It’s “Elementary, dear Watson:” Building Source-Based Inquiries for the K-5 Classroom

Dates: April and May, 2024
Location: Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH
Participants: K-5 in-service and pre-service educators
Application Deadline: February 16, 2024


The It’s “Elementary, dear Watson:” Building Source-Based Inquiries for the K-5 Classroom workshop invites up to twenty K-5 elementary educators and five elementary pre-service educators to participate in a professional development workshop at Bowling Green State University. The workshop will introduce and provide frameworks for elementary educators to create and teach integrated inquiry-based social studies lessons that highlight primary sources, historical thinking skills, and social and emotional skills. The ultimate goal of the project is to address challenges with incorporating primary sources and gaps in social studies instructional time by sharing tools to empower educators to incorporate the social studies via integrated, interdisciplinary instruction.

This workshop is sponsored in part by the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Midwest Region Program, located at Illinois State University. Content created and featured in partnership with the TPS Midwest Region does not indicate an endorsement by the Library of Congress.


K-5 in-service and pre-service social educators are welcome to apply to the It’s “Elementary, dear Watson:” Building Source-Based Inquiries for the K-5 Classroom workshop. Preference will be given to elementary educators in the TPS Midwest region and those teaching grades K-5; however, we invite all who meet the eligibility criteria to apply.

Application Information

Interested K-5 and elementary pre-service educators must complete an application to be considered. Applications will be reviewed by a team of workshop staff.
The deadline to submit an application is Friday, February 16, 2024. Selected teachers will be notified by Friday, February 23, 2024. Qualified candidates’ applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until February 16th. Acceptances will be sent as each application is evaluated, please apply sooner, rather than later.

Workshop Details

The workshop will be facilitated by Alexander S. Butler, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Inclusive Early Childhood Social Studies Education and Heather Nice, M.S., CEO of History Inspired Education.

Alexander Butler, Ph.D.
Alexander Butler, Ph.D.
Heather Nice, M.S.
Heather Nice, M.S.

Schedule and Readings

There are 4 meetings:
1. A brief introductory Zoom meeting. Late March or Early April (½ hour)
2. On Saturday, April 6, 2024, participants will meet at BGSU for seven hours, with a one-hour break for lunch.
3. On Saturday, April 20, 2024, participants will sign up for a 45-minute virtual block to meet with Alex and Heather.
4. On Saturday, May 4, 2024, participants will convene for four hours at BGSU to share the working draft of the lesson plans they have created, receive peer feedback, and review any lingering questions.
5. Finalized lesson plans are due to us by Friday, May 31, 2024

Educators will participate in a variety of activities that will help them:
1. More effectively teach the historical thinking skills outlined in state and national standards using primary sources.
2. Consider how these social studies activities can be integrated with social and emotional skills to broaden their ability to teach them across the curriculum.
3. Better understand and implement the resources offered by the Library of Congress.
4. Create a bank of shared lesson plans to ensure teachers have the resources to immediately apply institute learning in their classrooms

These activities include:

  • Discussions and activities led by subject matter experts
  • Reading and evaluating pertinent scholarship within the fields of social studies education and SELs
  • Hands-on, source-based sessions focusing on the thinking skills and disciplinary practices used by historians to reconstruct the past and how these connect to Social Emotional Learning Skills
  • Pedagogy sessions focusing on the effective use of primary sources in the classroom
  • Debrief and reflection spaces for brainstorming and working with like-minded colleagues from various districts with diverse experience

To apply their learning, participants will be expected to create a primary source-based lesson plan using a historical inquiry model and highlighting specific historical thinking and social and emotional skills. To meet the requirements of the stipend, participants will be asked to incorporate Library of Congress sources and instructional strategies in the guides they create.
Any required reading resources will be shared with participants. Participants are expected to complete all required readings before their arrival in Bowling Green.

Expenses and Stipends

Participants are responsible for making their own travel, accommodation, and meal arrangements; however, BGSU will provide a final stipend payment, totaling $500, to participants who complete the workshop and the required final project.


Participants will be required to attend and take part in all scheduled activities. Upon completion of the workshop, they will receive a $500 stipend and a certificate for 15 CPDU hours. The hours account for time in the workshop and time to complete the pre-workshop readings.
Participants must bring a laptop, tablet, or similar device as a significant portion of the materials shared during the week are digital.
Five participants will be invited, based on the strength of their inquiries, to present with the facilitators at a workshop for Elementary educators at the Ohio Council for the Social Studies annual conference. These participants will receive conference registration, $100 for travel, and an additional $300 stipend at the completion of the conference.

Updated: 02/19/2024 09:32AM