Us History Critical Thinking

What makes this 336-page book different from other American history books is the integration of critical thinking into the content lessons. The questions in this book require deeper analysis and frequently ask for supporting evidence from the lesson. This in-depth analysis produces greater understanding, which results in better grades and higher test scores. Over time, students who practice critical thinking learn to apply it throughout their education and lives. This book also develops reading comprehension and writing skills, and challenges students to learn new vocabulary.

This colorful book brings U.S. history to life!  It is full of fascinating facts, pictures, and maps. It can be used as a stand-alone textbook, supplement to your textbook, or as a review course for older students. The vocabulary and content skills are based on common state social studies standards. This book has both primary and secondary source information. Each lesson provides a passage students must read, followed by a series of questions. Questions are multiple choice, short answer, or short essay questions. Students are frequently asked to identify sentence evidence from the lesson that best supports the answer. Sample answers are provided which identify key points for the essays. In addition, there are section review activities and some bonus activities.

In these books, students will:
     •  Supply supporting evidence for many of their answers
     •  Supply essay evidence to support their conclusions by drawing on specific information from the lesson
     •  Draw inferences and conclusions based on their evaluation of the evidence
     •  Distinguish between facts and opinions
     •  Analyze historical chronology to see history as a series of interrelated events
     •  Acquire new vocabulary
     •  Learn to interpret and draw information from geographical maps, political cartoons, and charts
U.S. History Detective® Book 1 focuses on American history from the time of the first European explorers interacting with Native Americans through the Reconstruction Era following the Civil War.  The lessons and activities in this book are organized around these time periods:
     •  The Colonial Era
     •  The Revolutionary Era
     •  The Federal Era
     •  The Nationalism Era
     •  The Reform Era
     •  The Expansion Era
     •  The Sectional Conflict Era
     •  The Civil War Era
     •  Reconstruction Era


The purpose of the course is to think historically about the major trends and patterns in American History, 1600-1800.

Key Question

What are the major patterns & trends in American History, 1600-1800?


The students will work with a variety of primary and secondary sources of information: records, diaries, letters, biographies, newspapers, and historical accounts from textbooks and articles.

Skills of Interpretation

The students will learn how to gather and interpret data from a variety of historical sources.

Essential Concepts

The students will need to learn how to use basic historical, economic, political, religious concepts, as well as those from social life and values.


The fundamental assumption behind this course is that it is possible for entry level students to gain insight into the patterns and events in American life, 1600-1800, that shed light on contemporary problems.


Students who reason well about events in 17th and 18th Century American life should be able to see connections with events in the 20th Century.

Point of View:
Students will learn how to reason as both a conservative and liberal historian, integrating economic, political, and social analysis.

The General Plan For the Course

The course will be designed so that on a typical day students will be engaged in historical reasoning about crucial questions regarding major trends and patterns by using primary and secondary sources (interpreting the significance and meaning of that information).

They will work in groups on those questions but will write up individual papers. Once completed, their individual papers will be assessed by student groups which will make specific recommendations for improvement based on criteria focused on the variables that affect the quality of historical reasoning. Their final grade will be determined by the professor by grading 3 papers chosen at random from their portfolio.

{This article is adapted from the resource: Critical Thinking Basic Theory and Instructional Structures.}

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