Doing History: Investigating with Children in Elementary and Middle Schools, 5th Edition (Paperback) book cover

Doing History

Investigating with Children in Elementary and Middle Schools, 5th Edition

By Linda S. Levstik, Keith C. Barton


208 pages

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Now in its fifth edition, Doing History offers a unique perspective on teaching and learning history in the elementary and middle grades. Through case studies of teachers and students in diverse classrooms and from diverse backgrounds, it shows children engaging in authentic historical investigations, often in the context of an integrated social studies curriculum.

The premise is that children can engage in valid forms of historical inquiry—collecting and analyzing data, examining the perspectives of people in the past, considering multiple interpretations, and creating evidence-based historical accounts. Grounded in contemporary sociocultural theory and research, the text features vignettes in each chapter showing communities of teachers and students doing history in environments rich in literature, art, writing, discussion, and debate. The authors explain how the teaching demonstrated in the vignettes reflects basic principles of contemporary learning theory.

Doing History emphasizes diversity of perspectives in two ways: readers encounter students from a variety of backgrounds, and students themselves look at history from multiple perspectives. It provides clear guidance in using multiple forms of assessment to evaluate the specifically historical aspects of children’s learning.


"This book is, bar none, the best collection of ideas on teaching history in meaningful ways to elementary and middle school students. The authors ground engaging teaching examples in relevant theory and draw connections to technology, literature, and the arts. It is a must-have for any history teacher."

Christine Woyshner, Temple University, USA

Table of Contents


Author Biographies

Chapter 1 Past, Present, and Future: The Sociocultural Context for Studying History

Chapter 2 It’s Not Just a Mishap: The Theory Behind Disciplined Inquiry

Chapter 3 There Aren’t a Lot of "For Sure" Facts: Building Communities of Historical Inquiry

Chapter 4 To Find Out Things We Didn’t Know About Ourselves: Personal Histories

Chapter 5 Tell Me About Yourself: Linking Children to the Past Through Family Histories

Chapter 6 I Think Columbus Went to Hell!: Connections and Controversies in World History

Chapter 7 Camel Dies, Lose Three Turns: Scaffolding Inquiry Into World History

Chapter 8 Rats in the Hospital: Creating a History Museum

Chapter 9 I Have No Experience with This! Historical Inquiry in an Integrated Social Studies Setting

Chapter 10 Why Isn’t That in the Textbook? Fiction, Nonfiction, and Historical Thinking

Chapter 11 Oh, Good! We Get to Argue: Putting Conflict in Context

Chapter 12 In My Opinion, It Could Happen Again: How Attitudes and Beliefs Have Changed Over Time

Chapter 13 Nosotros La Gente: Diverse Perspectives in U.S. History

Chapter 14 The Arts Make Us All Part of Humankind: Cognitive Pluralism in History Teaching

and Learning




About the Authors

Linda S. Levstik is Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Kentucky, USA.

Keith C. Barton is Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and Adjunct Professor of History at Indiana University, USA.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Curricula
EDUCATION / Elementary
EDUCATION / Teaching Methods & Materials / Social Science


The links below are downloadable PDFs of bibliographic lists of children’s and adolescent literature, organized by topic. Each list corresponds to a chapter in Doing History: Investigating with Children in Elementary and Middle Schools, 5th Edition.

Children’s and Adolescent Literature Lists