DBQ Design Assignment

zut pour les zepplins

Working as individuals or in 2 person teams, students will design a DBQ question suitable for inclusion of our DBQ iBook (available at iTunes).
See Class 4 for recommendations for DBQs and Teaching with Documents.

I’ve posted some recommendations for best websites for finding primary documents.
American History  | World History

This extended assignment meets two of our course requirements as noted in the syllabus (146 KB pdf)
#1: Resources Assignment
#5: iBook showcase

The DBQ Design Assignment will be accomplished in 3 phases:

Step 1: Develop a proposal which will be submitted for peer review.
You should be prepared to deliver a 2 min pitch to class. (not a written assignment to be turned in)

Due date:  9/23.

Then we did a bit of “speed dating” of our ideas for the DBQ Assignment. Students formed two lines and had 2 minutes to pitch their DBQ design idea to each other and share some feedback. Then one line shifted and we repeated the pitch exchange. In all students pitched their idea three times.

The goal of this phase is to gather feedback from peers regarding the following:

  1. You have an interesting generative / essential question worth answering.
  2. Your initial appraisal indicates there are suitable documents available. (Documents could be multimedia).
  3. You have an idea for how students will use your DBQ to build Common Core skills. “What does it say, how does it say it, what’s it mean to me?”

Step 2: Following class feedback on 9/23. Student should send a brief description (via email) of their proposed DBQ to the instructor by Sat 9/28. He will give you feedback when we meet on 9/30 at the Nikkei Center.

Step 3: Students will share their revised idea as a blog post here at EdMethods by Sat Oct 5th. It should explain how you intend to address the 3 questions above. Students are expected to review and comment on at least two of their peers ideas by Sat Oct 12th.  

Step 4: Students will open an account at Learnist and use the site to post their DBQ. 
Due date: Oct 26

Learnist is a web-based curation site with built in social media tools – it can collect and comment on videos, blogs, books, docs, images or anything on the web.

Your Learnist board should be tightly focused on documents that help students answer the DBQ’s generative question. Each document should include one or two scaffolding questions which help the student to use the documents to answer the DBQ’s generative question.
For a sample of a Learnist board see your instructor’s Incarceration of Japanese Americans During WWII 

Your peers will be able to make comments after each document on your Learnist board to help you focus the DBQ. Since Learnist is open to the public, you can expect that others outside our class may comment as well.

Phase 3: Students will finalize their DBQs for inclusion in our iBook showcase.
Details here.

Image Credit “Damn the Zeppelins”
George Eastman House Collection
Accession Number: 1973:0126:0026
Maker: L’AT D’ART PHOT.-Bois-Colombes
Date: ca. 1915
Medium: gelatin silver print, hand applied color
Dimensions: Overall: 8.7 x 13.6 cm

3 Replies to “DBQ Design Assignment”

  1. As I have been thinking about this assignment the past week, I struggled with narrowing down a topic. What ended up really helping me is having a conversation with my CT about my work sample later this semester. I realized that creating a lesson (or lessons) surrounding a DPQ, using Learnist or Google Cultural Institute, will be a very interactive way to bring analysis into the unit. I will need to have access to a computer lab, but I envision this type of activity, if produced correctly, could be very interactive for the students.

  2. This assignment works for 2 major projects on my mind right now. And I couldn’t be more excited. First, I am working hard to develop a series of interactive stations my 7th graders about to study Ancient Greece. My CT and I are trying to think about major contributions surrounding the Greeks such as democracy, culture, etc. So, for this assignment, I was thinking of assigning students primary sources to investigate for one of those stations during class with student-focus instruction. I like to think that it will end up being sort of like the Nikkei Center’s traveling suitcase. I’ll get more in detail for class tomorrow on how it relates to DBQ. The second project I have in mind for the DBQ is for my capstone. I hope to research more experiential learning such as the DBQ, documentary-making, debates, or discussions in a history class setting and how it impacts students’ attitudes toward the subject. I think working with this assignment in class will help me get a sense of how to craft a proper and engaging lesson for my future students.

  3. I’m excited to start working on the DBQ, however I am a little leery about posing questions along the way to help students. I want to make sure they are not too obvious or redundant, but also not too big for students to handle (because the guiding questions aren’t generative questions). I think once we start working on them it will flow and we will get a formula that we like to help us with the rest of the DBQs. With my topic (1950s Red Scare) it will be difficult to narrow down the sources I want to use because there are so many awesome propaganda pieces out there!

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