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High School — Social Studies
Social Studies Skills and Methods


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    Social Studies Skills and Methods


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      Activities: Advanced Work

      These activities can help your students reach the next level in their understanding of Social Studies Skills and Methods.

      Judge Debates

      Have students act as judges for their classmates' debates. Judges should set the expectations by considering some of the following before the debates:

      • How will you evaluate the arguments?
      • What kind of sources might be credible for this debate?
      • What kind of sources might be reliable for this debate?

      During the debates, judges should evaluate the following:

      • Is this a strong position statement?
      • Is the argument effectively supported by evidence?
      Evaluate the Claims Made in Advertisements

      Have students gather advertisements from popular magazines and critique the claims that are made in each. For each advertisement they examine, students can:

      • Identify the claim being made;
      • Identify any data or other evidence used to support the claim;
      • Evaluate the reliability of the evidence using criteria learned in class.

      Finally, students can draw conclusions and determine whether the advertisement is successful. Students should also discuss other factors (such as popular music, celebrity spokespersons, and catch phrases) that may convince customers to purchase the advertised products and services.

      Create Political Cartoons that Show a Clear Bias and/or Serve as Examples of Propaganda

      Ask students to choose a historical period for which they can create political cartoons. Students should create a political cartoon that includes both illustrations and text that reflect the period. Have students write commentary to show the bias and assumptions that they are communicating through their cartoons.

      Students can practice identifying bias by evaluating each other's political cartoons. They can ask one another the following questions:

      • What is the writer/illustrator's viewpoint?
      • What in the cartoon suggests why the writer/illustrator might have this viewpoint?
      • What does this writer/illustrator want me to think about the topic?
      • Is this an example of propaganda (the spreading of ideas to promote a certain cause or the spreading of ideas to damage an opposing cause)?
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