How to answer different document based questions in History. CARDS (DBQ)

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Ms Hughes Teaches
Grade Levels
9th - 12th, Higher Education, Adult Education, Homeschool
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Ms Hughes Teaches


In a bid to help our students think more like historians we set them various styles of question based on the sources in DBQs. These helpful little cards can be used with any document or piece of evidence in history. They work for any time period and help our students to address real issues of provenance and purpose.

I devised these initially to support the GCSE History students and to help prepare them for question types that might come up in their end of year exam. However, they they have been helpful to other students getting to grips with analysing sources. The cards also encourage pupils to write good answers with an analytical focus. They are great for revision and past exam paper practice.

You can print out the 8, two-sided cards. Fold them over length ways and the correct backing is with the correct frontispiece.

One side explains how to address a particular type of question and the other gives examples of sentence starters or good answers.

Questions include:

- Why was this source published?

- What is the main message of this source?

- Do you trust this source over another?

- How far do you agree with the statement…?

- Does the source prove that…?

- How useful is this source to an historian?- How similar are these sources?

- What could an historian learn from this source about…?

I had mine printed on yellow card and laminated for every student in my exam classes. They have proven invaluable to them as they practiced exam style questions in test prep.

I hope you and your students find them as useful as mine have!



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4 pages
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
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.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social studies.
Analyze how a text uses structure to emphasize key points or advance an explanation or analysis.


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