What Are the Documents Include in the Primary Sources

Examining primary sources encourages students to grapple with contradictions and compare multiple sources that have different points of view and confront the complexities of the past. Ask if this source matches other primary sources or what students already know. Primary sources are the raw materials of history – original documents and objects created in the period studied. They differ from secondary sources, reports that tell, analyze or interpret events, usually at a distance from time or place. Connecting young people to these unique, often deeply personal, documents and objects can give them a sense of what it was like to be alive in a bygone era. Helping students analyze primary sources can also spark curiosity and improve critical thinking and analytical skills. When analyzing primary sources, students move from observations and hard facts to questions and conclusions about materials. Primary sources are often incomplete and have little context. Students must use prior knowledge and work with multiple resources to find models and build knowledge.

Primary sources help students relate to past events in a personal way and promote a deeper understanding of history than a series of human events. Because primary sources are incomplete excerpts from history, each represents a mystery that students can explore more than by finding new evidence. Encourage students to reflect on their personal reaction to Source. Encourage students to speculate about each source, its creator, and its context. Questions about the Creator`s bias, purpose, and perspective can challenge students` assumptions.