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The C3 Framework

The National Council for Social Studies published the College, Career, and Civic Life, or C3, Framework to guide states, districts, and teachers on best practices for social studies education in the 21st century. The goal of the C3 Framework is to encourage teachers to anchor history, civics, economics and geography courses to compelling questions. Our DBQs and Mini-Qs emphasize the critical importance of promoting inquiry. The “Q” in DBQ says it all—we write questions and provide students with a mix of authentic sources to answer them.

The College, Career, and Civic Life, or C3, Inquiry Arc recommends that students spend the bulk of their time in history, geography, economics, and civics asking compelling questions, finding and using discipline-specific sources to answer them, and then communicating their findings and taking action on what they learn. The questions we write support teachers in choosing strong discipline-appropriate questions for C3 social studies. Our DBQs and Mini-Qs include primary and secondary source documents. Students analyze and then use the sources to answer the question in writing. Our lesson design matches the goals of the C3 Framework and provides teachers with plenty of tools to differentiate and adapt as they challenge their students without overwhelming them.

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