A few years ago I wrote a post about searching through the Digital Public Library of America to locate primary source documents to use with students. At that point the DPLA had relatively few, loosely organized collections. Yesterday, I received an email from DPLA informing me that they now have more than 100 primary source document sets for students.
The DPLA’s primary source document sets are organized by subject and time period in United States history. Depending upon the time period the DPLA primary source sets include documents, drawings, maps, photographs, and film clips. A list of points to consider accompanies each artifact in each set. Teachers should scroll to the bottom of the page on each artifact to find a teaching guide related to the primary source set.
Applications for Education
The DPLA’s primary source sets provide teachers and students with a convenient way to find primary source documents. For teachers it can be a good way to locate resources to use in a lesson plan. For students the sets can provide a good start to a research project.
On the topic of primary sources, this video provides students with a great explanation of the differences between primary and secondary sources.
Last month I outlined five good activities for teaching with primary sources. My favorite on that list is layering old maps on top of current maps in Google Earth.