This is a great first day activity for history classes of middle and high school students. This starts out have students brainstorm ideas about why we learn about history and then has them analyze a few short quotes about why history is important. To wrap things up, the students work together to decide what is history is and why we should learn it.
I have used this activity as a follow up to the "US History: Fact or Fiction" activity (available for purchase) for my first day of school lessons for years and they work together nicely. I have the quotes laminated and put into envelopes in the sets of 6 to give to the students in groups/pairs.
This is editable to fit the needs of your students