Primary and Secondary Sources

Last Friday, we started our HISTORICAL SCENE INVESTIGATION to evaluate historical sources throughout history. 14 items were placed at 7 stations. Students worked in teams to examine and analyze each source using their PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SOURCES cheat sheet (refer to WHY HISTORY MATTERS slideshow). We also conducted an in class partner activity to relate Primary and Secondary Sources to our own lives  (refer to the WHY HISTORY MATTERS slideshow).
A primary source is an original source from a specific period in time. Examples include artifacts like clothing, art, pottery, furniture, etc., documentaries, letters, diary entries, newspapers, speeches, poetry, music lyrics, etc. A secondary source is at least 1 step removed from a primary source. Secondary sources analyze and interpret primary sources. Examples include biographies, history textbooks, movies based on historical events, etc.

View the video below to review primary and secondary sources and how they are used in research.

5 Key Questions:
What: What is the source? Is it a photo? Is it a letter? Is it a textbook? Is it a painting?
Who: Who wrote the letter,took the photo or painted the painting?
When:When was the source created?
Where:Can you tell where the source was created?
Why:Why was the source created? Does it tell a story? Does it interpret other sources? Is it an order from an officer to a soldier? Is it a picture of the Rocky Mountains?

Want to earn extra credit? PROVIDE examples of real sources and explain why it is a Primary or Secondary Sources.
For example, The Movie Super Size Me is a primary source because it is a documentary that follows a real person’s journey of weight gain caused by eating fast food.
The Quiz on Primary and Secondary Sources is TOMORROW.

2 thoughts on “Primary and Secondary Sources

  1. I have an example of a secondary source! I just finished a book I’ve been reading called “Soldier Boys” by Dean Hughes.This book was a secondary source because it wrote about the life of two teenagers (one boy American,the other boy German)living durning WWII.It explained what WWII was like and the hardships they went through.

  2. Dear Class,

    I have a good example for a Primary Source!
    During the Holocaust A girl named Anne Frank wrote a diary about her life hiding from the Nazis. This is a primary source becasue she was involved in that event. Even though it is published, it was not edited or her word were not changed at all. (Ms. D note: Great connection, Erica! Strive for accuracy and check your spelling before posting. Also, first name ONLY. I edited your name to follow digital safety requirements.)

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