Montana Historical Society

Big Sky ~ Big History

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In recent years high school teachers from around the state have approached the Montana Historical Society to produce lesson plans and curriculum for secondary students.   The Society has wanted to increase the visibility of its quarterly historical journal, Montana The Magazine of Western History, in schools, so the marriage of the two seemed to be a logical idea.

This collection of lessons was developed for use in Montana, American, and World History classes at the secondary level.   The articles in the magazine are excellent sources for use in studying history using the "expanding horizons" approach: from local, to regional, to state, to country, to world. Although the articles in this issue of the magazine are focused on Butte and its community issues, there are themes in the articles that permeate state, American, and world history.

The lessons are designed in an interdisciplinary manner and include such disciplines as reading, writing, history, geography, political science, math, art, and chemistry. The activities that have been created promote the following skills: research, analysis, critical thinking, debate, reading, writing, map use, and teamwork. The lessons and activities are suggested uses for the articles.  

The intended format for use of the articles is as follows:

  • Read the Article: as homework, in class- individual or out loud.
  • Topics for Discussion: These topics can be used on their own to discuss the article in its context or in the context of local/regional/state/American/world history. American History or World History teachers can use the topics for discussion to link with themes within the US or other countries.
  • Questions: The questions can be used in several ways- to further class discussion, as an in-class or homework assignment, or as quiz/test questions.
  • Other Activities: Many of these activities are interdisciplinary and encourage skill development and group work.