Students Use Artifacts to Help Write DBQ’s

One of the hardest tasks for students to accomplish in writing is to have them consistently include outside information in Document Based Questions.  The above video and write up below by Kendra Damann outlines a great lesson for students in including outside info with artifact.  This can easily be translated as a model for how students should treat documents in their DBQs.

Great Job Kendra!

Classes:  Two Global History classes were involved (the first class was a pre-AP 9th grade World History class and the second class that participated was a Regents level Global History 9 class)
Number of students:  the first class had 21 students and the second class had 25 students
Time:  1 block (approximately 80 minutes)
Purpose: The content in Global/World History courses contain the study of the major World religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam).  Students learn the history of the development of the world religions, in addition to the basic beliefs, practices, and impact that each religion had on its followers and society as a whole.  The students were already taught about all of the religions with the exception of Islam, which will be covered later this year.  They were able to use some of their background knowledge to help them make connections with the artifacts and perhaps to also make inferences on the purpose of a particular artifact.  For example, in a conversation that I had with a couple of students, they connected their knowledge about Buddhism to some Buddhist prayer beads.  The students recognized the importance of meditation in Buddhism and also remembered that it was through meditation that the founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama, came to realization’s that served as the basis of Buddhism.
In my teaching experience, I have come to realize that many students have a very limited understanding of world culture.  In addition, many of the beliefs and concepts of the religions covered in the course are very abstract for most 9th grade students to understand.  The artifacts helped to make some of these abstract concepts/beliefs more tangible because the students could actually touch and interact with the artifacts.  The students also got an opportunity to experience what it means to work as historians by connecting their background knowledge to what they were observing.
Future Uses:  This was the first time that I utilized these artifact resources and to be honest, until now, I was not even aware that the MAG had these resources that teachers can borrow.  We used the artifacts primarily for review purposes (with the exception of the Islam kit, which was a preview of the religion).  In speaking with one of my Global History colleagues at Arcadia, we thought in the future that the artifact kits could be used as a tool to help teach each of the religions.
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