Overview

Author

Audience

Objectives

Materials

Procedures

Extension

Evaluation

Appendix

 

Exploring Primary Sources

 

Lesson Overview                                                                                                            

This lesson is designed to introduce students to primary sources: what they are, how to find them, how to analyze them, and why they are useful in enhancing oneÕs research.  The lesson is designed to be used near the beginning of a National History Day, or similar research project.

The samples in this lesson are from time periods in which the students have some background knowledge.  This lesson could be adapted to other time periods by finding other primary sources to substitute.  It is important that students have some background knowledge of the topics, so the primary sources are more meaningful.

While written as a webquest online, this lesson could easily be adapted for use without technology by printing worksheets and copies of the primary sources.

 

Lesson Author

Name:

Stephanie Heckart

School:

Mediapolis

 

Lesson Audience

Grade Level

7th/8th grade

# of Class Periods

4

Class

Social Studies

Length of Period

65 minutes

 

Objectives                                                                                                               Back to Navigation Bar

Student will:

1.     be able to compare and contrast primary vs. secondary sources.

2.     be able to locate a variety of online resources for finding primary sources.

3.     be able to analyze primary sources to determine their significance.

4.     be able to identify possible National History Day (or other research project) topics using primary sources.

5.     be able to explain the benefit of using primary sources in research.

 

Materials                                                                                                                 Back to Navigation Bar

General

  1. Computer or ipad for each student
  2. Colored pens

 

Online Resources (hyperlink)

  1. Create a Venn Diagram
  2. Secondary Source about George Washington
  3. Original primary source analysis worksheets

Primary Sources:

  1. Photo of 1900s classroom  
  2. Poster of Women's Suffrage
  3. Letter from Columbus to Ferdinand and Isabella
  4. SoldierÕs Account of British Surrender at Yorktown
  5. First Hand Account of Revolutionary War and Letter to George Washington

Research Sites from Webquest

  1. National History Day Research Central
  2. Iowa Women's Archives
  3. American Journeys
  4. Eye Witness to History
  5. History Explorer 

 

Handouts (Handouts embedded in Appendix)

1.     Document & Photo Analysis worksheets (printed or electronic copy)

3.     Webquest directions for students (printed or electronic copy)

4.     Possible answers for Venn Diagram

 

 

 


Classroom Procedures                                                                 Back to Navigation Bar

Prior Learning (background information, vocabulary)

The student will need to know:

  1. how to navigate a computer or ipad
  2. how to use a Venn diagram
  3. basic information on the National History Day program (or similar research project)

Day 1: Primary vs. Secondary sources

1.     All students will need access to a computer or ipad for this lesson. 

2.     Before class begins, send an electronic copy of the Webquest directions to students, or handout a paper copy of the directions to each student at the beginning of class. 

3.     As students are working on their webquest, encourage them to ask one friend if they have difficulty finding a resource before asking the teacher.  As students work, the teacher may walk around to ensure students are on task and are making progress.

4.     After all students are finished with their webquest and Venn Diagram, come back together as a class and discuss what each student put in their Venn Diagram and why.  Allow students to write in other ideas with a pen or pencil as they listen to their classmates. (Only the typed ideas will be graded, but the entire Venn Diagram will be returned after grading and serve as a reference for students to keep for their research.)

5.     If students are participating in National History Day it may be helpful to expand your discussion to cover how these sources could be part of a NHD project.  Instead of a report on George WashingtonÕs life, the project could focus on how General George Washington caused a turning point in the Revolutionary War with his leadership of the Continental Army. 

6.     As homework or an exit ticket, have students write down as many benefits as they can think of for using primary sources as part of their research.

Days 2-3: Analyzing Primary Sources

1.     Review homework or exit tickets from last class.  Be sure students begin to understand how primary sources increase the validity and interest of their research.

2.     All students will need access to a computer or ipad for this lesson. 

3.     Before class begins, send an electronic copy of the Webquest directions to students, or handout a paper copy of the directions to each student at the beginning of class.  The same is true for the analysis sheets students will need after finishing the webquest.

4.     As students are working on their webquest, encourage them to ask one friend if they have difficulty finding a resource before asking the teacher.  As students work, the teacher may walk around to ensure students are on task and are making progress.

5.     When students finish the webquest they will see the teacher for a partner for completing the analysis worksheets. It is up to the teacherÕs discretion how to choose partners for this activity.  One suggestion would be to partner up those students that finish their work on the web at the same time.  In other words, the first two people to finish the webquest would be partners. 

Day 4

1.     After returning the studentsÕ analysis sheets to them, discuss each primary source as a class.  The teacher can project an image of each primary source as it is being discussed.  Ask students who chose to analyze each resource to lead the discussion.  Be sure to highlight important points from the analysis worksheets.  The discussion focus may vary depending on the responses students gave on their analysis sheets. Students often have difficulty relating the primary source to the Ōbigger pictureĶ of the time period, so this could be a focus. They also struggle getting beyond the facts and dates, and into the significance of the primary source.  These could be the focus of the discussion. Also, if students are choosing NHD or other research projects, give examples of projects that these primary sources could be used with that focus on analysis rather than reporting the facts.  Encourage students to try to start formulating these ideas.  They will need quite a bit of scaffolding at first as they are probably not used to being asked for this kind of project.

2.     As an exit ticket or homework, ask students to write a possible National History Day, or other research project, topic.  Though they may adapt their idea as they complete their research, ask them to write a very specific topic idea that goes beyond a report of the facts.

 

 

Extension                                                                                    Back to Navigation Bar

1.     As students begin their research project, ask them to try finding primary sources at the same sites they found primary sources for these lessons.  Direct them to the National History Day website, http://www.nhd.org/researchcentral.htm for a complete list of resources that may be helpful for primary sources. You may also choose to visit an archive with many more primary sources and archivists to help them in their project. Ask them to fill out analysis sheets and review them with you before incorporating them into their research.

 

 


Evaluation                                                                                                              Back to Navigation Bar

 

Rubric                                                               

The rubric below may be used to evaluate studentsÕ knowledge of the difference between primary and secondary sources based on their Venn diagram and their ability to analyze primary sources based on their analysis sheets and class discussion.

 

 

Exceptional

Proficient

Getting There

More Effort Needed

 

10 pts

7 pts

3 pts

0 pts

Venn Diagram

At least 10 correct entries on Venn diagram.

6-9 correct entries on Venn diagram.

1-5 correct entries on Venn Diagram.

No correct entries on Venn Diagram.

 

10 pts

7 pts

3 pts

0 pts

Analysis Worksheets

All 3 analysis worksheets are completed with evidence of careful analysis.

All 3 analysis worksheets are completed, but answers do not show evidence of careful analysis.

Only 1 or 2 analysis worksheets completed adequately.

No analysis worksheets are completed adequately.

 

5 pts

4 pts

2 pts

0 pts

Discussion

Contributes exceptional points to discussion of primary sources.

Contributed adequately to discussion, but no exceptional points.

Contributed one important point to discussion of primary sources.

Did not contribute at all to discussion of primary sources.

 

5 pts

 

 

0 pts

Partner Work

Both partners contributed answers equally.

 

 

Partners did not contribute equally to the analysis worksheets.

 


Appendix                                                                                     Back to Navigation Bar

 

Handouts