Point of Inquiry

Grade 4

All teachers new to Point of Inquiry must attend the Teacher Workshop TBA

Please see link at bottom of page for Point of Inquiry introductory video.

two children touching bricks
1860s Fort Point with sailing ship passing

Point of Inquiry transports students to Gold Rush Fort Point to imagine another time and place. Through both individual and small group work, students use primary sources such as historic photographs, artifacts, and maps to place the fort in its historic context. At Fort Point, students investigate and pose information questions and questions for deeper meaning as they construct their own interpretation of the significance of Fort Point when San Francisco emerged as the commercial hub of the West Coast.

Point of Inquiry is co-sponsored by the Presidio Community YMCA. Following the investigation of the fort, YMCA staff takes students on a hike where they practice Leave No Trace and experience a national park as a place for recreation.

Point of Inquiry uses the Understanding by Design framework, incorporates Common Core Standards and Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies.

Please click here for the Point of Inquiry Understanding by Design grid.

Please click here for a PDF of the Teacher's Guide and Program Description.

Please click here for background information for students in English.

Please click here for background information for students in Spanish.

Please click here for background information for students in Chinese.

Program Description

Point of Inquiry is framed by the Essential Question – "How can buildings and artifacts help me to see the history of a place?"

Point of Inquiry is structured in three parts:

Classroom preparation – lessons delivered by the teacher, NPS staff, and YMCA staff with resources provided by the park

Field session – the fort experience in which students investigate the fort and construct their own interpretation

Classroom Assessment – opportunities for students to demonstrate what they have learned through essays based on evidence gleaned from primary sources and the fort visit

Download Fort Point history for teachers.


Last updated: June 5, 2019

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Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Building 201, Fort Mason

San Francisco, CA 94123-0022


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