COMMON CORE STANDARDS
Reading Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies
RH.9-10.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.
RH.9-10.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.
RH.9-10.6 Compare the point of view of two or more authors for how they treat the same or similar topics, including which details they include and emphasize in their respective accounts.
Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies
WHST.9-10.1 Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.
CONNECTICUT ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SOCIAL STUDIES (C3) FRAMEWORKS
(CT Teachers should use the CT history standards listed below in lieu of the Maryland standards included in the lesson)
Dimension 2: Applying Disciplinary Concepts and Tools
HIST 9-12.1 Evaluate how historical events and developments were shaped by unique circumstances of time and place as well as broader historical contexts.
HIST 9-12.3 Analyze complex and interacting factors that influenced the perspectives of people during different historical eras.
HIST 9-12.12 Integrate evidence from multiple relevant historical sources and interpretations into a reasoned argument about the past.
COLLEGE, CAREER, AND CIVIC LIFE (C3) FRAMEWORK FOR SOCIAL STUDIES STANDARDS MARYLAND
D2.His.1.9-12 Evaluate how historical events and developments were shaped by unique circumstances of time and place as well as broader historical contexts.
D2.His.4.9-12 Analyze complex and interacting factors that influenced the perspectives of people during different historical eras.
D4.1.9-12 Construct arguments using precise and knowledgeable claims, with evidence from multiple sources, while acknowledging counterclaims and evidentiary weaknesses.
DESCRIPTION OF LESSON
This Grades 9-10 lesson titled “Should the United States Have Entered World War I?” was created by Shaina McQueen, Howard County Public School System, Maryland in partnership with the UMBC Center for History Education. In this lesson students engage in a close read of two primary source documents with conflicting perspectives in order to understand and evaluate the reasons why the United States joined the war. As a culminating task, students write a letter to the editor of a national newspaper in which they develop an evidenced-based argument for or against U.S. entry into the war.
Connecticut teachers should be cautioned that the website and the teacher notes/preparation materials will require familiarity to be used effectively. While the instructional steps are carefully scripted, the time it will take to complete the lesson is not provided. The Connecticut Elementary and Secondary Social Studies Frameworks (C3) standards have been included above to help CT classroom teachers make the transition from Maryland’s history standards. Additional supports and accommodations may be needed for students who are ELL, have disabilities, or read well below the grade level text band. In order for students to be successful with this performance assessment task, they should have a prior understanding of the factors leading to the outbreak of war in Europe, the extent of U.S. involvement in the conflict to 1917, arguments for U.S. neutrality, and incidents that might have provoked the United States to enter the war.
RATIONALE FOR SELECTION
This lesson is a good example of how to make reading text closely, examining textual evidence, and discerning deep meaning a central focus of instruction. The instructional activities focus on engaging students in a productive struggle with primary source documents through discussion questions and other supports that build toward independence. Materials include all required texts, a scripted lesson, lesson handouts and a Historical Thinking Skills Rubric for scoring the letter to the editor.