Lessons on History Skills

Middle school students can benefit greatly from learning history skills. History mainly involves people, places, dates, and situations that we have no personal knowledge of, and it is crucial for students to learn how to ask questions about the past to improve their overall understanding of the historical period they are studying. This section of the resource library within the Cunning History Teacher, provides lesson plans that will help any student develop historical skills.

To accomplish this, students need to develop the following historical skills:

  • Background knowledge: As students study the past, they will come across a wide range of historical words, names, people, places, and dates that they may not have encountered before. To understand more complex historical concepts, students must first gain a clear understanding and familiarity with this new information.
  • Chronology: Understanding chronology is one of the first steps any history student must take. Without chronology skills, it is difficult for students to examine the relationships between events and explain cause and effects that impact historical relationships.
  • Change and Continuity: History is the study of change over time, and it is important for students to understand how empires, governments, languages, ideas, technology, attitudes, ideology, and social constructs change over time.
  • Causes and Consequences: Understanding that nothing just simply ‘happens’ without a reason and that students must perfect their skills in asking appropriate questions and conducting further research to understand what caused an event and what were the consequences.
  • Significance: Understanding significant events, people, and ideas and their impact on the world can allow students to understand the world in which we live today.
  • Motives and Empathy: As students study history, they will come across a large variety of people who thought, spoke, and acted in ways that are foreign to us today. It is important for students to understand the time period, the values, and morals of those people, and evaluate and make informed judgments without imposing our values and morals on them. This will allow students to display a sense of empathy for another’s way of life.

All the lessons plans have been created with the help and feedback of middle school students who have studied history, and are editable to allow teachers to adapt them to their individual teaching style and the needs of their students.

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