Invigorating Social Studies Curriculum with Current Events

This study was designed to examine the implementation of a current events curriculum in my middle school social science classroom. The curriculum was created as an intervention to determine the level of student comparisons of historical events with contemporary issues as well as to enhance students’ interest in history. This study examined the complexity of participants’ written responses to both student– and teacher–posed questions, the purpose of which was to construct connections between current events and class content in an online discussion forum. Data suggested that the web-based threaded discussions used in the study promoted rich collaborative and cooperative learning opportunities for students. In addition, the connections students made between current and historical events became increasingly complex as the intervention evolved. In addition to examining the connections students made, this study focused on how the current events intervention influenced students' interest in history/social science content. Results about the impact of the intervention on student interest levels remain ambiguous and future research is needed.