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Elementary Primary Source Sets

A Message from The Colorado Primary Sources for Elementary School Collaborative

Greetings,

We are very proud to present primary source sets for elementary teachers and students!  This project came about as a result of requests from the field.  Elementary teachers had expressed an interest in using primary sources in their classrooms but were not sure how to find sources that were appropriate for their grade level.  As a result, a group of educators worked together to create primary source sets for grades K-6.  

The primary source sets are comprised of three parts:   Lesson Overview, Primary Source Set and Lesson Ideas, and a Resource Set.

  1. Lesson Overview:  The lesson overview is a graphic organizer that gives a "snapshot" of the primary source set and lesson. The lesson overview graphic is based on the Document Based Lesson template developed by A. Reisman (2012).
  2. Primary Source Set and Lesson Ideas: The primary source set and lesson ideas includes a collection of primary sources on a specific topic and a variety of ideas for incorporating those sources into your classroom instruction
  3. Resource Set: The resource set includes additional sources to accompany the Primary Source Set and Lesson Ideas to help extend lessons and further student understanding.

What is a Primary Source?

Primary sources are the voices of the past. They are the raw materials of history — original documents and objects which were created at the time under study. They are different from secondary sources, accounts or interpretations of events created by someone without firsthand experience.  Documents, letters, posters, film, artifacts, photographs, maps, etc. can be primary sources that tell the story of people, places, an events of the past.

Why Use Primary Sources in the Classroom?

Examining primary sources gives students a powerful sense of history and the complexity of the past. Helping students analyze primary sources can also guide them toward higher-order thinking and better critical thinking and analysis skills (from the Library of Congress).

Where Do I Find Primary Sources?


6th Grade

Aztec Codex Mendoza

Lesson Overview (PDF)

Primary Source Set and Lesson Ideas (WORD)

Resource Set

Description: Through the study of the Aztec Codex Mendoza, this primary source set focuses on the influence of art on the culture of a people. 

The Chicano Movement

(This primary source set was developed by pre-service teachers at MSU: Aaron Christopher, Joshua Dosumu, and Hannah Miller)

Lesson Overview (PDF)

Primary Source Set and Lesson Ideas (WORD)

Supplemental Materials (PDF)  (NOTE:  All materials have been combined into a single document)

Resource Set

Description: This set focuses on the Chicano Movement in Denver during the Civil Rights Movement (1960's and 1970's)

The Inca Empire

Lesson Overview (PDF)

Primary Source Set and Lesson Ideas (WORD)

Resource Set

Description:  This set explores the great skills of the Inca in engineering an empire. 

To be developed:

Mayan Codices  | Mexican Geography/Ecosystems | Mexican Economy | Central American Geography/Climate | Early Humans Art and Tools


5th Grade

The Boston Massacre

Lesson Overview (PDF)

Primary Source Set and Lesson Ideas (WORD)

Resource Set

Description: This primary source set has students investigating the Boston Massacre through multiple perspectives in an attempt to discover "what really happened."

The Declaration of Independence

Lesson Overview (PDF)

Primary Source Set and Lesson Ideas (WORD)

Resource Set

Description: This set is designed to help students understand the purpose and text of the Declaration of Independence

Building a New Nation

Lesson Overview (PDF)

Primary Source Set and Lesson Ideas (WORD)

Simplified Versions of the Founding Documents (PDF)

Preamble Worksheet (PDF)

Resource Set

To be developed

Native Americans | Exploration | Early Discovery | Thirteen Colonies | Migration


4th Grade

A History of the American Bison

Lesson Overview (PDF)

Primary Source Set and Lesson Ideas (WORD)

Resource Set

Description:  This primary source set looks at the importance of the bison to Native Americans and then the subsequent decline of the bison population due to over hunting.

The Lives of Women and Children in Colorado's Mining Towns

Lesson Overview (PDF)

Primary Source Set and Lesson Ideas (WORD)

Supplemental Document (WORD): Sample Questions for Images Draw You In

Resource Set

Description: This primary source set and lesson ideas focuses on life for women in children in Colorado's mining towns.

The Dearfield Community

(This primary source set was developed by pre-service teachers at MSU: Shailyn Fung-A-Fat, Mallory Werth, and Jessica Bacon-Taylor)

Lesson Overview (PDF)

Primary Source Set and Lesson Ideas (WORD)

Resource Set

Description:  This primary source set and lesson ideas explores life in Dearfield, Colorado.  Today, what's left of this community is part of the Registered Historic Places in Colorado.

The Ute - Relations Between the Ute and the Anglo-American Settlers During the 1800's (Special Note:  This primary source set should be used within a unit on the Ute in Colorado.  It should not be used as a standalone to teach about the Ute).  

(This primary source set was developed by pre-service teachers at MSU: Sarah Beckel, Maggie Karr, Sandra Roman)

Lesson Overview (PDF)

Primary Source Set and Lesson Ideas (WORD)

Supplemental Materials (PDF)

Resource Set

Description: This primary source set focuses on the changes to Ute Territory as a result of the 1868 Treaty and the ensuing conflict of the Meeker Massacre.

To be developed

Colorado Indians | Exploring Colorado - Trappers and Traders | Homesteaders |  Colorado Cities & Towns | Colorado Government | Colorado Landmarks | Colorado Ghost Towns | Colorado Geography - The Land We Call Home | 20th Century Colorado


3rd Grade

A History of the San Luis Valley

Lesson Overview (PDF)

Primary Source Set and Lesson Ideas (WORD) - NOTE: This set may also be used in 4th grade.

Supplemental Material #1: Changes in the Valley (PDF)

Resource Set  

Description:  This primary source set focuses on the settlement of the San Luis Valley by the Hispanos.  The "story" then focuses in on the Trujillo family.

Colorado Industries of the Past: Sugar Beets

Lesson Overview (PDF)

Primary Source Set and Lesson Ideas (WORD) - NOTE: This set may also be used in 4th grade.

Supplemental Document (WORD): What's the Story?

Resource Set

Description: This primary source set and lesson ideas focuses on the importance of the sugar beet industry for immigrants coming to Colorado.

Characteristics of a Region

Lesson Overview (PDF)

Primary Source Set and Lesson Ideas (WORD)

Resource Set

Description: This primary source set and lesson ideas focuses on the characteristics of Colorado's geographic regions.


2nd Grade

The Auraria Neighborhood: A Look at Changes Over Time

Lesson Overview (PDF)

Primary Source Set and Lesson Ideas

Resource Set

Description:  This primary source set focuses on changes to the Auraria neighborhood in Denver over the past 100 years.

Your Community Long Ago & Today: Keota, A Case Study

Lesson Overview (PDF)

Primary Source Set and Lesson Ideas (WORD) 

Resource Set 

Description: This primary source set introduces 2nd grade students to their community long ago through the Keota settlement. 

Mapping Changes in Colorado Towns

(This primary source set was developed by pre-service teachers at MSU: Danielle DeSpain, Monique Sherred, and Julieann Sorrentino)

Lesson Overview (PDF)

Primary Source Set and Lesson Ideas (WORD)

Supplemental Materials (PDF)

Resource Set


1st Grade

My History at School

Lesson Overview (PDF)

Primary Source Set and Lesson Ideas (WORD)

Resource Set

Description: This primary source set gives students an opportunity to investigate the similarities and differences between school today and school in the past.

American Symbols

Lesson Overview (PDF)

Primary Source Set and Lesson Ideas (WORD)

Resource Set

Description: This primary source set introduces students to the concept of symbols through the study of American symbols such as the American flag and the Statue of Liberty.

Notable Coloradans

Lesson Overview (PDF)

Primary Source Set and Lesson Ideas (WORD)

Biography Graphic Organizer

Resource Set

Description:  This primary source set looks at five notable Coloradans: Scott Carpenter, Missy Franklin, Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Rick "Goose" Gossage, and the Honorable Christine M. Arguello.

 


Kindergarten

Farming in Colorado Through Oral Histories

Lesson Overview (PDF)

Primary Source Set and Lesson Ideas (WORD)

Resource Set

Description: This primary source set focuses on oral histories of families who immigrated to Colorado primarily to farm.

Schoolhouses & Classrooms of the Past

Lesson Overview (PDF)

Primary Source Set and Lesson Ideas (WORD)

Resource Set

Description:  This primary source set looks at one room schoolhouses, the school day, and how children in the past played.

Toys and Games of Yesteryear

Lesson Overview (PDF)

Primary Source Set and Lesson Ideas (WORD)

Resource Set

Description:  This primary source set engages students in exploring the toys and games of the past.


Primary Source Set Partners

The team was comprised of the following people:

Members of the Elementary Primary Sources Work Group
Name Title Affiliation
Clabaugh, Kile Project Coordinator Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources - Metropolitan State University of Denver
Fong, Kristin Museum Educator American Museum of Western Art - The Anschutz Collection
Gould, Amanda Social Studies Coordinator Aurora Public Schools
Hartman, Stephanie K-12 Social Studies Content Specialist Colorado Department of Education
Jennings, Steve Associate Professor, UCCS and Coordinator for COGA University of Colorado, Colorado Springs & Colorado Geographic Alliance
Jeremias, Leigh Digital Collections Coordinator Colorado State Library - Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection
Laugen, Todd Associate Professor Metropolitan State University of Denver - Department of History
Legg, April Manager of School and Teacher Programs History Colorado
O'Neill-Jones, Peggy Professor of technical communication and media production; and Director of the Teaching with Primary Sources Program Metropolitan State University of Denver and Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources - Metro State University, Denver
Patterson, Keith Project Coordinator Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources - Metropolitan State University of Denver
Pettit, Jenny Social Studies Coordinator St. Vrain School District
Ross, Ariana Reference Librarian, Western History & Genealogy Denver Public Library
Sell, Corey Assistant Professor of Elementary Education Metropolitan State University of Denver - School of Education
Theobald, Rebecca Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs and Coordinator for COGA University of Colorado, Colorado Springs & Colorado Geographic Alliance
Willmann, Kent Adjunct Professor University of Colorado and Lessons in Local Government
 

 

Stephanie Hartman, PhD
Social Studies Content Specialist

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