Context: TE Secondary, 7-12, University NCSS Standards: I (Culture), II (Time, Continuity, and Change) INTASC Standards: 1 (Structures of the Discipline), 2 (Learning Opportunities), 4 (Instruc-

tional Strategies), 5 (Learning Environments), 6 (Communication) Topics: inquiry, history, historical understanding, fi rst day, primary sources, artifacts, critical

thinking, identity, diversity, controversial issues, culture, multiple perspectives, studentcentered, students’ lives and experiences

Th e following assignment is designed to introduce students to the inferential and perspectival nature of history. A week before the fall semester, our graduate preservice social studies teachers, who are about to embark upon their fi rst of two methods classes, receive the following e-mail :

Dear Social Studies Students (Socstuds),

Write in your name to personalize this letter, if you so choose _______________,

You will be participating in an activity that requires prior planning. On the fi rst day of class you will need to bring an artifact bag with you. What is an artifact bag you ask? It is a plain bag “paper or plastic?” without any distinguishing markings that holds between 7 and 10 artifacts/sources. Th e artifacts you choose should help a colleague answer the following big questions: Who is this person? What is their life like? What can I learn about them as an individual-professionally and personally? So include artifacts that reveal something about you, who you are, your history and culture, likes, character traits, etc. Your task on the fi rst day of class will be to look at someone else’s artifact bag and answer the big questions.