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 era?
Written Document Analysis Worksheet
1. Type of Document (Check one):
 Newspaper  Map  Advertisement
 Letter  Telegram  Congressional record
 Patent  Press release  Census report
 Memorandum  Report  Other: --
2. Unique Physical Qualities of the Document (check one or more):
 Interesting letterhead  Seals  Other: --
 Handwritten  Notations
 Typed  "RECEIVED" stamp
3. Date(s) of the Document:
4. Author (or creator) of the Document:
5. For What Audience was the Document Written?
6. Document Information (There are many possible ways to answer A-E.) A. List three things the author said that you think are important:
B. Why do you think this document was written?
C. What evidence in the document helps you to know why it was written? Quote from the document.
D. List two things the document tells you about life in the United States at the time it was written:
E. Write a question to the author that is left unanswered by the document:
Map Analysis Worksheet
1. Type of Map (check one):
 Raised relief map  Satellite photograph/  Artifact map
 Political map  Weather map  Contour-line
 Natural resource  Topographic map  Pictograph
 Bird's-eye view  Military map  Other: --
2. Physical Qualities of the Map (check one or more):
 Compass  Title  Notations
 Date  Legend (key)  Name of mapmaker
 Scale  Handwritten  Other: --
3. Date of Map:
4. Creator of Map:
5. Where was the map produced?
6. Map Information
A. List three things in this map that you think are important:
B. Why do you think this map was drawn? …