Sometimes, well pretty frequently, students in this social science class analyze old documents (or photos or cartoons) in order to figure out the answer to a big question. One of the old political cartoons we analyzed recently was this one of a terrible attack that took place in Congress in 1856.
Our class wanted to find out what existential threats increased conflict and brought on our Civil War of 1861. After students read, discussed, and answered questions about each document, they had to decide which documents fit into major categories of existential threats. The seven categories, or buckets, were: speeches and debates, legislation, abolitionism, literature and writing, violence and terrorism, court decisions, and elections. We used plastic cups to represent buckets, or categories and we wrote the document title, or issue, on strips of paper. Finally, student groups tried to decide which documents fit into each bucket. Watch our short video to see and hear what that part of our lesson was like.