A Message from The Colorado Primary Sources for Elementary School Collaborative
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.
- 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).
- 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
- 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?
Primary Source Analysis Worksheets:
Worksheets may be modified or adapted to specific goals or outcomes of the lesson.
- Artifact Word | Artifact PDF
- Artwork Word | Artwork PDF
- Document Word | Document PDF
- Film Word | Film PDF
- Map Word | Map PDF
- Newspaper Article Word | Newspaper Article PDF
- Oral History Word | Oral History PDF
- Picture/Photograph (Image) Word | Picture/Photograph (Image) PDF
- Poster Word | Poster PDF
Aztec Codex Mendoza
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)
Supplemental Materials (PDF) (NOTE: All materials have been combined into a single document)
Description: This set focuses on the Chicano Movement in Denver during the Civil Rights Movement (1960's and 1970's)
To be developed:
Mayan Codices | Inca Architecture | Mexican Geography/Ecosystems | Mexican Economy | Central American Geography/Climate | Early Humans Art and Tools
The Boston Massascre
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
Description: This set is designed to help students understand the purpose and text of the Declaration of Independence
Building a New Nation
To be developed
Native Americans | Exploration | Early Discovery | Thirteen Colonies | Migration
The Lives of Women and Children in Colorado's Mining Towns
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)
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.
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
The Sugar Beet Industry in Colorado
Primary Source Set and Lesson Ideas (WORD) - NOTE: This set may also be used in 4th grade.
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
Description: This primary source set and lesson ideas focuses on the characteristics of Colorado's geographic regions.
Your Community Long Ago & Today: Keota, A Case Study
Description: This primary source set introduces 2nd grade students to their community long ago through the Keota settlement.
(This primary source set was developed by pre-service teachers at MSU: Danielle DeSpain, Monique Sherred, and Julieann Sorrentino)
My History at School
Description: This primary source set gives students an opportunity to investigate the similarities and differences between school today and school in the past.
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.
Farming in Colorado Through Oral Histories
Description: This primary source set focuses on oral histories of families who immigrated to Colorado primarily to farm.
Primary Source Set Partners
The team was comprised of the following people:
|Clabaugh, Kile||Project Coordinator||Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources - Metro State University, 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||Metro State University, 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||Metro State University and Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources - Metro State University, Denver|
|Patterson, Keith||Project Coordinator||Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources - Metro State University, Denver|
|Pettit, Jenny||Social Studies Coordinator||St. Vrain School District|
|Ross, Ariana||Reference Librarian, Western History & Geneaology||Denver Public Library|
|Sell, Corey||Assistant Professor of Elementary Education||Metro State University, 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|
|Willman, Kent||Adjunct Professor||University of Colorado and Lessons in Local Government
Stephanie Hartman, PhD
Social Studies Content Specialist