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Primary Sources
Old 05-06-2010, 04:21 PM
 
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I am planning to organize a unit emphasizing primary documents for next year's history class. I teach Gr 7 and I would like to be able to establish some "hands on" activities where the students could work through this type of resource. I was wondering if anyone has organized centers, or web quests, or has any other ideas that you might like to share?


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I've used this with my 5th graders
Old 05-07-2010, 02:59 AM
 
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You Be the Historian

http://americanhistory.si.edu/kids/springer/
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Primary sources
Old 05-07-2010, 10:26 AM
 
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For an introduction to primary sources, many years ago I used to do this the first week of school. I put items in a shoebox, saying it had been found by an archaeologist. I explained that objects or artifacts like this are primary sources, but historians have to draw conclusions and interpret, etc. As I pulled the items out, I told them they are historians trying to uncover facts about the person who owned these mementos. I gave one item to each pair and they had to fill in a handout with description and conclusions about the owner. After about 10-15 minutes, I listed the conclusions, then we discussed guesses and hypotheses about the owner by putting all of the clues together. The items were like a pink baby sock, a movie ticket, a photo with a date on the back, a letter, a newspaper photo, and so on. Students guessed things like the owner was a woman, had a baby girl, etc. Finally I revealed that the clues were about...ME! Then we proceeded with the lesson on primary vs. secondary sources.
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Old 05-08-2010, 12:52 PM
 
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Oooh, I like your approach MiddlingAZ. Thanks for the idea. And also thanks Parker, for the website. Unfortunately, we don't have a lot of access to computers; however, I like their suggestion to print off examples and have accompanying activity cards. Sometimes the clarity of the documents are better online, but I will try to see if I can enlarge them.

Thanks to you both!
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Old 05-13-2010, 10:42 AM
 
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I teach English and I use primary sources as background material when we read historical novels and stories. I do a jigsaw-type activity where I break up each primary source into parts (or use several different sources) and then have each group meet with their matching source to answer questions. Then, they gather in a mixed group and share their answers to the questions and discuss the reading with their peers.


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