Library Activities: Teaching About Primary Resources

Activity: Have your students track a piece of state or federal legislation from inception to final resolution, including debates, hearings, and votes. Have students research the political and social climate that may have influenced why and how the legislation was crafted.

Learning objective(s): Students will be able to locate government information and track it as it moves through different sessions, committees, hearings etc…Students will be able to contextualize governmental information within its various political, social and cultural settings.

Activity: Examine a primary research article side-by-side with a review article. How do they differ? When might you use each type of article?

Learning objective(s): Students will be able to discriminate between primary research articles and review articles. Students will be able to explain the appropriate uses for each type of article.

Activity: Visit an archive that allows access to records or manuscripts relevant to your class. Have the students choose one to research and then write a short paper that includes an analysis of the records or manuscripts as well as the social, historical and economic context.

Learning objective(s): Students will be able to explain what a primary source is. Students will be able to conduct research which addresses the multiple contexts in which the primary resource was created (historic, social, political etc…).