Primary sources are artifacts, documents, or any other source of information created at the time under study. They provide records of the period of time in which they were created.
They take many formats:
- audio or video recordings
- journals, diaries, and letters
- political cartoons
- newspaper articles
- government documents
- and more!
These valuable resources engage students in a meaningful way, resulting in a deeper understanding of past events. By analyzing primary sources, students gain greater insight into what it was like to live during the period of time in which the materials were created.
Common Core State Standards (CCSS)
Inquiry into primary sources helps students achieve the following standards set forth in the CCSS, which places an emphasis on informational text:
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
Identify key steps in a text’s description of a process related to history/social studies.