Intro Historical Thinking Skills - Secondary

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Written by Cathy Morgan and Holly Young

Essential Questions for students (objectives):  How does analyzing a primary source document help us understand historical events/time periods?

Supplies:  Advertisement Handout including questions

Time needed: 60 minute class period

Grades: 7 – 12  Historical Thinking Skills – Analyzing a Primary Source
Instructional Format:  cooperative groups, class discussion

Vocabulary for a Word Wall:  Primary Source

Step by Step Lesson Description:

1)  Read Help Wanted by Mount Vernon by Holly Young and Cathy Morgan.
2)  Discuss as a class:  In the book, the work at Mount Vernon is done by animals.  However, during George Washington’s time, the work was completed by slaves.  How do you think George Washington felt about slavery?  How do think he treated his slaves?
3)  Hand out the advertisement for runaway slaves written by Washington.   Have students read the work individually.  Students can read the material with punctuation – for instance, put a ‘!’ next to any statements that surprise them, and a ‘?’ next any statement that generates a question which they should note in the margins.
4)  Have students complete the questions in small groups, then have a class discussion.  Spend some class time on question number seven as it is the essential question for the lesson and would follow the students throughout historical studies.  Make sure to point out that a good strategy in the future before a read would be to read the questions first and then highlight and punctuate the reading as they go.
5)  Extension:  Have students do a compare/contrast of their feelings when reading Help Wanted at Mount Vernon and the runaway slave article.
Prior Knowledge/ Possible Warm-up Activities:

Attached worksheets or documents: Advertisement Handout including questions