UMBCCenter for History Education

History Labs

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

Building Background Knowledge

Watch as teachers describe how they develop the background knowledge that students need for an effective History Lab experience.

Background knowledge helps students place the historical sources used in a History Lab into their appropriate context. Through contextualization, students unlock the claims made by authors and sources, and engage more deeply in understanding their purpose and perspective.

For students to think deeply about historical questions, they must first have a sufficient grasp of the time period and event they are investigating. They need to know the key concepts, personalities, and the chronology of their topic in order to investigate the overarching question, analyze evidence, and develop an evidence-based response.