Part II: Extending Information – People can have different points of view about the same person or event. People can also offer different evidence to support those points of view. Look at the example provided below then offer an example of your own.
Topic:Pat’s performance during a soccer match.
Point of View
Pat was the star of the game.
Different Point of View
Pat did not play very well.
Pat scored the only goal for the team.
Pat played badly on defense and allowed the other team to score 2 goals.
Offer an Example of Your Own in the Spaces Below:
Point of View
Different Point of View
Wolf Character Map
Describe the WOLF based on...
Title of Story
Interpretation/Conclusion: Is the wolf mean or misunderstood?
Abstract: This lesson places students in a scenario that builds prior knowledge and prepares students for their encounter with competing accounts of the Burr-Hamilton duel (do not mention the Burr-Hamilton duel at this point). Two pairs of students will compete against each other in a bell-ringing contest or “duel” for a reward that is likely to produce competing or “dual” eyewitness accounts.
Why are there different explanations of the same event in history?
Copies of Appendix 1 – Anticipation/Response Guide.
Large copy of Appendix 2 – Rules of the Contest.
Eyewitness, primary source, secondary source
(This lesson assumes that students will have learned the distinction between primary and secondary sources. If not, visit here for a lesson that develops this understanding.)
Anticipation Guide:Distribute copies of Appendix 1 – Anticipation/Response Guide and post or project a copy so that the entire class can see it. Read the instructions while students read to themselves and point to the “Before” section that students are to complete at this phase of the unit. Make it clear that they are to leave the right-hand column labeled “After” blank until later in the unit. Collect their responses and analyze for preconceptions and misconceptions.
Note to Teacher: this Anticipation Guide focuses on historical thinking rather than content relating to the Burr-Hamilton duel as the primary goal of this unit is to advance understanding of what is referred to in How Students Learn as “second order, substantive concepts.”
Activity Description: Tell the students that you are going to have a little competition today involving two students and their partners. The competition involves seeing who can ring a bell first—after receiving permission to do so. Teachers are encouraged to think about who will be involved in this activity prior to implementation. Ideally, you will select two students who are relatively competitive. These two students, who will be the main actors in the activity, will be allowed to select their own partner or “second.” The activity is called “Battle of the Bells.”
The two “parties” you select will be the bell ringers and will compete to see who rings their bell first. Each party will select a “second” person or partner who will work with their partners (bell ringers) as a monitor to make sure that the rules are followed and that the other “party” competes fairly. There will be a very nice prize for the pair that wins the contest (select a prize, e.g., a highly desired piece of candy, and show it to the students. You want to motivate and encourage a keen sense of competitiveness. The prize also establishes an important sense of consequence for losing, which will be important for an upcoming lesson on the Burr-Hamilton duel in which Alexander Hamilton suffers the ultimate consequence. But do not mention the Burr-Hamilton duel connection yet).
Establish and Explain the Rules: Display Appendix 2 – Rules of the Contest. Tell the students that there are rules that have been set for the contest to make sure that it is conducted fairly and that both participants have a fair chance of winning. Ask volunteers to read and explain the rules, offering clarification when necessary. These “Stipulated” rules are not negotiable.
Note to Teacher:The rules that appear on Appendix 2 are recommended as they mimic rules of dueling and build knowledge for upcoming lessons (the same rules appear below with notes for teachers). These rules also increase the chances that students will arrive at different conclusions.
The “parties” will be seated at desks or tables ___ paces (10 if possible) apart from each other (make sure that they are far enough apart so that the other pair, especially the second has difficulty witnessing/hearing what happens).
Parties may not ring their bells until AFTER the authorized second says “present.”
A coin toss will decide which second says “present.”
The seconds must stand next to the party who selected them.
The party who loses the coin toss has first choice of seats and bells.
The “parties” must have their hands on the top of the desk or table and around the bell with one finger above and not touching the bell but ready to press down after the second says “present.” (Note – this is so that the interval between bell sounds is so brief that it is difficult to distinguish who wins.)
Neither “parties” nor “seconds” may speak to each other after the bells are rung. Each second must independently write down what happened and who won.
Only one round of bell ringing is allowed and the seconds must decide who wins (NO ties).
Conduct the Contest: Arrange for the contest to be outside of the eyes of the rest of the class (e.g., in the hallway, another classroom, etc.) so that only the parties and seconds can witness what happens. Logically, you may want to have a parent helper or colleague supervise the contestant-pairs. The point is that the activity will work best if only the seconds are able to witness and report on what happened. The adult supervisor should not come back into the classroom so that there is not even the slightest opportunity to corroborate or refute the seconds’ accounts.
Alternate Strategy: If there are issues with the idea of sending students out of the room, ask the rest of the class to turn their tables or chairs around so that they cannot see what happens. The risk with this option, however, is that the rest of the class will hear the direction from which bell sounds come rather than relying on eyewitness accounts from the “seconds.” Ideally, the class should be restricted to drawing conclusions from the “seconds’” accounts.
Send the pairs out for the contest. The seconds should have a piece of paper and a pencil or pen. As soon as the “Battle of the Bells” ends, the “parties” must give up their seats to the seconds who must then write down what happened and who won the contest. The “party” and his or her “second” may speak to each other in “library voices” but must not speak with the other pair. As soon as they are finished they must return to the classroom, and the second must deliver the written account to the teacher.
Classroom Discussion (while contestants are competing): The teacher should lead the students in a discussion that focuses on the following questions while the contestants are competing in the hallway:
Who do you predict will win the contest? Why?
Do you think the “seconds” share the same point of view? Why?
Do you think the “seconds” will agree on what happened—who won? Why?
What do you predict will be each “second’s” conclusion? Why?
Do the rules of this contest ensure that the seconds will be able to see and hear accurately what goes on? Explain.
Read “Eyewitness” Accounts: Have the seconds return to the classroom and read their accounts to the class. Ask another student to summarize after each account is read.
Note to Teacher: There are two different outcomes (do not allow ties) that will require two different procedures.
Is this what you predicted after the parties and seconds left the room? Did we expect the seconds to agree?
What is the likelihood that other people in the same situation would always agree?
Explore the counter-factual. Ask students, what if the seconds came back with two different accounts?
Why might two seconds disagree about who rang the bell first?
Outcome 2 – Seconds Disagree About Who Won
Procedure – follow the steps enumerated below.
Seconds Defend Positions: Invite the seconds to explain and defend their version of events.
Which pair of contestants earned the award for winning the “Battle of the Bells?”
Do those of us who remained in class know definitely what happened?
Did the “Battle of the Bells” occur in the past, present, or future? (A seemingly odd question, but one that highlights the fact that the battle is grounds for historical investigation because it happened in the past.)
Do you think that the “seconds’” eyewitness accounts of the bell contest are similar or different to the accounts that appear in history textbooks (i.e., are they “facts” or interpretations)? Explain.
If __________ (name one of the seconds) was the author of a history textbook, what would that textbook say about the “Battle of the Bells?” What would ____________ (name other second) say if he wrote that textbook instead of ___________ (other second)? Why would there be differences?
How should we be reading our history textbooks—as if they are facts that cannot be challenged or as if they are interpretations that can be challenged?
What are some questions you should be asking of your textbook as you read it (e.g., who was/were the author(s), do they have any obvious biases, what is their point of view, what evidence do they provide, are there other sides of the story, etc.)?
Can we determine what actually happened in situations like this when we encounter two different accounts of the past? How?
Anticipation/Response Guide (formative assessment): Have students revisit Appendix 1 – Anticipation/Response Guide. Have them reflect on what they learned in this lesson by filling in Agree or Disagree in the column just to the right of each statement labeled “Response After Lesson 2.” Have students share any revisions in their thinking. Collect and save the Guides for re-use at the end of the unit in Lesson 6.
Check for Understanding (Error Correction)
A student in class says “history is just a bunch of facts.”
How would you correct that student if you were his or her teacher? Explain your answer.
2 – This response gives a valid correction with an accurate and relevant explanation.
1 – This response gives a valid correction with an inaccurate, irrelevant, or no explanation.