responding to the film Pocahontas.
Students will evaluate historical evidence to determine if it is reliable.
Have students engage in a discussion of historical resources using the following questions:
- Ask students to define what constitutes a historical resource. Have the class brainstorm a list of examples of historical resources: text books, pictures, etc.
- Ask students why historical resources are important for us? What do they do for us?
- Ask students how they know if something is a valid historical reference? How can they decide if the information provided is reliable and accurate? Brainstorm a list of strategies to ascertain reliability and accuracy: for example, look for examples of incidents that seem to be exaggerated, question the perspective of the source (who created the resource and how might their views affect their work), check with other resources to confirm or deny evidence, ask experts, etc.
- Why is it important to know if a historical resource is accurate or not?
Brainstorm some consequences of what might happen if inaccurate information is used.
- Tell students that the next class period they will view Pocahontas with an eye towards whether it is an example of an accurate historical resource.
- Ask students to work in groups to develop a list of questions they will use to evaluate the movie based on the previous conversation. Examples might include looking for things that seem exaggerated, examples of logical or historical contradictions, use of prior knowledge about Native Americans and the Pocahontas story, etc.
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