Abstract 4, Volume 11, Number 3, Fall 2016

Keep’em Guessing: Using Student Predictions to Inform Historical Understanding and Empathy


Scott L. Roberts

Central Michigan University


Authors frequently discuss and provide examples of doing history in the social studies classroom.  Few focus, however, on allowing students to predict the outcome of historical events before learning what actually happened.  In this article, I describe an activity allowing students to make their own predictions informing their understanding of the historical events related to Articles of Confederation.  I developed this strategy based on my evolving understanding of how to bring historical thinking into the classroom.  I discuss adding the concept of prediction to a previously published lesson plan and how, during my subsequent year in the classroom, I enriched the lesson to elicit student empathy.  Finally, the article offers suggestions for teachers developing their own lessons incorporating student predictions.

Key Words: Articles of Confederation, historical empathy, historical inquiry, problem-based learning, student prediction, teaching strategies

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