Investigate Ancient World History & Write Critiques

Ancient World History Investigations: Critique

Five World History investigations prepare students to write Critiques of other people’s interpretations of historical or social issues in letters to contemporary audiences. Critique tasks call for students to write arguments that critique a current interpretation of a historical or social issue made by someone else. Writing tasks set a purpose for each investigation, whether trying to understand the concept of reliability in the Silk Road investigation or trying to understand the perspective of people in the past in the Hammurabi investigation. Each investigation creates a process for social studies inquiry and writing across five days that begins with making connections to students’ lives and extending their incoming knowledge. Check out the Writing Progression page on our website to learn about the different styles of argument writing that are supported by RIW investigations. 

What's in an investigation?

Each World History investigation is designed around a central question and includes a collection of modified primary and secondary sources which offer students a range of perspectives from which to draw on when constructing their response. Each investigation is structured by seven disciplinary literacy tools that facilitate student talk and discussion as they prepare to write a one-sided argument that critiques someone else’s interpretation.

The following resources accompany each investigation: a PowerPoint to guide instruction; a student packet of materials; a detailed teacher guide; samples of student writing scored using our argument writing rubrics; a video overview of the investigation; a video of students’ thinking about the material; a video that models for students how to analyze sources using the Bookmark tool; audio files with us reading the sources aloud; and supports for bi- and multi-lingual learners in English, Arabic, and Spanish. All files can be freely downloaded and edited with proper attribution (they may not be sold or used for profit). Student materials include Microsoft Word and Google Doc versions.

One way to organize an investigation in the classroom

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