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The new Common Core standards put great emphasis on making sure that students can properly interpret and cite evidence within primary and secondary sources. Introducing students to this process can be particularly challenging due to the tediousness of the language involved in most sources. This activity was designed as a way to introduce the process of source analysis in an easy and engaging way.
During this activity, students will use a set packet of secondary source documents about the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. Using only these documents, students will have to come up with a theory regarding the causes of the “hysteria” and be able to write their conclusions out in a short paragraph. This activity can be expanded and altered in many different ways to make it more applicable to more advanced students.