Where were you born? When did you lose your first tooth? What kind of shoes did you wear when you were six years old? What kinds of evidence could you use to support your answers to these questions?
In this assignment, students will use their personal histories to better understand the kinds of sources historians might use when researching a particular person or event. The first part of the assignment asks students to brainstorm the answers to 10 different questions (e.g. Did you play sports as a young kid? If so, what sports?) and then explain what kinds of evidence they would use to support their answers.
The second part of the assignment has students think about the difference between "WHAT" questions and "WHY" or "HOW" questions. Namely, students should think about the complexities that arise when historians attempt to answer "WHY" or "HOW" questions. Students will then answer a few personal "WHY" and "HOW" questions (e.g. What is the worst injury you've ever had? HOW did that injury happen?), making sure to explain what kinds of evidence they could provide to support their answers.
The final part of this assignment reminds students of the importance of source credibility. Students will choose three types of evidence they came up with in the earlier sections and explain why historians should double check the authenticity and accuracy of those types of sources.
** NOTE: Students do NOT actually have to bring in these pieces of evidence! **
This is a great way to teach students about (1) different types of sources that can be used for gathering information and (2) source credibility! Moreover, keeping it personal will keep it engaging! Plus, you'll get to learn a little more about your students along the way!