2nd Grade New York

Community History

This inquiry is an exploration into the concepts of time, continuity, and change in a community with the dual purpose of establishing students’ understandings of the passage of time and explaining why the past matters today. The inquiry taps into a common student assumption about the authority of the present and its existence independent of past events and contexts. One way to explore present circumstances is through an examination of the short- and long-term effects of the past. The constructs of cause and effect are complex, chiefly because multiple causes may be associated with one event, just as multiple effects can be tied to a single cause. Through identifying the relationship of cause and effect, students learn to recognize how continuity and change over time help us understand historical developments in our present communities.


Compelling Question:

If We Live in the Present, Why Should We Care About the Past?

Staging the Question:

Describe a disagreement in terms of cause and effect.

Supporting Question What’s the difference between a cause and an effect?

Formative Task Create a T-chart listing causes on the left side and their effects on the right.

Sources Source A: Teacher-generated example of cause and effect


Supporting Question How have events from the past changed our lives in the present?

Formative Task Create a T-chart listing causes on the left side and their effects on the right.

Sources Source A: Source packet: Pollution of Lake Ronkonkoma


Supporting Question How do people today solve problems created in the past?

Formative Task Write an explanation that answers the supporting question with proof or evidence.

Sources Source A: “From Eyesore to Sunset Stunner”
Source B: ”Voices from the Region” video

Summative Performance Task

Argument: If we live in the present, why should we care about the past? Construct an argument supported with evidence that answers the compelling question.
Extension: Choose two inventions from a teacher-supplied list (e.g., telephone, video game, car, or pencil) and write a sentence about how each helped to solve a problem.

Taking Informed Action

Understand: Explore the causes and effects of a major event that has transformed the local community.
Assess: Investigate what people in the community are doing to confront and/or address the event.
Act: Invite a local politician or community leader to class to discuss the event.