The Kentucky C3 Hub connects educators to inquiry resources and innovations taking place at the University of Kentucky in order to inspire highly effective teaching and learning across the commonwealth and beyond.
Check out our collection of inquiries were designed by a cadre of students in the University of Kentucky social studies education program.
This inquiry leads students through an investigation of regionalization by studying Kentucky. By investigating the compelling question about whether or not Kentucky is a southern state, students will need to consider how the study of Kentucky provides a unique lens for thinking about the “what” and “where” of the south. In investigating the people and cultural characteristics of Kentucky and states more ‘solidly’ recognized as southern, students develop techniques to become more geo-literate, and begin to be able to evaluate the extent to which Kentucky is southern.
This inquiry leads students through an investigation of the influence of slavery on the history of individual states, particularly highlighting Kentucky. (The blueprint for this inquiry was purposefully written so as to allow for other states or regions to adapt it to their local particulars.) By investigating the compelling question, students examine the growth and development of slavery, the ways in which the slave system differed from place to place, the violence endured by slaves, and how this portion of the country’s history is (or isn’t) being remembered. By completing this inquiry, students will begin to understand how slavery had a significant impact on the development of the country and their particular region, while also have them consider the extent to which historical memory is appropriately reflecting its impact.
This inquiry leads students through an investigation of the Electoral College. By investigating the compelling question “Is the Electoral College democratic?” students evaluate their preexisting ideas surrounding democracy as well as explore the reality of how elections work in America. The formative performance tasks build on knowledge and skills through the course of the inquiry and help students understand the historical context of the Electoral College as well as the modern day implications of this system.
This inquiry asks students to consider the challenges and benefits of the process of state-building and subsequent stability, using Nigeria as a case study. Students investigate the economic incentives for a country to have a diverse culture, the impact on governmental structure heterogeneous societies pose, and violence that can be brought about by ethnic divisions. Students will ultimately assess whether Nigeria should split into two separate countries, or remain a single, federal country. Researching this material, together with the skills of presenting an argument will help students apply this inquiry to take informed action by addressing other areas of division within their schools, communities, and states.
This inquiry leads students through an investigation of the intensification of economic inequality. By exploring the compelling question “Can we afford the super-rich?” students evaluate the historical trends and consider the epidemiological, political, and socio-environmental consequences of escalating economic inequality. The formative performance tasks build on knowledge and skills through the course of the inquiry to help students understand the influence of the super-rich on the lives of others through a progressively expanded lens of economic inequality, mental and physical health, democratic processes, and climate change mitigation efforts. Students create an evidence-based argument about why we cannot afford the super-rich or why the super-rich do not pose a risk to society and the environment in which humanity is embedded. Though students can complete the inquiry with the provided sources, teachers are encouraged to have students research the supporting questions to supplement them.
This inquiry was developed by Wesley Wei, a student at Boyle County High School. The inquiry leads students through an investigation of the LGBTQ+ movement, primarily driven by the history of the movement through various accounts and perspectives. The compelling question—What makes a movement successful?—does not address whether or not the movement was successful, but instead assesses the components of a movement and whether the movement is in a period of growth or has already peaked. Although the focus of this inquiry is on the LGBTQ+ movement, parallels can be drawn to other social movements in history with respect to organization, activism, and overall execution, including the Civil Rights Movement or the women’s suffrage and rights movements. Specifically, this inquiry looks at four different aspects that can potentially shape a movement in its foundation as well as its rise, namely public reaction, government leaders and policies, Supreme Court cases, and personal experiences. Throughout the inquiry, students will examine each individual aspect independently, evaluating the merits, strengths, and significance of each provided source in the “Movement Analysis Organization Chart,” but the summative task will require a compilation and synthesis of the sources in this investigation in order to form an argument to address the compelling question.
This inquiry leads students through an investigation of policy voting, i.e. aligning their own beliefs with policies of political parties and candidates. By investigating the compelling question students will research where the stand on their own beliefs, compare those beliefs to available political party platforms, then finally against candidates representing those parties (or running as independents). In investigating current issues, political party positions, and candidate positions, students will be better informed on which issues drive them to vote on election-day.
The goal of this inquiry is to help students analyze a pivotal event within the American Revolution. Nearly every American student is familiar with the actions of the Sons of Liberty, yet this inquiry sheds light on the motivations for and consequences of The Boston Tea Party, a turning point in Colonial-British relations. Students look at the grievances of American colonists prior to 1773, and then examine their choice of action, as well as the British response. This inquiry invites students to use multiple perspectives to assess historic and modern-day cries for justice and why revolutionaries often break laws to further their cause. This analysis and application is key to helping students engage in what it means to think and act like historians.
This inquiry leads students through an investigation of the causes of the Cold War by examining events through the perspective of both the Soviet Union and the United States. By investigating the compelling question “Who’s to blame for the Cold War?” students evaluate these events in consideration of the historiography, using the work of several preeminent Cold War historians, and the consequences of assigning blame to either country. The formative performance tasks build on knowledge and skills through the course of the inquiry and help students recognize different perspectives in order to better understand the ways in which mutual concerns and fears culminated in global tensions. Students create an evidence-based argument about whether anyone should be assigned blame in starting the Cold War after considering the tensions that emerged during and after World War II, perception of the actions taken by the United States and Soviet Union, assessing historiographical viewpoints, and considering how assigning blame affects perceptions of the actions of others.
What is a Vote Worth? inquiry learning to engage students in questions about suffrage and other rights movements.
The compelling question was originally conceived as a means to explore the women’s rights movement, particularly the suffragists’ fight for voting rights. Guided by our eight Key Concepts, the resources have expanded to have students explore the value of a vote when living in a democracy, assessing how individuals and groups fought for, and have defended, the franchise, thereby communicating its value through their sacrifices.
What is a Vote Worth? is a collaborative project of the Frazier History Museum, Jefferson County Public Schools, and other Louisville, Kentucky organizations.
Kentucky Council for the Social Studies
The Kentucky Council for the Social Studies believes all individuals and organizations should promote social studies education for the betterment of our profession and our citizenry. They provide resources for educating, informing, and advocating on behalf of social studies and education.
Guided inquiry from KCSS and BeACitizen.org:
This civic engagement inquiry leads students through an investigation of issues affecting their community. By investigating the compelling question—who should represent me?—students examine issues facing their community, what can (or should) be done about the issue, and evaluate the local candidates’ platform to address these issues. By completing the inquiry, students will begin to understand issues facing their community, as well as consider the extent to which their elected representatives reflect their views.