UMBCCenter for History Education

History Labs

A Guided Approach to Historical Inquiry in the K-12 Classroom

Presenting and Supporting Interpretations

In this video segment students and teachers discuss developing, defending, and revising answers to the historical questions that frame various History Labs. It is at this point that students move from simply regurgitating historical “facts” to using evidence and information to defend their answers to historical questions.

As they work through the History Labs, students develop, present, and revise their answers and the interpretations that underpin them. Students use their analysis and corroboration of the relevant historical sources, together with their content knowledge about the subject under examination, to craft positions on the nature, causes, consequences, or significance of the events, individuals, and/or ideas under examination.

It is essential that students “ground” their answers to the overarching question in the evidence provided by the sources. Interpretations that emphasize some sources over others, or critically evaluate the sources to validate certain information or perspective, or use the sources to construct an entirely new narrative of the subject, mirror the interpretative work of historians, and are the effective learning outcomes of History Labs.