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A Visitor about the Past

Formulate a powerful question about our community's history to ask of a classroom guest.

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Suggested Activities

In this challenge, students develop powerful questions to ask of an invited classroom visitor who will speak about historical and recent contributions made by various people in the community. In preparation, locate a person who has first-hand knowledge of the history of the community, particularly its origins and the Aboriginal and Francophone contributions. If no one is available locally, try to find a person from a regional museum or historical society who might be willing to respond in writing or over the phone to students' questions. In preparation for the visit, read several stories about key people in the history of the community and invite students to make a list of questions to ask of the visitor. As a class, brainstorm criteria for powerful questions, such as:

  • Give you lots of information about the topic
  • Everyone can understand what is being asked
  • Are usually not easy to answer.

Ask pairs of students to use the criteria to assess the questions they have generated and select their most powerful questions about people who have made a difference in the community. Share the selected questions. Arrange for each student to ask a powerful question of the guest. See Asking Powerful Questions (Modelling the Tools) for detailed suggestions on how to teach and assess the tools for student-generated questions.

Adapted from Tami McDiarmid, Rita Manzo and Trish Musselle, Critical Challenges for Primary Students (Richmond, BC: The Critical Thinking Consortium, 1999), 57–60.

Last updated: July 1, 2014 | (Revision History)
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