Learning Toolkit: Historical Inquiry With Charts



Historians are experts at assessing and analyzing documents to build a narrative but may be stymied by numbers. Charts (tables, graphs, maps, diagrams, and so on) provide a graphical view of information and can be a powerful way to display evidence. This toolkit provides a series of resources for students to read, interpret, and think critically about charts in textbooks and historical documents. It has three main parts: (I) the Glossary of Chart Terms, (ii) the Visual Glossary of Chart Types, and (iii) Historical Inquiry Questions for Charts. It also includes a suggested procedure for how to use the Toolkit. Keep the Toolkit resources bookmarked to use each time you come across a chart for study.

data literacy, charts and graphs, information literacy, historical inquiry

In order to aid in the retrieval of information from this publication, significant tables, charts, and/or articles have been extracted and can be viewed individually or across a span of issues.

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This lesson aligns with the C3 Framework for Social Studies State Standards for Historical Sources and Evidence and Causation and Argumentation (D2.His.11.6-8; D2.His.12.6-8; D2.His.13.6-8; D2.His.14.6-8; D2.His.15.6-8; D2.His.16.6-8; D2.His.11.9-12; D2.His.12.9-12; D2.His.14.9-12; D2.His.15.9-12; and D2.His.16.9-12)

Educational resources on FRASER are provided in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and other regional Federal Reserve Banks. Unless otherwise noted, these resources are free and open for individual and classroom use, reuse, retention, and redistribution, within the terms of our Economic Education Permitted Use policy. For questions about specific use cases, please contact us.

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Johnston, Eva , Podleski, Genevieve and Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Learning Toolkit: Historical Inquiry With Charts. 2016,, accessed on May 19, 2024.