Effectively Using Social Studies Textbooks in Historical Inquiry by Scott L. Roberts

Prompt: “In a paragraph or two; what are the strengths of using textbooks to generate lesson plans?”


The article names four strengths to planning lessons around textbooks. The first strength is that the textbook is a great way to provide background information or the context of the topic you are learning in a concise and straightforward manner. It is also an accessible source that all the students will have. Secondly, the textbook is designed around state standards. A third strength is that the textbook itself is great resource of primary and secondary sources in the forms of graphs, images, letters, maps, etc.  The final strength is that textbooks today are more inclusive and accurate from those in the past. As long as you use the textbook properly and in conjunction with other sources, then you will have a strong lesson plan.

Prompt: “Do the first two steps that Roberts recommends (on page 121) with any standard of your choosing (using the standards I’ve provided below). SO, just write out a response in two parts:”

a) Select a (state or national) standard you find interesting.

9.2.2 9/11 and Responses to Terrorism – Analyze how the attacks on 9/11 and the response to terrorism have altered American domestic and international policies (including e.g., the Office of Homeland Security, Patriot Act, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, role of the United States in the United Nations, NATO). (from the Michigan State Standards/ US History)

b) Develop an interesting question around that standard.

How did the United States international policies change after 9/11? What is the same? What is different?

It seems much of it remained the same. Still going to war, but instead of trying to prevent communism we went to promoting democracy at the barrel of a gun. Still very imperialistic and it seems that we only help countries that we have an economic incentive to do so, but I would have to do more research myself to answer this question. This would be an essential question I would want to personally have answered and a good one for students studying U.S. history since we never seem to get to more “current” history. What has changed? What has remained the same?

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