The first worksheet, "Introduction to Documents" suggests an activity to orient students to documents. The subsequent worksheets focus on different types of primary sources: written documents, maps, photographs, cartoons, artifacts, sound recordings, motion pictures, and posters. Each offers suggestions for how students might "read" a document in order to understand its content and significance. They begin by asking students to locate and identify the basic components of the document--the date, author, physical qualities, etc. Later questions encourage students to critically about the document's content.
Introduction to Documents Worksheet
1. This evening, with the help of a family member or an adult who is close to you, look through the souvenirs of your life that have been saved as you have grown. For example, these might include a photograph, a letter, a diary, a newspaper clipping, a birth certificate, a report card, or a library or social security card. Select one item to bring into class that you are willing to share with your classmates and teacher.
2. During your turn in class, present your document and provide the following information:
a. What type of document is this?
b. What is the date of the document?
c. Who created the document?
d. How does the document relate to you?
3. Consider, for your document and the documents of your classmates, responses to the following questions:
a. What does the existence of this document say about whoever created it?
b. What does the existence of this document say about whoever saved it?
c. What does the existence of this document say about American life in this …