Doing History with Wah Chong's Ironing and Laundry

In this short article, Peter Seixas uses six historical thinking concepts to explore a photo of the Wah Chong family from Vancouver in 1884. Seixas asks:

What uses can we make of a trace, an archived remnant, in opening up early British Columbia history?

How can it help us to understand the process of doing history?

This article, and the activities it contains, works well at the secondary school level.

Guideposts to Historical Thinking

The attached Guideposts to Historical Thinking will help you to establish criteria for the six historical thinking concepts developed by Professor Peter Seixas. The Guideposts are published in the Professional Development book The Big Six: Historical Thinking Concepts (Toronto: Nelson Education, 2013). See


Sam Steele, Superintendant of the Northwest Mounted Police, Resources Now Available

The University of Alberta Libraries' Sir Sam Steele Collection provides an amazing educational opportunity for students to visit an historical exhibition in person or online. The website includes excellent pictures of artifacts and digital copies of documents that can be read online by students. Students can test their detective skills at reading 19th century hand-writing against transcribed copies of many of the documents.
Curriculum resources based on the Steele archives were developed by Allan Hux (Historical Thinking Project Advisory Board Member) and reviewed by Carla Peck (U of Alberta faculty member and Historical Thinking Project Advisory Board Member), in cooperation with the University of Alberta Libraries, which acquired the Steele fonds in June 2008. All lesson materials have been developed using the historical thinking concepts from the Historical Thinking Project, and all lessons include archival documents (Primary Sources), which have been transcribed so that they are very easy for teachers and students to use (they are in .RTF so teachers can easily cut and/or paste all or some of the primary source material, depending on their students' abilities).

For more information and to access the curriculum resources, click here:

The Virtual Historian

The Virtual Historian is a bilingual online program developed at the University of Ottawa to engage students in the critical learning of history and to assist them in developing historical thinking competencies as defined by the Historical Thinking Project. Using backward design, it proposes an innovative approach for the transfer of learning and the application of knowledge through meaningful investigations and problem-solving activities. The teachers' Portal makes it possible to create virtual classrooms and develop personalized lessons.


Six Historical Thinking Concepts: A Graphic Organizer

The six historical thinking concepts (HTCs) are represented in a graphic that explores: aspects of each HTC, how students can demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of each HTC, and suggested student tasks for each.

Created by Dr. Carla Peck

"John A: Birth of a Country" Resource Guide

The film John A: Birth of a Country chronicles the precarious period in Canadian history that preceded Confederation. Confederation—the birth of Canada—depended to a great extent on the relationship between two rivals: Sir John A. Macdonald and George Brown. The Resource Guide to accompany the film was written by Jill Colyer, national coordinator of The HT Project, and specifically integrates historical thinking concepts into classroom activities. Click on the link to download the Guide, and visit CBC Learning at to purchase the film.

Sir John A. Day website

This website, produced by The Historica-Dominion Institute, features engaging materials to assist students and teachers in learning about John A. Macdonald and the events surrounding Confederation. The teachers' resource package was structured around the historical thinking concepts, and was written by Allan Hux, and executive member of The Historical Thinking Project. The resource materials are available free of charge at the Sir John A. Day website.

CBC "News in Review" Historical Thinking Worksheets

CBC News in Review is a news and current affairs program that explores national and international events that have links to classroom curriculum for history, social science, politics, economics, and law. The Historical Thinking Project has developed a number of worksheets to assist teachers working with News in Review. These worksheets help teachers and students to place current events in a larger context through the use of historical thinking concepts. News in Review resource guides and historical thinking worksheets can be downloaded for free from 

What is a Benchmark?

<p>John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising &amp; Marketing History,<br />Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections</p>

A surveyor cut a "benchmark" into a stone or a wall when measuring the altitude and/or level of a tract of land. A bracket called a "bench" was secured in the cut to mount the surveying equipment, and all subsequent measurements were made in reference to the position and height of that mark.

The term "benchmark" was first used around 1842 to refer to a standard of quality by which achievement may be measured.

The foundation documents available through the Benchmarks site attempt to help teachers establish standards for assessing student learning of the modes of thought that constitute historical thinking.

John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History,
Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections