Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Learning Sciences and Human Development

Committee Chair

Joy Faini Saab.


This study defines the components of a middle school history curriculum based on a theory of learning consistent with the use of cognitive tools and the tenets of constructivism. Utilizing a comparative analysis of learning theories encompassing developmental and constructivist beliefs and their influence on appropriate instructional design, the research addresses the necessary pairing of instructional planning and learning theory. Additionally, an examination of linguistic tools and their relationship to cultural development and distinctive kinds of comprehension, as well as specifics of the various learning stages, preferences, and skills are used to provide a rationale. This analysis is employed in the development of a middle school history/social studies curriculum premised upon the ideology that students employ intellectual tools at different stages of maturation that support specific types of understanding. The resulting instructional design for students, grade six through eight, contains the fundamental elements of constructivism, how these elements manifest themselves in a curriculum, appropriate activities, projects, and methods for evaluation. The study concludes in a discussion concerning the implications of coupling constructivist theory with linguistic strengths, and the impact this union has on curriculum design.