Interpreting Primary and Secondary Sources


Social Studies Middle School Interpreting Primary and Secondary Sources
Students learn to distinguish between primary and secondary sources. Then they learn how to evaluate and interpret primary sources. Finally, students conduct brief case studies by locating and evaluating primary and secondary sources for assigned historical topics.

This learning experience is designed for device-enabled classrooms. The teacher guides the lesson, and students use embedded resources, social media skills, and critical thinking skills to actively participate. To get access to a free version of the complete lesson, sign up for an exploros account.

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Here are the teacher pack items for Interpreting Primary and Secondary Sources:

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Overview

In this experience, students learn to distinguish between primary and secondary sources. Then they learn how to evaluate and interpret primary sources. Finally, students conduct brief case studies by locating and evaluating primary and secondary sources for assigned historical topics.  

Students will work together in small groups in scene 4.

Objectives

  • Identify primary and secondary sources.
  • Evaluate and interpret primary and secondary sources.


Imagine that you’re doing a personal project recording your family history from 200 years ago. How would you go about finding that information? What information would be best for your purposes and why? In this experience, you will learn about the types of sources that individuals and historians use to track down history.

Objectives

  • Identify primary and secondary sources.
  • Evaluate and interpret primary and secondary sources.




Ancient Roman Wall Painting, City of Pompeii


This painting is two thousand years old. It was painted directly on a wall in a house in Pompeii, a city in Italy that was destroyed by a volcano in 79 C.E.


What do you notice about individuals from the painting? Describe your observations in a word or short phrase. To list more than one, separate your ideas with a comma, like this: Naples, Rome

Post your answer

Now read about the painting at Portrait of Pacquius Proculus and Wife.


Name two facts you learned based on what you read.





Why is the painting a good source of information about the era and culture of these individuals?

Post your answer

Discuss student responses. Students will likely suggest that because the painting was made during the time of Ancient Rome, it reveals aspects of life at the time, such as dress, jewelry, hairstyle, professions, and so on.

Ask students why it is important to look at original materials from a specific time period in order to learn more about it. Use the discussion to set the stage for learning about primary and secondary sources.


When everyone is ready to continue, unlock the next scene.

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The Complete List of Learning Experiences in Foundations of History Unit.
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