Introducing New Inquiries from Facing History | Facing History & Ourselves
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Introducing New Inquiries from Facing History

Facing History has recently expanded our teaching resources library with two C3-style inquiries. Read on to learn about our unique approach to this popular teaching approach.

Introducing Inquiries from Facing History

Facing History & Ourselves has recently published two C3-style inquiries: “We the People: Expanding the Teaching of the US Founding” and “Angel Island Immigration Station: Exploring Borders and Belonging in US History.” We are excited about adding a new resource type to our existing library and want to take this opportunity to highlight our approach to inquiry in our new social studies resources.

The C3 Framework and the Inquiry Design Model (IDM)

The College, Career, and Citizenship (C3) Framework emerged in 2013 as a way to develop standards for social studies. The Framework is the result of a collaboration between social science researchers, K-12 educators, and professional organizations that support social science educators and researchers. The goal of the C3 Framework is to provide guidance to states and educators as they update social studies standards and instructional programs. The C3 framework does not prescribe specific content that students should learn, but instead focuses on the arc of inquiry—the disciplinary skills and practices that students need in college, career, and civic life. 1

Two years later, New York State, in collaboration with teachers and the authors of the C3 Framework, published the first C3 inquiries using the Inquiry Design Model. 2 Ten years later, over two-thirds of US states have used all or parts of the C3 Framework to shape and design their state standards. 3 In addition, many districts, schools, and teachers have drawn upon the Inquiry Design Model (IDM) to create engaging learning experiences for students that center compelling questions and the analysis of rich primary and secondary sources. 

Facing History and the Inquiry Design Model

Facing History has a rich history of inquiry. Case studies like The Reconstruction Era and the Fragility of Democracy and Holocaust and Human Behavior engage students in the deep exploration of primary sources so that they can learn about the past and use those lessons to reflect on the complexities of problems that persist today. Our move to include C3-style inquiries using the IDM template demonstrates our continued commitment to inquiry while acknowledging the time constraints that teachers encounter when choosing resources to supplement their curriculum. By using the Inquiry Design Model (IDM), we are able to be more responsive to teachers’ needs. Social studies teachers across the country will have more options throughout their school year for including Facing History resources that supplement their existing curricula and align to state standards.

Our Pedagogical Approach and the Inquiry Design Model

Our pedagogy remains at the forefront of our C3-style inquiries. We have intentionally included instructional practices that allow students to consider the emotional, ethical, and intellectual complexities of human behavior while engaging with the social studies concepts and skills from the C3 Framework. These practices include:

Exploring the Complexity of Identity, Membership, and Belonging

Students will examine how context influences our sense of identity, membership, and belonging. We offer students opportunities to make connections to their own identities and lived experiences and to explore how those identities and experiences shape the choices that we make as well as the choices available to us. 

Analyzing History and Its Connection to Today through a Critical and Ethical Lens

Students will explore a variety of historical sources as well as sources from the humanities and the social sciences. They will have opportunities to practice historical, ethical, and emotional thinking skills and routines that consider the agency and motivation of historic and civic actors. 

Developing the Capacity for Informed Civic Participation

Our C3-style inquiries provide student-centered and collaborative learning activities that reflect Facing History’s pedagogical approach, emphasizing the value of both reflection and action as students become informed civic participants. They will participate in class discussions that promote civic discourse around the complexities of their social and civic worlds. 


  • 1See for more information and to download the C3 Framework
  • 2Kathy Swan, John Lee, and S.G. Grant, “The New York State Toolkit and the Inquiry Design Model: Anatomy of an Inquiry,” Social Education 79, no. 5 (2015): pp. 316-322.
  • 3Ryan New et al., “The State of Social Studies Standards: What Is the Impact of the C3 Framework?,” Social Education 85, no. 4 (2021): pp. 239-246.

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