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History's Mysteries K-5 Curriculum Coming in July

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Published on Mon, 06/08/2020

History's Mysteries unit illustration showing 5 lessons: What do Historians Do? What are Push and Pull Factors? Why Do People Move? What is a Refugee? and What was the Great Migration?
2nd grade History's Mysteries unit

History's Mysteries K-5 Curriculum

Emerging America will launch this ready-to-use program for classroom and remote instruction in July. 

Register by July 9 for the Introductory workshop with the authors - Info and Registration for the online sessions on July 16 and 23.* 

Veteran and award-winning educators Laurie Risler and Kelley Brown created this inquiry-based curriculum featuring primary sources from Massachusetts collections and the Library of Congress. They were inspired as they conducted professional development with elementary school teachers – over and over, K-5 teachers expressed the wish that there were an easy-to-use curriculum that would allow them to get their students excited about inquiry in social studies and civics. 

Sixty teachers pilot tested the History's Mysteries curriculum over the winter and spring of 2020. Because of the switch to remote teaching mid-semester, the pilot tests shifted as well, allowing the curriculum to be refined based on in-person classroom teaching feedback and teachers' experience offering lessons through remote instruction.

The kids loved this! They were very interested in the slideshow the entire time. The narration made it seem like a movie. They asked a lot of thoughtful questions and had lots of good discussions. I liked that we had the flexibility to make it last as long or as short as they could handle. - First Grade Teacher

Each grade-level unit invites students to a series of inquiry activities grounded in the 2018 Massachusetts History & Social Science Framework.

  • Each lesson in a unit has a question framed as a mystery. 
  • The first mystery in each unit is an introduction to inquiry.
  • Each mystery has a clickable presentation with optional narration provided.
  • Each mystery teaches vital vocabulary.
  • Customizable handouts and other materials are provided.


When the curriculum launches in July, it will be available at

*Emerging America offers professional development to support teachers in using this curriculum – register with the Collaborative for Educational Services for the online sessions on July 16 and 23, with optional November 12 session which, with completed assignments, will meet requirements to earn 10 PDPs. $50 for all sessions. 



Rich Cairn

Director, Emerging America
Rich Cairn has directed the Emerging America program since 2006. Emerging America includes Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Program at the Collaborative for Educational Services, and the National Endowment for the Humanities Landmarks of American History Institutes: "Forge of Innovation: The Springfield Armory and the Genesis of American Industry."