This primary source sorting activity makes a great introduction to your Reconstruction unit, an activity as you teach it, or a review before the end-of-unit assessment.
First, students will read background information on the Reconstruction era in Virginia (aligned with Virginia Studies VS.8). Then, students will work collaboratively in small groups to analyze ten primary sources related to Reconstruction. They will decide whether each represents a problem that Virginians faced during that time or a solution/change that helped Virginia recover and grow after the Civil War. When students have finished, you may wish to have a class discussion so that groups can share their thinking, as well as to explain the real meaning behind each primary source and how it relates to life for Virginians in the Reconstruction era.
This activity is a great way not only to incorporate primary sources into your teaching, but also to prompt students to think critically about the information in front of them. This activity is subjective, so as long as students can justify their thinking, there may be more than one correct answer. That said, a suggested answer key is included for you to use during classroom discussion.
Included are the following materials:
- Teacher Notes/Answer Key (2 pages)
- Problems and Solutions/Changes Headings
- Ten Primary Source Cards
- Student Worksheets (3 pages)
- Optional Student Reflection Sheet
- List of Primary Sources with Hyperlinks
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