LAFS.1112.RH.1.3

Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.
General Information
Subject Area: English Language Arts
Grade: 1112
Strand: Reading Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies 6–12
Idea: Level 2: Basic Application of Skills & Concepts
Date Adopted or Revised: 12/10
Date of Last Rating: 02/14
Status: State Board Approved

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2102320: Economics Honors (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2019, 2019 - 2022 (current), 2022 and beyond)
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2106460: The American Political System: Process and Power Honors (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022 (current), 2022 and beyond)
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7921015: Access United States Government  (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2018, 2018 and beyond (current))
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2102340: Economics with Financial Literacy for Credit Recovery (Specifically in versions: 2015 - 2018, 2018 - 2022 (current), 2022 and beyond)
2102345: Economics with Financial Literacy Honors (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2018, 2018 - 2022 (current), 2022 and beyond)
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7921042: Fundamental Economics with Financial Literacy (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2017 (course terminated))
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2102372: Personal Financial Literacy (Specifically in versions: 2015 - 2018, 2018 - 2019, 2019 - 2022 (current), 2022 and beyond)
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Related Access Points

Alternate version of this benchmark for students with significant cognitive disabilities.

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Lesson Plans

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Reading Like a Historian: Gulf of Tonkin Resolution:

In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Was the U.S. planning to go war with North Vietnam before the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution? The teacher begins by showing a map of Vietnam (PowerPoint) and giving students extensive background information-and a timeline-about U.S. involvement in the conflict. Students then review 4 documents: 1) the text of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, 2) a memo from McGeorge Bundy to LBJ, 3) a telegram from State Secretary Rusk to the Vietnamese embassy, and 4) the transcript of a phone conversation between Bundy and LBJ. Students answer extensive guiding questions for all documents and write a paragraph-length response to the central question, corroborating all that they have learned. A final class discussion evaluates the evidence.

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Reading Like a Historian: Anti-Vietnam War Movement:

In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did many Americans oppose the Vietnam War? First, students view 2 anti-war images and a timeline of anti-war events. They fill out a graphic organizer and formulate a hypothesis that answers the central question; discussion follows. Students then read 2 documents: a speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. and John Kerry's testimony before Congress. For both, they complete questions on a graphic organizer. Final class discussion: Why did anti-war sentiment grow? Did only college kinds participate? How do you think supporters of the war might have responded?

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Reading Like a Historian: Montgomery Bus Boycott:

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Reading Like a Historian: Korean War:

In this lesson, students analyze secondary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Who started the Korean War? The teacher begins by first explaining that textbooks can be biased sources and then uses a brief PowerPoint to show the geography of Korea and why/when war began there. Students then form pairs and read 2 accounts of the war: one from a South Korean textbook and another from a North Korean book. For both, students not only summarize and answer questions, but they must identify which source is which (North or South Korea?) and use textual details to prove it. In a class discussion, students share their answers. If time remains, the class may corroborate these sources with their own class textbook.

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Reading Like a Historian: Cuban Missile Crisis:

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Reading Like a Historian: Atomic Bomb:

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Reading Like a Historian: Japanese Internment:

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Reading Like a Historian: Zoot Suit Riots:

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Reading Like a Historian: Social Security:

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Reading Like a Historian: Scopes Trial:

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Reading Like a Historian: Palmer Raids:

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Reading Like a Historian: Marcus Garvey:

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Reading Like a Historian: Prohibition:

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Reading Like a Historian: Chicago Race Riots of 1919:

In this lesson, students analyze primary and secondary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: What caused the Chicago race riots of 1919? The teacher begins with a mini-lecture on the Great Migration and then streams the video trailer for a documentary film called Up South. Students then read 2 secondary source accounts of the riots: 1 from a generic textbook and another from John H. Franklin's From Slavery to Freedom. Students analyze with a graphic organizer and discuss: which account is more believable and why? They then do the same for 3 primary sources, drawn from contemporary newspapers and magazines. A final class discussion attempts to identify the real cause of the riots and places them in a larger context of racial violence at the time.

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Reading Like a Historian: Sedition in WWI:

In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Were critics of the First World War anti-American? Students begin by free-writing: what is patriotism? Is it unpatriotic to criticize one's government? Students receive 2 documents: a speech by Eugene Debs and a pamphlet by Charles Schenck. For both, they answer detailed questions on a graphic organizer. After discussing, students then look at the text of the 1917 Sedition Act and answer guiding questions. Finally, the class looks at Oliver Wendell Holmes' Supreme Court decision ruling against Schenck and discuss: Did he break the law? Do you agree with the decision? For homework, students answer the central question in writing with evidence from the documents.

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Reading Like a Historian: U.S. Entry into WWI:

In this lesson, designed to follow a more general lesson on the causes and warring parties of WWI, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did the U.S. enter World War I? The teacher begins with a mini-lesson on Woodrow Wilson. Students then read 2 Wilson documents: 1) a 1914 speech urging American neutrality and 2) Wilson's 1917 speech on the U.S. entry into the war. Students then read their class textbook's explanation for the end of U.S. neutrality, followed by an excerpt from Howard Zinn's People's History of the United States. For all documents, students answer guiding questions which stress contextualization and close reading. A final class discussion evaluates Zinn's views and compares them to the other sources.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Anti-Suffragists:

In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did people, including women, oppose women's suffrage? It is recommended (but not essential) that the teacher begin by screening some of the HBO film Iron Jawed Angels to start a discussion about the motives of anti-suffragists. In groups, students then analyze 3 documents: 1) an excerpt from Molly Seawell's anti-suffragist book, 2) an anti-suffrage newspaper article, and 3) a speech by Tennessee Congressman John Moon. For each, students answer questions on a graphic organizer. In a final class discussion, students discuss the validity of anti-suffragists' motives, relate them to the film, and discuss what other sources they might want to read for further corroboration and contextualization.

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Reading Like a Historian: King Philip's War of 1675:

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Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Slavery in the Constitution:

In this lesson, students analyze a variety of primary and secondary sources in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did the Founding Fathers keep slavery in the Constitution? Students first read Thomas Jefferson's original (deleted) anti-slavery grievance from the Declaration of Independence. Students are then given brief statements from 4 different Founders (Benjamin Franklin among them). These are followed by paragraph-length analyses from 3 historians who comment from a historical distance on the Founders' unwillingness or inability to eliminate slavery. The lesson ends with a "debrief" class discussion.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Stamp Act:

In this lesson, students study the origins of the American Revolution and the colonial protests against the Stamp Act in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why were colonists upset about the Stamp Act? Students will read three primary source documents:

  1. a short piece form the Boston-Gazette urging protest,
  2. a letter from an English newspaper expressing bafflement over the protests, and
  3. a letter from tax collector John Hughes complaining of his ill-treatment and blaming it on the Presbyterians.

Following the teacher's model, students answer sourcing and contextualization questions for the first two documents and do the last on their own. Discussion questions which corroborate all three documents conclude the lesson.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Battle of Lexington:

In this lesson, students will study the first outbreak of violence in the American Revolution in an effort to answer the central historical question: What happened at the Battle of Lexington? Through sourcing and contextualization questions students will study a textbook passage on the battle, two primary source documents (one from a British soldier and one from a group of minutemen), and two paintings of the battle. As a final assessment, students will rewrite the textbook's account, taking into account the new perspectives they have learned.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Chinese Immigration and Exclusion:

In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: What factors contributed to the Chinese Exclusion Act? After a mini-lecture on the Transcontinental Railroad, students read a timeline and formulate hypotheses as to why Chinese were legally excluded from mainstream society in 1882. They then answer guiding questions on 4 documents: 1) an anti-Chinese play, 2) a Thomas Nast cartoon, 3) an anti-Chinese speech, and 4) the autobiography of a Chinese immigrant. For homework, students write a 1-page answer to the central question using evidence from the documents.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Declaration of Independence :

In this lesson, students study primary and secondary sources in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did the Founders write the Declaration of Independence? Students will examine contrasting views by two historians. Then they will read the preamble of the Declaration (2 versions of varying reading complexity are provided) and rewrite it in their own words. Students will also examine a simplified list of the grievances against King George specified in the Declaration. Finally, students and teacher attempt to answer the central question and determine which featured historian has the better argument.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Emancipation Proclamation:

In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Did Lincoln free the slaves or did the slaves free themselves? The teacher may use background information (provided) to set up the topic. Students then examine 2 documents: 1) Lincoln's text of the Proclamation itself and 2) an 1881 recollection by Frederick Douglass on a meeting with Lincoln. For each, students answer worksheet questions in pairs and then fill out a graphic organizer to reach a conclusion. A final class discussion ends the lesson.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Explosion of the Maine :

In this lesson, students analyze primary sources in an effort to answer the central historical question: What sank the Maine? The teacher introduces the concept of media sensationalism and shows a painting of the Maine's destruction and a propaganda song blaming the Spanish. Students then receive opposing newspaper accounts from Hearst's New York Herald and the New York Times; for each, they fill out a graphic organizer and/or guiding questions. A class discussion explores how the reporting of news influences readers' opinions. For homework, students explain--using textual evidence--which account they find more believable.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Great Awakening:

In this lesson, students study the Great Awakening and one of its most notable preachers, George Whitefield, in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why was George Whitefield so popular? After viewing an online film clip and a brief PowerPoint to establish context for the Great Awakening and some of its "superstar" preachers, students are presented with three primary sources regarding Whitefield:

  1. a long-after-the-fact anecdote by Benjamin Franklin,
  2. a contemporary (but undated) account by a born-again Whitefield follower Nathan Cole, and
  3. a hostile and dismissive letter by a rival preacher, Nathanael Henchman.

For each, students answer sourcing and contextualization questions and formulate a hypothesis as to Whitefield's popularity. A culminating class discussion addresses the central question.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Hamilton vs. Jefferson:

In this lesson, students analyze two primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: What were the differences between [Alexander] Hamilton and [Thomas] Jefferson? Students first read a textbook summary/description (not included) of the Hamilton/Jefferson dynamic. Then, students are given a letter by each man—both addressed to George Washington and written on the same day—each of which addresses the ongoing feud with the other man. In pairs, students read the documents and answer sourcing, corroboration, contextualization, and close reading questions, including some intriguing ones which encourage students to "pick sides" in the rivalry.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Homestead Strike:

In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did the Homestead Strike turn violent? The teacher first recaps labor/industry relations of the era and introduces the Homestead Strike with a timeline. The teacher then models sourcing and close reading techniques with a document: Emma Goldman's 1931 autobiography. Students then do the same with an 1892 newspaper interview of Henry Frick, followed by corroboration guiding questions that pit the 2 authors against each other. In a final class discussion, students evaluate the validity of the sources and debate whether the historical "truth" about the strike is knowable.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Japanese Segregation in San Francisco:

In this lesson, students analyze primary sources in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did Teddy Roosevelt oppose the segregation of San Francisco's public schools? The teacher first informs students of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the resultant attempted segregation of Japanese students. Students then read 4 source documents-letters and public speeches-in which President Roosevelt discusses his reasons for opposing the law, as well as a political cartoon addressing the issue. For each, students answer questions on a graphic organizer: Why do you think TR opposed the issue? What can you infer about the U.S. in 1906? Finally, the class goes over a timeline of relevant events, enabling the teacher to show how reading contextually lets students learn historical context from documents. Students then respond in writing, using all evidence to reach a conclusion of their own.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: John Brown:

In this lesson, students analyze several primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Was John Brown a "misguided fanatic?" The teacher may use a PowerPoint and/or timeline (both are included) to set up the topic. Students then examine 2-3 documents (note: 3 are included, but the third is optional and guiding questions for it are not included): 1) Brown's last letter, written on the day of his death sentence, 2) an 1881 recollection by Frederick Douglass, and 3) a letter by Brown admirer L. Maria Child. Students answer sourcing and contextualization questions for each, and a final class discussion address Brown's fanaticism or lack of it.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Mapping the New World:

This lesson plan requires students to compare/contrast two maps, one from 1636 and the other from 1651, of early colonial Virginia. Students will think about how and why maps change over time, including how maps might be affected by changing historical events.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Nat Turner:

In this lesson, students analyze 3 source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Was Nat Turner a hero or a madman? The lesson begins by first reading the class textbook's account of the Nat Turner massacre and then reading a timeline which includes Turner's capture and execution. The teacher them models the first document, an excerpt from Thomas Gray's Confessions of Nat Turner, by helping students answer sourcing, contextualization, corroboration, and close reading questions. Students then do the same with 2 more documents: a newspaper editorial contemptuous of Turner and an admiring 1843 speech by Henry Garnet to the National Negro Convention. Finally, students use all 3 documents to write a response to the central question and discuss as a class: what kind of person was Nat Turner?

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Philippine War Political Cartoons :

In this lesson, students analyze political cartoons in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did the United States annex the Philippines after the Spanish-American War? The teacher first uses a timeline to review basic information about the war, then distributes Rudyard Kipling's poem "The White Man's Burden," which students analyze in pairs. Then, students are split into 6 groups and receive 2 different cartoons each: 1 from a pro-imperial magazine like Judge or Puck, and 1 from an anti-imperial magazine like Life or The World. Using a graphic organizer, students examine the cartoons and then present 1 of them to the class, explaining how the cartoonist makes his point. A final class discussion contextualizes the cartoons and the events of the late 1890s.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Pocahontas:

This lesson focuses around two different versions of John Smith's "rescue" by Pocahontas. Students compare and contrast the two versions and encounter the idea of subjectivity versus objectivity in primary source historical documents. Finally, they read the brief opinions of two historians who provide their perspectives on the incident.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Populism and the Election of 1896:

In this lesson, students analyze primary sources in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did the Populist Party attract millions of supporters? The teacher begins with a PowerPoint which reviews the struggles of farmers and the emergence of political populism. Students then read a speech by populist speaker Mary Elizabeth Lease and annotate it. They then answer guiding questions about William Jennings Bryan's "Cross of Gold" speech (excerpt). A final class discussion attempts to explain populism's appeal-then and now.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Progressive Social Reformers SAC:

In this lesson, students analyze primary sources and engage in a Structured Academic Controversy in an effort to answer the central historical question: What were the attitudes of Progressive social reformers toward immigrants? Students first read their textbook's passage on the Social Gospel and Settlement Houses. The teacher reviews the material, emphasizing main points, and then streams a brief film clip (link included) about women in the Progressive era. Students then divide into groups of 4 and into pairs within each group. Each pair presents the argument to the other that social reformers were either (Pair A) generous and helpful or (Pair B) condescending and judgmental. Only at the end can students abandon their previous positions, reach consensus in writing as a group, and defend that view in a final class discussion: how did social attitudes then differ from those of today?

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Salem Witch Trials :

In this lesson, students investigate and answer the central historical question: What caused the Salem Witch Crisis of 1692? After brainstorming and learning some background context for the witch trials, pairs of students read and answer sourcing questions for 2 primary sources: a Cotten Mather speech and the testimony of Abigail Hobbs, a teenager accused of witchcraft. After they draw preliminary conclusions, students are then given 2 more documents—a chart and a map—which ground the witch trials in an economic and geographic context. Students ultimately draw on all 4 documents to explain the witch trials' cause in writing, and then share their conclusions with the class.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Soldiers in the Philippines:

In this lesson, students analyze primary sources in an effort to answer the central historical question: What accounted for American atrocities during the Philippine War? The teacher first uses a timeline to review basic information about the Philippine occupation and the 1902 Senate hearings regarding atrocities. Students then read numerous source documents from witness and participants in the war: the testimony of U.S. soldiers to the Senate, letters from soldiers to home, and a report from a Filipino soldier. Students use the sources and a graphic organizer to test 3 different hypotheses as to why soldiers were brutal. In a 1-page final response, students write about the hypothesis they find most convincing, using textual evidence. A final class discussion follows.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Spanish American War :

In this lesson, students analyze primary sources in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did the U.S invade Cuba? The teacher streams a short film (link included) while students take notes as to possible reasons for the invasion. Students then read the following: 1) song lyrics of an anti-Spanish propaganda a song written after the Maine sinking, 2) a telegram sent by Fitzhugh Lee, U.S. Consul-General in Cuba, and 3) a Senate campaign speech from Albert Beveridge. For each, students complete a graphic organizer and guiding questions. A final class discussion goes back to the original class hypotheses and determines which ones are most supported by the evidence.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Texas Independence:

In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did Texans declare independence from Mexico in 1836? The teacher introduces the topic with a film clip (Note: requires registration to Discovery Education's website) and timeline and elicits student hypotheses. Students are then given 4 documents: 1) the Texas Declaration of Independence, 2) a letter by Tejano Rafael Manchola, 3) a speech by Mexican Juan Seguin, and 4) a pamphlet by abolitionist Benjamin Lundy. Students then analyze each using a graphic organizer; a final class discussion invites students to participate in the historical debate.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: The 1898 North Carolina Election:

In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did the Democrats defeat the Fusion ticket in the 1898 North Carolina election? The teacher first recaps Southern politics and Populism, and then goes over a timeline. Students, in groups, analyze 3 documents-an account of a speech by Senator Ben Tillman, a proclamation by Governor Daniel Russell, and a race-baiting political cartoon-and answer guiding questions. A final class discussion attempts to explain why Democrats won in 1898.

Type: Lesson Plan

Student Resources

Vetted resources students can use to learn the concepts and skills in this benchmark.

Parent Resources

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