At the root of every research project is the questioning process. Every step along the research path requires that we know how to ask the right questions. It's important to encourage and instruct youth in skillful question asking.
Creating a KWL Chart on the project topic
A KWL chart is a common inquiry-based activity.
Estimated Time: 30 minutes
- Journals and pencils
- Chart paper or Butcher Paper
- Different Colored Markers
Begin with a KWL chart on the project topic. What does the group already Know about the topic? What do they Want to learn? Create a list of questions. How could student historians find the answers to the questions? Use their responses as a way of assessing their prior knowledge, and tailor your instruction according to their needs and interests. After the lecture, add what the group Learned to the chart.
Use the historical essays on the Picture This site to provide some of the necessary background information to youth through a lecture format and assigned reading. Ask youth to take careful notes on the material presented.
Visual Continuation of the KWL chart
Estimated Time: 30 minutes for each grouping of images, documents, and/or artifacts
- Chart Paper
- Images: historic photographs, drawings, editorial cartoons
- Documents: historic and present-day maps, short diary extract, short newspaper articles, etc.
- Artifacts: objects related to the research theme
- On separate tables, compile groups of images, documents, and/or artifacts to be compared.
- Create small groups and ask the groups to spend about ten minutes with each grouping. Ask youth to a) list general observations about each document or artifact within the group, b) consider why the pieces are grouped together and what comparisons can be made and, c) consider the questions these images, documents, or artifacts raise.
- Rotate teams until all have studied each of the groupings.
- Ask students to share their observations and questions. On chart paper, list the observations and questions. Discuss the importance of their questions and that you will be returning to the questions during the next phase of background research.