What Is Historical Thinking and Why Is It Important?

Contributor: Hallah Elbeleidy. Lesson ID: 10397

Is the study of history just about dull facts? Or is it more about examining and analyzing those facts? Through video and online activities you will learn the importance of proper historical thinking!


learning style
personality style
Lion, Beaver
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


You most likely understand the relevance of history, even if it is a subject you learn reluctantly; but are you aware of the critical skills learning history teaches you? All of the skills you’ll need to be successful are neatly packaged into a concept known as historical thinking!

Historical thinking is complex and multi-faceted.

Understanding the processes inherent in knowing and examining history will better prepare you to analyze and critique what you read. The skills necessary for historical thinking are transferable, meaning you’ll be able to use these skills in other subjects and parts of your life as well.

Complete the exercises below to gain a better understanding of historical thinking and why it matters:

READ Changing the Teaching of History, One Byte at a Time (edutopia)

While reading this article, keep in mind that it was written by a professor who is posing important concerns and questions regarding how history is taught.

WATCH What is Historical Thinking (below). This video provides a thorough overview of all the smaller parts that make up historical thinking. Pay close attention, as you will be required to use these skills for a later exercise:


TINKER why historical thinking matters (historicalthinkingmatters.org)

Get comfortable before opening this link, because the video begins right away. To progress to the next section, click on the arrow in the bottom right corner of the screen. You are also given the option of a second perspective during some exercises. Listening to these additional narratives isn't mandatory; however, go for it if you're curious!

Elephango's Philosophy

We help prepare learners for a future that cannot yet be defined. They must be ready for change, willing to learn and able to think critically. Elephango is designed to create lifelong learners who are ready for that rapidly changing future.