5 Ways to Add Primary Sources to Your Day

Primary sources are an important part of social studies education. Firsthand historical accounts, photos, and artifacts provide insight into events from the past. However, finding grade-appropriate primary sources can be time-consuming. Luckily, these five resources will help you add more primary sources to your lesson plans.

1. Primary Source Library

You don’t need to look further than your TCI account to add more primary sources to your lessons. The primary source library included in TCI’s Learning Libraries provides a wealth of documents. From poems like “I Will Go West” by J.P. Barrett to founding documents like the U.S. Constitution, you can access various primary sources from diverse authors across historical eras.

2. Investigating Primary Sources

For guided activities where students analyze and develop arguments with primary sources, TCI’s middle school history programs include Investigating Primary Sources. In Investigating Primary Sources, students explore primary sources from a specific era to develop an evidence-based argument. For example, students read firsthand accounts from Seneca and Cicero to answer the question, Why did gladiators fight?

3. Library of Congress

For United States history classrooms, the Library of Congress houses a large repository of photographs and documents with significance to the country’s past. Since the Library of Congress is maintained by the U.S. government, access to primary sources is free. Photographs from the Great Depression, posters created during World War II, political cartoons, and more are found in the digital collection. Similarly, the National Archives is another rich resource of U.S. history primary sources.

Example of primary source images.

4. Local Museums

Did you know that after a fire burned down most of Havre, Montana, business owners reopened their businesses underground? Artifacts and primary sources from this event are housed in their local museum, Havre Beneath the Streets. Local museums and tours like this one are full of primary sources and a great way to explore your town’s history. Find one where you are and have students research the local history.

5. Lesson Games

Challenge your students to analyze primary sources with the Primary Source Investigation lesson game in TCI’s games library. In Primary Source Investigation, students read a primary source document and are presented with multiple choice questions.

Get a Digital Sample of TCI

TCI’s social studies programs include many opportunities for students to investigate primary sources. Want to explore the programs? Get free digital samples.

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