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Homepage Home > Professional Development > Workshops & Summer Institutes > Social Science & History > AP U.S. History: An Introduction to Historical Thinking Skills

AP U.S. History: An Introduction to Historical Thinking Skills

For new and experienced AP teachers

Workshop description

The goal of the AP U.S. History course is to "encourage students to become apprentice historians who are able to use historical facts and evidence in the service of creating deeper conceptual understandings of critical developments in U.S. History." Key to meeting this goal: creating a learning environment that encourages students to develop the historical thinking skills used by historians while engaging with provocative questions about the past. This workshop will help teachers understand how to use the Curriculum Framework to frame lessons that promote historical investigation and conceptual learning, and within that context, how to help students develop the specific historical thinking skills required by the course. The revised AP U.S. History course will go into effect in 2014–2015.

Workshop goal

Participants will develop strategies for integrating skills development into the AP U.S. History curriculum.

Learning outcomes

After attending this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Define what "historical thinking" means for historians, and identify the benefits and challenges to helping students develop historical thinking skills in the AP U.S. History course.
  • Use the Curriculum Framework to frame the study of history as an investigative process that requires students to engage with provocative questions about the past as they learn about historical developments.
  • Understand what each of the historical thinking skills defined by the Curriculum Framework requires students to be able to do, and help students learn to use those skills to engage with historical questions.
  • Understand which exam items assess which historical thinking skills and be able to create related tasks for classroom practice


  • Welcome and Introductions
  • Laying the Foundation
  • Historical Thinking Skills and the AP U.S. History Course
  • The AP U.S. History Curriculum Framework: Setting the Stage for Historical Investigation
  • Using Evidence to Support an Argument
  • Workshop Summary and Closing

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