Prior to investigating a source, students examine the variety of people and groups that would interpret the source differently. Members of the class brainstorm to arrive at a list of all the different viewpoints, then one by one speak from the perspective of the varying stakeholders. This thinking routine, published by the Visible Thinking project at Project Zero, helps students consider the social and historical context for a primary source.
The Stripling Inquiry Model represents the inquiry process graphically to help students make sense of the inquiry process. The Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources program has helped to popularize the model. Find an in-depth discussion of inquiry and links to additional models and resources at Emerging America's Inquiry Strategies page.
A way to spur inquiry and close observation is by examining one quarter of the primary source at a time.This six-minute exercise gives students a chance to focus in on particular details of the source. Having students write notes about each quadrant helps students to generate ideas and text fragments they can use in their writing; the partial view makes it easier for students to make notes without self-criticism.
The Library of Congress teacher Primary Source Analysis Tool helps students learn the skills of inquiry. The Library of Congress Teachers page suggests prompts to analyze: maps, film, oral histories, newspapers, political cartoons, books and other printed texts, sheet music, photographs and prints, manuscripts, and sound recordings. http://www.loc.gov/teachers/usingprimarysources/guides.html
Access an excellent slide show on the Census from Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Consortium member Dr. Elizabeth Osborn, Indiana University Center on Representative Government!
“…establish justice…” “…promote the general welfare….” “…secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity…”
By connecting the goals of the federal government to primary source visual representations, this simple civics lesson will help students to remember and think more deeply about the goals set out by the Preamble to the United States Constitution.
This lesson uses the 21st century “travel ban,” ruled constitutional in 2018, as an entry point to explore previous shifts in US immigration policy. More specifically, students will use primary sources to examine social contexts of three specific immigration laws (Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, Immigration Acts of 1921 & 1924, and Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952) in order to understand who was banned or excluded from the US and why.
Kelley McDermott, History teacher in a Massachusetts Department of Youth Services facility developed this lesson to attract her 8th grade students interest in research and public policy. Historically, students with disabilities are disproportionally caught up in the juvenile justice system. The lesson employs many strategies and tools for accessibility from Emerging America's Accessing Inquiry course. These include a focus vocabulary analysis and Universal Design for Learning plan.
Since arriving in North America in the 15th century, Africans in the United States were forced to navigate the social, economic, and physical limitations placed upon their lives by the institutions of slavery and the racist ideology that justified it. The following primary source set shows several ways that different communities responded to the outlawing of the Atlantic slave trade (and subsequent yearly celebrations of the event) and the Emancipation Proclamation. These two events fundamentally challenged and changed the institutional practices of slavery.
A large, discipline-specific vocabulary is a distinct challenge for Students with Disabilities and other diverse learners in History and Social Science. Concepts like "citizen" or "rights" are complex, culturally fluid, and difficult to picture. While the vast number of specific or historical technical terms like "longitude," "veto," "cuneiform," and "carpetbagger" require depth of context and background experience.