The concept for my project is a website called Uncovering History that will eventually serve as a repository for digital lessons I create to engage students in learning to think historically and to make that thinking visible. The landing page for Uncovering History will briefly explain the concepts of historical thinking and coverage vs. uncoverage as expressed in the writings of Calder, Levesque and Wineberg for teachers who are interested in digging more deeply for their middle and high school students. The inspiration for the site will be the question “How do the raw materials of the past reveal an understanding of history?” While the larger site will be a work in progress, the primary focus of this project will be developing a series of lessons over three to four days that help students to grapple with this question.
My source material includes items in the collection of the British Museum found in the Vale of York Viking hoard. I have used these items under the museum’s CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and created an archive called Uncovering A Discovery. Students will use the archive to work with the digital resources in order to make sense of individual items and to begin to categorize them into groups that will help them to construct a larger historical narrative about how the items might have come together under the influence of trade networks and geographical connections. Students will also employ Maker technology and good old fashioned Model Magic to recreate the hoard in order to explore how material culture differs from digital culture in exploring history.
The main issue I continue to grapple with is making the lesson streamlined enough so that it doesn’t take too many class days in an already jam-packed year. Having scaffolded discussion questions and guided lessons will help in this regard. I also plan to use the concept of adaptations and extensions so that teachers with more or less time can use the lesson as inspiration for their own needs.
Eventually, I will build out other lessons that help students visualize historical thinking skills with raw materials from other historical eras such as the Roman world and Islamic civilizations.