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Instructional time spent on elementary social studies is often marginalized due to the emphasis placed on other content areas. Teachers often cover standards using methods that teach for rote memorization, resulting in students who do not value social studies learning. Therefore, social studies teachers must employ meaningful instructional strategies that will engage students while promoting content acquisition. This quasi-experimental study responds to this challenge by guiding fifth grade students to use the historical thinking skills of sourcing, contextualizing, and corroborating that encourages engagement with a variety of primary sources through the lens of Jerome Bruner’s learning theories. The control group used traditional instructional methods including close-note taking, vocabulary review, and independent reading from social studies texts. Both the control and treatment groups were assessed prior to and after the study on content knowledge, attitude toward social studies, and critical thinking skills using the Cornell Critical Thinking Test.

Keywords: elementary social studies, historical thinking, primary sources, critical thinking, content acquisition, student attitudes


This is a metadata-only record.



  • Subject
    • Education

  • Institution
    • Cumming

  • Event location
  • Event date
    • 26 March 2021

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Dr. Joshua Cuevas