who are still developing their reading skills will have trouble using some kinds of written primary sources--particularly from more remote time periods--analyzing photographs and artifacts allows them to use important historical materials in an authentic way. The questions that students develop, meanwhile, are not contrived, but derive naturally from their investigations and lead them to use a variety of other sources. Finally, directing such projects toward authentic audiences motivates students to develop the in-depth understanding that presentations or displays require.
As this chapter has made clear, of course, such authentic, disciplined inquiry is not easy; teachers must guide and support students at every step of the process--stimulating their interest, helping them develop questions, modeling procedures for collecting information, and so on. Yet the fact that teachers and students are so willing to stick with such projects attests to their potential for engaging students in meaningful historical learning.
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