Step 8: Identify Critical Factual Content


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  • Factual content is important and should NOT be omitted; students need to have a body of factual knowledge in order to provide examples that support the generalizations. This process actually began in Step 5 while brainstorming ideas for the Concept/Content web. In Step 8 the factual content is limited to what MUST be taught in the unit.
    Guidelines for identifying critical content:
    • Begin by revisiting the concept/content web and transfer the content down to this section.
    • The critical content will be the facts and topics that anyone teaching the unit must teach.
    • The critical content section is not a list of every name, event, document, law, etc. List only the critical content.
    • The critical content section IS NOT a list of every name, event, document, law, etc. that can possibly be taught in this unit.
    • The content listed SHOULD BE the content that MUST be taught in the lessons that will be taught in the unit.


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  • As you identify critical content for your unit, ask yourself the following questions:
    • What critical factual knowledge will be needed in order to be able to reach the understandings of the unit (e.g., key terminology, key people, key places or events)?
    • Is this factual content essential to successfully teach the unit and not based on personal preference?



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  • After reviewing the overview and the examples provided for you, your next step is to take your concepts and begin generating critical factual content.




History (8.H.2.1, 8.H.2.2, 8.H.2.3, 8.H.3.3, 8.H.3.4)


Laws: Executive Orders 9066, Indian Removal Act
Conflict: Europeans and American Indians, Slavery, 2nd Industrial Revolution
Compromise Access to rights and freedoms, Compromise of 1850, Compromise of 1820
Leadership: Colonial Leaders, President Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Susan B. Anthony, Alice Paul



The dialogue box above represents one of the example strands from the Concept/Content web shown in Step 5. To begin making decisions about the content that is critical to the teaching of the unit, go back to the factual content examples that were placed in the Concept/Content web and transfer them into the Critical Content section. You will add additional or critical content based on the facts and topics you would like to teach.


If there is explicit content that you want every student to know (such as President Obama, George Bush, Susan B. Anthony, and Alice Paul) you will list that content. If the content is flexible and open to teachers’ discretion it may be listed in broad categories, such as “Various Presidential and Women’s Suffrage Leaders.”






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Step 1-->Step 2a-->Step 2b-->Step 3-->Step 4-->Step 5-->Step 6-->Step 7-->Step 8-->Step 9-->Step 10-->Step 11-->Step 12