4W PowerPoints

This is a support page for partner teachers who are working with CALIS to develop 4W materials and strategies.

Four Words of History

These powerpoints (ppt files) are an experimental alternative to 4W charts in the Activities Database.  The database collection uses Word (doc) files.  The doc files are very dense with analysis of factors accompanied by teaching notes.  A ppt file can provide a step-by-step layering of ideas as it builds toward a final, highly detailed illustration.

Caution:  These ppt files are NOT necessarily recommended for classroom use with students.  The initial purpose was for teacher training where teachers can be given quick examples of different applications of the 4W analytical process.  However, the purpose of the 4W analytical process is for students to engage directly in layering ideas in order to practice anticipating which social science factors are in play.  Partner teachers who help craft these files have spent time to think through applications of the 4W model and ways that they will help students tease out the layers, make connections, and relate to multiple examples. The process is about facilitating student dialog where they are talking about the human condition – engaged in articulating why factors are relevant, theorizing about cause and effect, defending which factors they conclude are more determinant of certain outcomes, and which factors are strategic to resolving or avoiding problems.

The goal is critical thinking, not filling in a worksheet.

As an active reading strategy, some slides are an illustration of textbook-based inference exercises (aka quote activities).  The slides provide teachers with examples of questioning the class about textbook main ideas -- guiding students to identify factors and make connections that teachers record step-by-step to a 4W chart on the front board.  Regardless of a particular textbook, with any focus question as a study of a human dynamic, students can be guided with examples and leading questions to consider – infer or anticipate – which factors are in play.


Recommended to use “normal view” (not slideshow) in order to see slide notes. Each ppt has a slide with the Table of Contents.



Intro to Social Science Factors   4W ppt: Introduction for Teachers


Four Worlds


Results & Impact

Common Core

4W in Spanish










More ppt files
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Illustrates the purpose & process of the 4W analytical model.   4 – Slavery ...an opening example for cause & effect to problem-solving
15 – The Math Analogy   
23 – Got Stability? / 39 – Got Power?
34 – Factoring in Math & Social Science
42 – Textbooks, Uncovering Cause & Effect
Four Worlds of Water   4W ppt: Factor Images
This is an inference activity based on using images to introduce students to "the factor sheet".   2 – Purpose of this file -- Role of water, past & present
12 – Four Worlds of... Water
6th grade intro: Sumer   4W ppt: Sumer & the Rise of City-States
Developed for LAUSD workshop to support 6th grade teachers' implementation in Aug 2014   -- Introduction/frontload of factors to connect past & present
-- Step-by-step of Inference Exercise (6.2)
-- Writing strategies: Sentence construction, Summary Options
-- Karen West's DRW class - differentiation
7th grade: Islamic Empire
  4W ppt: Islamic Empire -- Religion & Identity
Section on Religion & Identity recommended for high school classes. Includes religious demographics and ethnicity to build background for "complex text" about current crisis in Syria and Iraq.

  -- Introduction/frontload of factors to connect past & present
-- Peaceful transfer of power
-- Religious demographics -- Five Major Religions distinguished from sects
-- Timeline of Five Major Religions
-- Identity (nationality, ethnicity, religion)
-- Arab Spring
-- Step-by-step of Inference Exercise (7.2)
8th grade: Early American Culture    4W ppt: Land & Rights
Begins with another "active reading" -- an inference exercise that is provided in the CALIS Activities Database   4 - Step-by-step of Inference Exercise (8.1)
42 - Assess the Assessment
44 - Got Land?
49 - Enclosure Movement
56 - Principles of the US Constitution
68 - Classical Liberalism
71 - American Identity
75 - Civil Society (version of Thomas Paine slides in above ppt)
93 - Costs of Freedom
Democracy & Freedom   4W ppt: American Society
This ppt is being developed for the first unit in Fall 2015.   7 - What is the American promise?
9 - How is the American Dream possible?
11 - How is freedom possible?
Enlightenment   4W ppt: Enlightenment
This ppt is a roll-out of key concepts that introduce 10th grade Modern World (10.1 Western Political Thought).  However, the main ideas are a repeat of 7th grade Enlightenment and 8th grade Constitution and other concepts that are central to 11th USH and 12th Government. Indeed, the divine right of kings established in 6th grade is a key concept in question during the Enlightenment.   12 – How did kings have legitimate authority over their people?
20 – Revolution and Enlightenment – What are the “big ideas”?
29 – What are the main purposes of a constitution?
39 – How does classical liberalism relate to personal virtues?  <-- 8.1
....... directly tied to Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin
53 – What is the relationship between government & civil society?
....... directly tied to Thomas Paine
63 – Role of Institutions in a Democracy -- institutional infrastructure
68 – The Individual & Community -- equally important competing values
70 – How is American society organized?  (reference sheet 4)
78 – Goals of the Social Sciences (a standard ppt ending)
Imperialism   4W ppt: Imperialism
This ppt is an "active reading" exercise to outline textbook information to a 4W chart.  In the 4WH model, active reading is an example of "close reading" mandated by Common Core State Standards.  Completing the 4W chart is a text-dependent process.   As a reading strategy with the textbook, the slides provide teachers with a plan for questioning the class -- guiding students to identify or infer factors and connections.  Students 1) organize information according to each type of factor (each world), 2) identify or infer the specific factors in play, and 3) connect or relate the factors. Once completed, students can review all the factors to determine the primary cause of imperialism and problem-solving approaches to ending imperialism.
Government   4W ppt: Four Worlds of Policy

These ppt files were prepared by Jen Osorio, Banning High School, LAUSD.


  -- Presented at the 2014 conference for the California Council for the Social Studies (CCSS) as part of the special "bootcamp series" for Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

ppt: Functions of Government -- Presented at the 2014 Constitution Day Conference at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library