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OUSD Historical Thinking Standards Overview | OUSD Historical Thinking Standards Gr 9 - 12

INTRODUCTION : The History-Social Science Framework is a history-based curriculum until the twelfth grade. At that point, students are to learn American Government and Economics. Throughout our standards we have used the term "historical thinking" to explain the skills and concepts that constitute the discipline of history. While the categories of historical thinking cannot be directly applied to government and economics we notice a great overlap in the kind of thinking required for all of the disciplines.

A course in government and economics is not simply giving and receiving information. Rather, we ask our students to use evidence (court opinions editorials, census data, campaign ads and economic indicators) and to examine how others have used it, to study multiple perspectives and understand why these different perspectives exist, to analyze and interpret political and economic events to understand the importance and significance of what they're studying and to prepare to participate in the social and political life of the community Therefore, in the twelfth grade, we continue to use the categories of Evidence, Diversity and Multiple Perspectives, Interpretation, and Significance. We have deleted the category of Chronology and have added a category titled Participation.


Read a newspaper article and underline the sources of information. See if these sources are attributable to an individual or if they are vague (e.g. "a high government official").

Examine statistics on voter registration.

Examine political ads to find common components (e.g., short, dramatic, etc.).

Track five common economic indicators over month's period.

Follow a stock over a month's period.

Analyze ads to see what audiences are targeted by the producers of the product.

Collect newspaper articles on the disparity of income
distribution as it affects health and education.

Read accounts of Pul]man Porters to see how unions organize.

Diversity & Multiple

Debate any bill pending in Congress from different political perspectives.

Investigate a variety of interest groups' opinions on welfare reform and write a position paper stating your own view.

Hold a Congressional hearing on NAFTA or most-favored-nation status and represent different points of view at the hearing.

Simulate a labor negotiation.

Stage a debate between Karl Marx and Adam Smith on the topic, "Is Profit a Good Idea?

Read newspaper accounts and speeches of both sides of the bilingual education debate.

Study pro/con ballot arguments on Indian casino gambling.

Debate whether the Constitution should be changed to give the President the power to declare war.


Read a court opinion and decide if it is an example of judicial activism or judicial restraint.

Read a court case on the 14th Amendment and write your own interpretation of the Constitution in regard to the case.

Act out the role of a City Council member and make a decision on requests for. permits in your city (for example, a request for a Nazi demonstration or a request for a rock concert late at night). Justify your decision on the basis of the 1st Amendment.

Put former President Nixon or Johnson on trial for abuse of executive power.

Look at a series of graphs and charts of socioeconomic indicators (health care, education, unemployment, cost of housing, per-capita income) and write an interpretation of what these statistics mean for a family of four.


Write an essay on the meaning and significance of "equal protection under the law".

Explain how Brown v.. Board of Education impacted American society.

• Write an essay stating which President between 1932 and today had the greatest impact on the United States

Have a roundtable discussion answering the. question, "How significant are political parties today?"

Read three accounts of an economic event (e.g., the Great Depression) and compare similarities and differences.

Research the ruling on Lau v. Nichols and write an essay discussing its impact American education.

Do research on the political and economic impact of the changing population of California between 1975 and today.

5 .

Develop a plan to increase voter registration.

Volunteer for a local candidate.

Participate in a mock trial, a moot court or a "We the people" competition.

Learn how to fill out a voter registration form.

Track an issue in the media and make a class presentation.

Write a letter to your Congresswoman.

Attend a school board meeting.

Volunteer with a community agency to improve literacy in Oakland.

Write a personal response to president Kennedy's statement," Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."

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