UMBCCenter for History Education

History Labs

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

Developing Overarching Questions

Watch as students and teachers demonstrate how well-constructed overarching questions facilitate historical inquiry.

Good questions are central to the historical method and the History Lab model. Historians pose questions about the past. They examine the available evidence and develop answers to their questions. Such questions serve as the primary prompt for all History Labs.

Effective History Labs are based on engaging, open-ended questions that draw student interest and enable them to craft their own answers based on the available evidence. The questions should be intriguing or provocative, avoid single or simplistic answers, and be linked with relevant historical evidence. When students are captivated by an overarching question, they will delve into their exploration of the historical topic.