Historical Perspective and Peel the Fruit Thinking Routine

Practicing historical perspective is an essential social studies skill. Historical perspective is being able to step into a historic situation and examine the motivations, biases, and beliefs of a person or group of people. Students have to revert to the beliefs of a group of people even if those beliefs completely contradict the views we have today. They must weigh decisions based on the situation of the time, not necessarily how situations are viewed today.

The C3 Framework for Social Studies states that "Historical understanding requires recognizing this multiplicity of points of view in the past, which makes it important to seek out a range of sources on any historical question rather than simply use those that are easiest to find. It also requires recognizing that perspectives change over time, so that historical understanding requires developing a sense of empathy with people in the past whose perspectives might be very different from those of today." http://www.socialstudies.org/system/files/c3/C3-Framework-for-Social-Studies.pdf 

An extremely helpful activity to promote historical perspective is the "Peel the Fruit" Visible Thinking routine. Students utilize this routine to get to the heart, or core, of a situation or issue and they do it through historical perspective.

The outer layer requires historians to explain what they might see, hear, and notice about the topic/event, the second layer requires them to come up with puzzles or questions related to the topic/event, the third layer asks them to consider many different viewpoints and step into those viewpoints. The final ring gets to the heart of the issue and asks students analyze the reason the topic/event happened. 
The Peel the Fruit routine is another opportunity to hone character education skills like empathy and compassion and promote deep learning in the social studies. (The picture below is an example from a previous year.)


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