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ERIC Number: EJ1002092
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0037-7724
Cold vs. Hot War: A Model for Building Conceptual Knowledge in History
Scheurman, Geoffrey
Social Education, v76 n1 p32-37 Jan-Feb 2012
Students often report that social studies is their most boring and least favorite subject. As a child, Woodrow Wilson was bored by history, later describing his early studies as "one damn fact after another." Of course, Wilson went on to become an eminent historian, but only after he learned to reach beyond the "closed catechism" of "questions already answered" to the exciting themes and processes that gave those facts meaning. Central to Wilson's discovery were questions that guide inquiry in the field, procedures that experts use to carry out this inquiry, and generalizations, principles or theories that frame the results of that process. Together, these big ideas comprise the conceptual backbone that holds the narratives of history together. Taking time to identify the big ideas in a lesson, unit, or course, insures that teachers do not drown students in too much minutiae. And coming to grips with essential concepts provides the best chance for students to construct deep knowledge structures that will transfer to contexts beyond the classroom. (Contains 2 tables and 1 note.)
National Council for the Social Studies. 8555 Sixteenth Street #500, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Tel: 800-683-0812; Tel: 301-588-1800; Fax: 301-588-2049; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A