Primary and Secondary Sources mini unit

Primary and Secondary Sources mini unit
Primary and Secondary Sources mini unit
Primary and Secondary Sources mini unit
Primary and Secondary Sources mini unit
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This is a four day unit dealing with primary and secondary sources. This unit is ready to use and does not require additional materials. Our students loved it!

Primary and Secondary Sources

This is a four day mini unit on primary and secondary sources. It is recommended that this unit be taught towards the beginning of the year. History should be taught like a mystery that needs to be solved. Students should be taught to analyze sources and check for validity. This unit prepares students for that type of work.


Discuss the idea of history being like a mystery to be solved and learning how to analyze sources is the way to solve these mysteries.

Tell the students that they will be recording their schema for the two types of sources - primary and secondary.

Give the students 1-2 minutes to record their answers for Part I.

After the given time period, have the students tell you their answers from Part I. Record all of the answers on the board.

Part II - Read the definitions in Part II aloud. Then, have each student rewrite the same definitions in their own words. As the students are writing the definitions, circulate throughout the room to identify any students with difficulities.

Part III - It is time for students to get some examples of primary and secondary sources. Students should work with a partner and write down as many examples of primary and secondary sources that they can think of. Give the students five minutes for this section. If students are struggling, have them refer back to the definitions.

When students are ready to give their answers, refer back to the brainstorming on the board to recognize the ideas that are similar to the initial discussion.

Make a listing on the board (prefereably using a t chart) to show the sources.

Part IV -

The students should look back to the schema list and the t chart to complete the compare and contrast section. Students should find three similarities and three differences for Part IV. Again, have students give answers and encourage the class to record answers that are new to their list.

REVIEW - this is not on the worksheet, but reviewing a lesson is extremely important. Go back over each section of the worksheet, but have students lead the review.

Part V - It is great for students to bring in an object to share with the class. However, if a student is unable to bring an item in from home, give the option of drawing an object with a description underneath.

DAY 2 -

Part 1 - give each student time to present their items in front of the class. All students should be given a short time to record the item name, determine whether it is a primary or secondary source and give a reason to back their decision. This section should take at least a half an hour to complete.

Part II - This should be a fun section for students to complete and a great time for you to determine which students are still struggling with the concepts. Give students four minutes to gather items from around the room and return to their desks. The students should complete Part II and give a solid reason for the type of source. Sometimes is is fun to give a small prize for the student who have the most creative item or the best reasoning for the determination.

DAY 3 -

It is ideal to have computers for day 3. The students can get a good sense of the different type of primary sources through the Internet. If students finish early, encourage them to search for sites that contain fantastic examples of these primary source documents.

Towards the end of class, have students discuss their findings with a small group.

Since a quiz is coming tomorrow, this is a super time to review:)

DAY 4 - Quiz

Since this unit covers a skill which the students will need to utilize thoughout their educational career, reteach and retest students who struggled on the quiz.

Total Pages
8 pages
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