Where to find it:
There is an app available on iOS.
Social science teachers...brace yourselves! This app is worth sharing and happens to cover common core standards in engaging ways.
It works best in classrooms where:
- students can share a device
- inquiry-based learning is welcome
- students understand what primary source documents are
What DocsTeach is:
Using documents from the U.S. National Archives, students participate in engaging activities that help them make sense of the past. Topics range in variety within each era (displayed below). There is also a civics and government section (not displayed below). The activities are created by the U.S. National Archives Education Team and by teachers throughout the nation. Most of the activities include questions at the end to reinforce the themes and objectives of the assignment.
Besides the great activities that are already made for you to use with your students, you can also make your own activities using any of the documents in the national archives. DocsTeach provides you with the templates to create an engaging, interactive activity (displayed below). Once you have created the activity, you can provide students with a class code to access the assignment (this requires students to create accounts).
How I would use it:
Since I teach Biology, this app does not cover the content I cover so I have not used it in my classroom. BUT, if (and when) I do teach social science, it would be a fun way to cover the following common core standards while still covering the historical material:
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.
Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.
I would pair students up and have them complete the activity together. Following the activity, students would need to complete the questions at the end and turn in their responses for evaluation. I would use this activity as an introduction to a new unit and a conversation-starter to begin discussion on the topic.
This activity stood out to me and I see this as something my students would enjoy:
I want to hear about your experiences with DocsTeach! Share how you've used it in your classroom or any ideas you have for using it in the future.
Were there any downsides? Would you change anything in the app? How did students feel about it?