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Lesson 4: History Detectives

I. General Information:
Grade Level: 3rd
Discipline: Socials Studies
Unit Topic: History-Titanic
Time Frame: 45 minutes (2 days)
Text: National Geographic Readers: Titanic by Melissa Sweet
History Detectives Text (Tes Resources, 2014)

Other Materials:
o Student iPads
o Printed copy of History Detectives Text
o Recording Sheet-History Detectives
o Pencils
o Document camera

II. Essential Understanding/Questions:

Essential Questions:
How do different sources provide evidence of what life was like in the past?
What causes or influences the choices people make?

Enduring Understandings: There are varying perspectives on the meaning of historical events.

III. Standards/Indicators
English Language Arts:
o RI.3.7
Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to
demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).
o RI.3.1
Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the
text as the basis for the answers.

Social Studies:
o 5. A.2 Investigate how people lived in the past using a variety of primary and secondary
a. Collect and examine information about people, places, or events of the past using pictures,
photographs, maps, audio, or visual tapes and or documents.
IV. Lesson Objectives
o Students will be able to analyze primary and secondary sources to describe
people and events relevant to the sinking of the Titanic.
o Students will be able to use information gained from various sources to
answer: Who is the most responsible for the loss of lives on the Titanic?

V. Evaluation/Assessment:
Informal:Students will be assessed informally through observation. Teachers will
give students feedback according to the success criteria below.
I can Feedback
Buddy read the text
Discuss and explain how the individual was or was
not responsible for the loss of lives on the Titanic
Record evidence from text
o Paraphrase
o Direct quote
o Or page number referenced

VI. Procedures:
Introduction: Ask students: What does it mean to be responsible for
something? Listen to students as they engage in a quick discussion with their
peers. Have a few students share their ideas. Ask: Who or what is responsible for
the sinking of the Titanic? Listen as students share ideas. Then explain, weve
encountered a lot of text and resources so far that point the responsibilty finger
all over the place. There are many causes that led to the effect of the Titanic
Sinking and ultimately the loss of lives on the Titanic. Have students raise their
hand if they can think of who or what caused the Titanic to sink. Generate the list
on anchor chart paper-record students thoughts as they share out.
1. Explain: Today we will Read like a Historian to analyze various texts about
who is resonsible for the loss of lives on the Titanic.
2. Pass out History Detective texts and recording sheets to students.
3. Read the first short text together. Ask: What information does this text
tell me about this crew member? Were they responsible in any way for
the Titanics demise (or sinking)? Listen as students share their answers
and clear up any misconceptions:
a. Frederick Fleet was responsible because he forgot his binoculars
and didnt have them in the lookout tower. If he wouldve had his
binocularshe wouldve seen the iceberg ahead of time.
4. Ensure that students are highlighting or underlining the evidence in the
text that supports that he was responsible. Students can elaborate in the
margins if they would like to explain how he was responsible.
5. If needed, model another crew members account of the event and how
they were responsible. You could also do a shared reading/writing of
another crew members account if needed.
6. Otherwise, go over success criteria and allow students to work
independently, in pairs, or in a small group to complete the rest of this
assignment. Pull a flex group of students after observing their
interactions with the text. Help students as neeeded.

Bring students together. Ask students to give a rating (novice, apprentice,
practitioner) on how well they met the success criteria today. Read each criteria
for success and have students mark their papers red=novice, yellow=apprentice,
green=practitioner according to how they were meeting the success criteria for
today. Then, after collecting student work, have students raise their hand if they
already had an idea of how was responsible for the loss of lives on the Titanic?.
Explain that these texts will naturally lead us to have an opinion. Our job is to
make sure we have evidence to back up our thoughts! Therefore, before we jump
into our discussion, students will need more time to solidify their evidence, and
form their opinion about who is the most responsible for the loss of lives on the

Tes Resources. For teachers, by teachers. History Detectives. (2014, November
12). Retrieved April 25, 2017, from