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Explore Document-Based Questions


How are document-based questions structured and used?
Develop a clear enough understanding of the document-based question to be able to explain your understanding to others.

Time To Complete 

1-2 hours

Common Core Standards 

  • CCRA.R.1
  • CCRA.R.2
  • CCRA.R.4
  • CCRA.R.6
  • CCRA.R.7

I Can Statements 

  • I will know my exploration of document-based questions is of high quality when:
    • I can identify the elements of DBQ’s, such as primary and secondary sources, types of sources, and questions.
Suggestions for Assessing Student Readiness to Move Forward:
  • Confer with students to check their understanding of the elements of persuasive writing.
  • Provide students sample DBQ and ask them to code or otherwise identify the elements of the DBQ.
Possible Activities 
  1. Review the sample DBQ. Ask students what they notice about the types of documents included and the types of questions that are asked. 

  2. A mini-lesson on the difference between primary and secondary sources would help students to understand the different types of documents used in DBQ.  Discuss the ideal circumstances for using either primary or secondary sources

  3. Provide students with multiple documents (varying primary and secondary) and ask them to sort them as primary or secondary, providing a rationale for their categorization. 

  4. Give students a topic and ask them to research and find two primary and two secondary sources related to that topic. 

Downloadable Resources 
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