|"PUTTING TOGETHER THE PUZZLE PIECES OF HISTORY"
STALEY MIDDLE SCHOOL
History lesson opener
MATERIALS: 60 or more piece child puzzle
METHOD: On the first day of school, I give each student 2-3 pieces of a 60 piece child's puzzle. I then ask the students to, two at a time, to approach the table at the front of the room, and try to put the puzzle pieces where they belong. After all the students have tried, I ask them why they thought I asked them to do such a difficult task. The correct response should be something like this: History is like a puzzle. There are often missing pieces. There are many ways that the pieces can turn to look right. We don't always have all the answers. But, we can make some educated guesses (straight pieces go on the borders, colors are kept together, etc.) and put together what we think happened.
After the puzzle is complete, we can still see the lines of the pieces. In other words, we don't see a perfectly clear picture of what happened. We see most of what happened, and that is what History is all about....putting puzzle pieces together!!