DBQuest introduces students to major questions in civics and history. A “Big Question” acts as guiding light for deep examination of three selected primary resources. Each document challenges students to dig into the text itself and find the relevant information through document–based supporting questions. 

  • A guiding question to address through three selected primary sources
  • Target evidence-based reading skills aligned with Common Core
  • A variety of texts, images, and video primary source artifacts to explore
  • Written reports mapping students’ thinking and work available in My iCivics
  • A Guided Mode providing scaffolding throughout the tool and a Freeform Mode that removes the additional assistance

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The Nashville Sit-Ins

What makes a movement successful? The people? The actions? The outcome? Students find out that answering this question is more involved than it may seem. Each of the three primary sources reveal a new perspective on the Nashville Sit-In Movement of 1960, and lead to a deeper understanding of what it means to work for change.

Students will hear from a local businessman, student activist, and view newspaper coverage of the event.

DC Voting Rights

What does the American Revolution’s rallying cry “taxation without representation” have to do with the District of Columbia?  Looking at three different types of sources-- Congressional debates, a newspaper article and posters-- students will see how the taxation without representation argument has been used to advocate for district voting rights for over 200 years.

Little Rock: Executive Order 10730

When President Eisenhower authorized troops under federal authority to desegregate Little Rock Central High School in 1957, he became the first president since Reconstruction to use federal forces to help enforce equal rights for African Americans. Using the example of Executive Order 10730, students will explore how executive orders can be used to enforce the law and examine how Eisenhower justified his actions.


The Louisiana Purchase: Branching Out

President Jefferson usually gets the credit for the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, which doubled the size of the young nation. But this ignores one important actor, the U.S. Congress. Nearly every step of the process involved the approval of, and funding from, the Legislative Branch. This DBQuest will walk you through primary sources that show the give and take between the two branches. 

America's Founding Preambles

Learn how the American idea of government evolved from a revolutionary response to monarchy to a unified nation. The sources will illustrate the effort taken to reach “a more perfect union” through a close read of our founding documents.

Historical Monuments & Meaning

Civil War-era monuments are in the news. Some people want to remove statues because they represent ideas many find disturbing. Others want to keep the statues because they show our nation’s history, even if it is difficult. This DBQuest looks at one such statue, the Freedmen’s Memorial in Washington, DC. These primary sources will explore the complicated nature of memorial statues by looking at who funded and designed the Freedmen's Memorial, as well as a critique of the monument by a leading voice of the time, Frederick Douglass. 

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