SWBAT distinguish between primary and secondary sources and explain what tools/strategies they need to evaluate primary sources and how to use them by creating a tool kit that allows them to perform source work.  The kit they create will include:

  • magnifying glass
  • highlighter
  • post-it notes
  • interrogating devices
  • composition book
Students create this kit to be used with every subsequent lesson. It is also a kit that will change with the lessons, building on information they discover as they become more proficient in interrogating sources, adding items to the tool keep that will help them contextualize, identify multiple perspectives, make connections, etc.

Interrogating device - written document

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Interrogating device - photographs

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Historical Research, Evidence, and Point of View

3. Students pose relevant questions about events they encounter in historical documents, eyewitness accounts, oral histories, letters, diaries, artifacts, photographs, maps, artworks, and architecture.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.7 Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently.


Source Pack:

  • photographs
  • posters from previous unit on WW II
  • newspaper article on WW II 

Warm Up

"We are going to begin our next unit tomorrow on the concept of change; however, before we can take a look at what change looks like we have to make sure we have the tools to conduct a reliable investigation.  As you know from previous units we've studied it's important that we are historians.  I would like for you to take a moment to think about why historians examine past events.  I know you've thought about this before but perhaps your ideas have changed or may even feel more strongly than before about your previous ideas.

So let's think about it using our 3/5/7 brainstorming technique....

Think of 3 reasons historians examine past events quietly to yourself...turn your name plate over when you have your ideas so your tablemates will know you're ready to share ... when you and your tablemates have come up with 5 ... turn your name plates over and I'll know that you're ready to share with the class and then as a class we'll create a list that we can use to make sure we're able to understand exactly why it's important for us to examine the events and people that help us understand change."

Students at the tables share their ideas and as a class we development a list of 7 reasons historians examine the past.  Throughtout the unit we will come back to the list to determine if we're on track.

New Material

So let's begin to put together a kit that you can use to make sure that you are using the tools that historians need to examine the past.

Students will assemble their tool kits and I will model how to use them and we will explore the importance of the questions on their interrogating devices. For example:

In front of you, are the tools that we will begin to use:

First:  Why would we use a magnifying glass? How about a highlighter?

Second: What do historians look at to help them examine the past?  Newspaper articles, maybe?  What else?

How do they know these documents are worth investigating?  

Let's look at the interrogating devices that belong in your tool kit?  Why do you think they are important?

Why are we asking these specific questions about the document?

I lead students as they discover the interrogating devices help them contextualize, question, connect, and discern multiple perspectives; and introduce them to this vocabulary/terms as a method of inquiring about their sources.  Additionally, we define primary sources and secondary sources and how to distinguish them. 

World War II Poster


Following direct instruction, students will work with their tablemates using their tool kits to interrogate a photo and a newspaper article about WW II.


Unit pretest prior to the warm up.

Exit Ticket - Name 3 items in your tool kit and tell why they are important to historians.

Civil Rights Pretest

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Closure and Reflection

Students will self-select to share their source work; and will be referred to the objective again to reflect on whether we met our objective as the tool kit is something they use everyday during the unit.