Library Digital Content Access

Introduction of Artifacts as a Primary Source

Created By: Debbie Hohulin, Gibson City Melvin Sibley Elementary School (Gibson City, IL)
Grade Level: 1st
Content Area: Social Studies, Language Arts, Fine Arts, Technology
Database Integration: Students will learn about the TDC database, and use it for a final project.

Background information for the teacher:

"Historians view written primary sources as the most important evidence of past events; evidence that gives us the most vivid picture of the past. Unfortunately, before 1850, few authors wrote about technology. And, there were even fewer authors who actually practiced the technology they wrote about. If a primary source is evidence directly produced by the participant in a past event, then the most primary of sources to the student of historic or prehistoric technology is the artifact. We value primary sources because they are evidence that has not been faded by the waters of retelling. They are not stories we heard from a friend of a friend who knew someone who was there. Primary sources are eye witness accounts that are our most accurate, brightest, and clearest picture of the past. They sweep us away to a different time or place and make us a part of it."

Thomas Sanders, Primary Sources, The Magazine of the Midwest Open-Air Museums Coordinating Council, Fall 1995, Vol. XVI No. 3.




Students will be able to describe the artifacts: what it is made of, how it looks and feels, color, texture, etc. Students will also discuss what the artifact is used for, or who might use it. Students will be able to compare old with new and talk about the likes and differences, and how the changes are better or not and why. They will also be introduced to the terms: artifacts and primary sources.


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