Reading selection

Why History Matters
Vocabulary: history, Oral history, historical empathy chronology and
Many things contribute to the way people live and one of the most important is
history, or what happened in the past. History affects all people. Some beliefs and
customs, or ways of doing things, have been passed down from generation to
Relating Events in Time
In history, time is the main subject of concern. The time order in which events in
history take place is called chronology. Historians analyze the chronology of events
to find links between the past and the present.
Finding Evidence
Historians look for evidence, or clues, about the past in the objects and records that
people have left behind. Historians analyze buildings, works of art, photographs, and
everyday tools, not just books and papers. They also listen to or read the stories that
people tell about the past. A story told aloud by a person who did not write down
what happed or who did not have a written language is an oral history. By
examining the many kinds of historical evidence, historians can often explain why
events happened as they did.
Identifying Perspective
By reading the words and studying the objects of people in the past, historians begin
to understand perspectives, or different points of view. A person’s perspective
often depends on whether that person is old or young, a man or woman, rich or
poor. Perspective is also shaped by what a person believes. Your understanding of
the work will grow as you study the points of view of people around the world but it
will also grow as you listen to the person right next to you.
Understanding Frames of Reference
Historians have a frame of reference, their own perspective, as they study the past.
They see the past from the present. Because of this, they need to be careful not to
judge the actions of people in the past based on the way people act today. In the
same way, as you study your way through history you must be carful nor to judge
people or cultures based on your beliefs and point of view. Historical empathy is
the ability to understand people of the past in their own frame of reference.
Drawing conclusions
To understand an event in the past, historians need to analyze its cause and effects.
When you analyze something you break it into parts and look at it very closely. You
look for how those parts connect. This will lead you to draw a conclusion about how
or why it happened.
What do you learn about when you study history?
Why Culture and Society Matter
Vocabulary: culture, society, heritage
As you study world regions, you will compare and contrast how people live. You
will explore people’s languages and religious beliefs. These ways of acting, speaking
and believing make up a culture. Each human group, or society, has a culture that
is unique, or different from others, in some way. The people in a society also share a
heritage. Their heritage is the combination of ideas and culture that have been past
down through their history.
Why Civics and Government Matter
Vocabulary: Government, and civic participation
To keep order and resolve conflicts in a society, people need government. A
government is a system of leaders and laws that help people live safely together in
their community, state or country. There are many kinds of governments, past
governments have affected the shape our present government. One of the reasons
we study government and civics is so that people will understand their rights and
responsibilities. All of this is in effort to build true civic participation, citizens
being concerned with and involved in issues related to their communities, states,
and country to world.
Why economics Matters
Vocabulary: economy and economics
To support a society its people, society must have an economy, or a system of using
resources to meets people’s needs. The people must be able to make, buy, sell and
trade goods and services to get what they need and want. Economics is the study of
the way good and wealth are produced, distributed and used in the world.