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EIU Teaching with Primary Sources

Classroom Activities - Elementary

Classroom Activities: 

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Children of Yesteryear

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This activity focuses on children of yesteryear. We will be experiencing as well as, discussing what it was like for children out on the playground at the school during the late 1800s.

The Classroom-Then and Now

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This lesson will explore pictures of school classrooms today and in 1900. Students will point out similarities and differences between modern and olden day classrooms. Each student will determine what he/she would miss most if attending school in 1900 and explain why he/she would miss it.

Coat of Arms

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Students will examine Columbus' coat of arms. The website The Meanings Behind the Symbols will be used to decipher the meaning behind his coat of arms. Students will then create a personal coat of arms.

I Pledge Allegiance..and Know What it Means

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This lesson will allow students to look at the words they say every morning, The Pledge of Allegiance, and analyze the meaning behind it.

The Statue of Liberty as a National Symbol

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This lesson explores the Statue of Liberty as a national symbol and its sources of symbolism. With guiding questions of: What is a symbol? How can a symbol be used to communicate an idea? Students discover a sense of place for Ellis Island as point for immigrants entering the United States which resulted in the country we know today. Students will be exposed to "The New colossus", by Emma Lazarus

Stories and More from the Spanish-American War

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In this lesson the students read a story in their basal reader about a young girl and her grandfather who are talking about his experiences in the Spanish-American War. Many parts are true, but he also adds exaggerations to make the story more exciting for the young girl. In this lesson the student will spend time looking at primary source photographs and a video taken in the late 1890s. An in depth analysis of these items will help the students better understand the events of the war and how they led to a turning point in American history.

All Aboard! Escaping Slavery on the Underground Railroad

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Students will use critical thinking skills and applications to understand the strains of slavery and the risks associated with escape to freedom via the underground railroad through an in depth primary source analysis. The students will use two primary sources to analyze the escape of a fugitive slave. Students will then apply their knowledge gained to complete related extension activities.

Daughters of Freedom Song Analysis: The Power of Forceful Words

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Students will listen to and participate in a brief discussion of music as a medium for ideas and culture. STudents will analyze sheet music of a women's suffrage song, noting the emphasis on the strong language used. STudents will analyze and contemplate why such language was used and ultimately conclude the passion women expressed for the right to vote.

What's the Monumental Story? Lincoln's Era & the Washington Monument

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This lesson utilizes primary source documents to help students investigates the story of the construction of the Washington Monument. Drawings, lithographs, wood engravings, and Congressional Records guide student toward understand why the monument was built and some of the stories behind the iconic tribute to our first president.

Thanksgiving in the Time of Lincoln

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The lesson examines the origins of theAmerican Thanksgiving holiday through primary sources.









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