A CIESE Primary Source and
Archived Collections Project

Historical Treasure Chests

Teacher Area

Learning Objectives

  • Students will be able to define primary and secondary sources and give examples of each.
  • Students will access primary source material on the internet.
  • Students will analyze primary source materials and come to conclusions about their contents.
  • Students will consider multiple perspectives and interpretations.
  • Students will formulate historical questions and identify additional resources.

Curriculum Standards

New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards

  • 8.1 Educational Technology: All students will use digital tools to access, manage, evaluate, and synthesize information in order to solve problems individually and collaboratively and to create and communicate knowledge.

  • Social Studies

    • 6.3 Active Citizenship in the 21st century (Critical Thinking Skills) All students will Identify and use a variety of primary and secondary sources for reconstructing the past (i.e., documents, letters, diaries, maps, photos, etc.).

    Commom Core English Language Arts Standards: Reading Informational Text
    Key Ideas and Details

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

  • Materials

    Each student should have a notebook to record observations, answer questions, and keep track of new vocabulary words.

    Suggestions for Classroom Implementation

    • If you and your class are studying a particular time period, person or historical event, you may want to select documents that focus on it.
    • When selecting documents consider the reading level of your students. For learners who are struggling with reading, you can select two pictures and one written text. You may want to rewrite the text so that it is accessible to your students.
    • The list of primary and secondary sources provided in part 1 should be copied onto chart paper and posted in the classroom for all the students to see. This portion of the activity can be done without the use of computers.
    • Throughout the reading of these and other written text, students should employ reading strategies to help them gain access to the meaning. They should read the text and identify words that are unfamiliar to them. These words should be the basis for a class vocabulary list. Once the students have defined the unfamiliar words, they should re-read the text.
    • Students should be encouraged to jot down notes as they read any text. Their notes might contain questions that were sparked by certain lines in the text or connections they were able to make between lines in the text and personal experience. These notes can provide rich material for subsequent discussions.
    • The questions provided for each of the primary sources are suggestions. It is not necessary for students to investigate all of them.

    Publishing Student Work Online

    We encourage participants in this project to publish their students' work online in the Student Area.  However, before submitting anything to be published on this web site, please refer to our Policy on Publishing Student Work

    • Sorry, we cannot accept FAXed materials or paper copies. You can send your PDF or Word files either via an attachment in an email message or on disk in the regular mail.  We also accept PowerPoint Presentations.
    • When submitting information to be posted please make sure to include your name, school name, address, email and phone number.
    • Sorry, but materials which are submitted for display online cannot be returned. 

    Send  your project-related images and text in electronic format to:

    Carol Shields, Project Leader