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(This activity is based on ideas from Claire Riley's, "Evidential Understanding, Period Knowledge and the Development of Literacy," Thinking History, 97, pp. 6-12.)
Students will need access to the website Chinese Immigrant Experience for the following lesson, or have multiple printed copies of various photographs from the site.
1. If your students have not explored the use of evidence and the concept of inference before, you may wish to begin with an introductory activity. Some suggestions:
2. From student answers, identify some of the challenges of understanding what took place in the past. We cannot directly access the past and therefore must do so by interpreting evidence. This involves certain degrees of uncertainty. We may know for certain that a student went to school in the past but we are less certain about how he or she felt about it.