Identifying and understanding the importance of primary source documents


Identifying and Understanding Activity


Overhead projector/Promethean Loose-leaf paper, numbered 1-10


Students will assemble themselves into small groups of 3-4 students each. Once in their groups, the students will view the following 10 images on the overhead projector, one at a time, for five minutes each. The students will work collaboratively with their peers to write one to two sentences describing the image. In another one to two sentences, the students will write how the person, place, document or event depicted in the image relates to the American Revolutionary War. Once all of the images have been viewed and the students finish writing, they will reconvene as a whole group to discuss their ideas and impressions. Through a student-led, teacher-monitored discussion, students will ask questions and facilitate a conversation about how this method of learning would benefit their understanding of this historical event/time period. The teacher will then offer students an opportunity to one by one identify what could be a primary source (journal entry, photograph, memoir, etc.) Students will not be able to repeat other student answers, and if they are stuck, may ask a peer for help.


Currency used by the soldiers of the American Revolutionary War.


Letter written by 17 year-old Jerusha Jones, daughter of a Revolutionary War soldier, to her parents.


Photograph of a Tory jail in Pennsylvania.


Battlefield map from the Battle of Saratoga.

Ahb2009q13004 428px.jpg

Photo of an unused bomb.

Benjamin Franklin - Join or Die-300x216.jpg

Drawing by Benjamin Franklin illustrating the importance of the individual colonies banding together.

Margaret Morris' Diary

The Stamp Act of 1765


Image of a woman bringing munitions into a fort.

Tea party.jpg

Artist's rendering of the Boston Tea Party.

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