Chapter 11: The Reality of Challenging Texts in High School Science and Social Studies. (Eric Sandstrom, Eric Mason)

This chapter dealt with the mediation of knowledge in a cross content manner through six specific types of knowledge or skills needed for critical reasoning and comprehension:

Semantic Skills - word knowledge of the particular teminology of a given subject area.

Mathematical Skills - application of mathematical concepts to social studies and science

Historical Skills - knowledge of past events, people, data, political and social issues and conflicts.

Geographic Skills - knowledge beyond finding a location on a map, recognition of ethinic and racial disparities.

Discursive Skills - understanding that texts are written for specific purposes unique to the domain.

Pragmatic Skills - having the capabilites to question texts.

As noted earlier, the use and building of these skills allows for the development of critical thinking skills within the student. Further, by framing questions that require greater investigation may motivate students to understand and delve deeper into social studies and science and finally enjoy the topic being taught.

We chose to show how students could prepare a project, in this case, on the "Emergency Quota Act of 1921" that would allow them to not only use the the various skills needed to complete the project, but also indicate how a simple statement in a text can be questioned and students can arrive at deeper understandings of historical events. Subject matter teachers can engage students and use scaffolding techniques (either by modeling directly to the student or allowing more competent peers to assist other students in assigned projects) to bring students into a zone of proximal development where learning can most easily occur and skills can be built or enhanced.

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