Teaching with Primary Sources
Teaching and Learning with Primary Sources:
A Publication of the Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities TPS Project
Issue 2, February 2010
The Use of Primary Sources in High School History Classrooms
Emily Paras, Briana Piche and Leah Nillas
“Using primary sources in history classes is all the rage” (Barton, 2005). The growing popularity of primary sources requires teachers to examine and understand the effectiveness of using primary sources in order to teach history. This research study investigated how the use of primary sources affects students’ understanding of history. Our first step in the research process was to survey students after two lessons that used primary sources and to document the students’ academic responses to the lesson. Our next step was to interview the teacher who taught the lesson using primary sources. Our final step included analyzing the data we compiled. Our results were consistent with our literature review. The benefits of using primary sources can be grouped into two major themes: developing a critical and comprehensive understanding of history and creating a relevant and meaningful learning experience for students. There is also a risk in using primary sources if they are not presented correctly. In addition to finding these results, we discovered that using primary sources helps build historical empathy in students. Our study is significant because we are contributing to a very current issue in the educational world.
As primary sources have become widely used in the world of history education, numerous scholars have debated their effectiveness. Insuring student understanding of historical knowledge was rated as important or very important in Hicks, Doolittle & Lee’s (2004) survey study on the effectiveness of the use of primary sources in the social studies classroom. Considering the value placed on students’ understanding of history, primary sources can be used to deepen student understanding. Our research study investigates the effectiveness of the use of primary sources in the history classroom. Our study is significant because we are contributing to a very current issue in the educational world. Our research question was as follows: How does the use of primary sources affect student’s understanding of history? For this research we define understanding as the ability to explain the meaning of an historical event or idea. Students must be able to internalize the significance of important historical events and concepts
The overall trends of the literature suggest that the use of primary sources can deepen students’ understanding of history while allowing them to think critically. Trends also suggest that using primary sources can create a more relevant and meaningful learning experience for students. Researchers also have studied the use of technology in presenting primary sources in the history classroom. Finally while literature supports the positive aspects of the use of primary sources, various researchers maintain that the misuse of primary sources can result in inefficiency. In response to these findings, we want to examine the ways primary sources are used in teaching history. In choosing studies for this literature review, we focused on recent studies that examined classrooms which utilize primary sources.
Developing a Critical and Comprehensive Understanding of History
Levy (2004) examined how history teachers can use primary sources to enhance students’ understanding of the 1960s. Levy quoted studies that suggest that using primary sources encourage active learning, which includes students creating their own interpretations instead of straight memorization of facts and interpretations. Primary sources have the potential to produce a broader, more balanced sense of history. Levy provided several ways of teaching the 1960s through the use of primary documents. His study discussed what teachers do to integrate primary sources rather than effect of primary sources on students. It offered different ways to use primary sources, and offered evidence of the effectiveness of using primary sources.
Similar to Levy, Talamante (2008) described how she developed her US history course using primary sources. She described how she developed her US history course, using primary sources and textbooks, with the larger backdrop of world history. By including the international perspective, students were able to evaluate US history from a broader perspective, and it helped tie the course together. The major themes the author touched on included immigration, democracy, freedom, racism, and citizenship. She assigned group presentations and journal assignments to help students understand what it means to be an American citizen. Talamante did not focus on the effects of using primary sources.
In contrast to Levy and Talamante, Maypole and Davies (2001) conducted a study in which all the data was qualitative, based on students’ responses. They focused on how constructivist theories impact the learning experience of students. They used students’ perceptions of their learning experiences in a course which used constructivist theories to guide the class as data. The students in the study were enrolled in a sophomore level US history course in a community college in a white, middle class suburb. These students constructed knowledge based on life experiences, textbook readings, independent research, and primary sources. The results, which were based on interviews, journal responses, and essays, showed that most students increased their interest in the topic, learned a lot, and overall had a positive experience. In the case of primary sources, students said they learned more as a result of using them. For example, Maypole and Davies compiled student responses as data. One student wrote the following (p.10):
The primary sourcebook did what it was designed to do. It made me look at the issue or event from different angles…I think it broadened my perspective to look at it from angles that would not have occurred to me with my own personal biases and background. And I like that book because it was individuals talking about their experiences and how it hit them in the gut opposed to just the broad brush of history.
A small minority of students did not like the constructivist learning experiences because they wanted more guided learning and believed the work load was too much. Maypole and Davies’ research provided evidence of the positive aspects of constructivist learning. It focused almost entirely on constructivist learning and rarely discussed of the effectiveness of primary sources. Similar to Levy and Talamante, Norby (2004) emphasized that primary sources help students think critically and analytically, which allows them to interpret events and question the various perspectives of history. She outlined the various ways the Smithsonian Museums can help teachers. She focused specifically on the vast amount of primary sources the Smithsonian museums hold, and the ways that teachers can use them in their classrooms. Norby emphasized how primary sources can capture students’ imagination and help deepen their understanding of historic events. Norby also emphasized that the Smithsonian Museum viewed the use of primary sources in the classroom in a positive manner. She also explains different methods teachers can use when integrating primary sources into their classroom. These methods included using document-based questions, investigative frameworks, and small group work that focused on a specific primary document. Similar to Levy and Talamante, Norby focused on the different methods teachers can use when integrating primary sources into their classrooms rather than presenting evidence of the effectiveness of primary source usage.
The ability for students to develop a critical and comprehensive understanding of history was valued in many of these research studies. For example, Crew (2008) explained in her research how coverage of the contribution of women in World War II is limited and viewed from the perspective of Caucasian women. The information already available can be supplemented with primary sources that reveal women’s involvement in World War II from a multicultural perspective. A multicultural perspective offers students a “deep understanding of the woman’s contribution.” Crew (2008) also expressed the importance of analyzing primary sources for student development of visual literacy skills along with the importance of examining the verifiability and bias of written accounts. Critical thinking skills and analysis skills are also discussed in Dutt-Doner, Cook-Cottone, and Allen’s (2007) study.
Critical thinking and analysis skills will allow students to gain a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of history. In their study, which aimed to determine if students gained a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of history, students were given a preliminary survey to determine prior knowledge about San Francisco in 1906. After a lesson in which students analyzed primary sources about subject, students were then asked to answer a document-based question. The researchers analyzed student responses to determine the effect of primary source analysis on their learning experience. Their findings indicated that primary source usage allowed students to “exercise critical thinking skills needed to analyze and interpret historical documents” (p.1). Dutt-Doner, Cook-Cottone, and Allen concluded that passively learning history by memorizing dates and facts does not contribute to students’ historical understanding. Similar to Crew’s (2008) study, Dutt-Doner, Cook-Cottone, and Allen’s research found that students that use primary sources develop a “fuller and more thorough understanding of history” along with the opportunity to “view multiple perspectives rather than a summarized view of history” (p.3). Both Crew and Dutt-Doner and his colleagues concluded that students develop valued critical thinking skills and gain an opportunity to view multiple perspectives in history, which allows students to have a deeper understanding of history.
In summary, a major limitation in these studies included the lack of information involving the effects of the use of primary sources in the history classroom. Many of these studies instead focused on how to use primary sources in the classroom. These studies measured student learning through student responses, specifically journal responses, document-based questions and teacher responses. The literature supports the use of primary sources in history classrooms to help students think critically and analytically, interpret events, and question the various perspectives of history.
Creating a Relevant and Meaningful Learning Experience for Students
Other research on the use of primary sources valued a meaningful historical learning experience for students. Binkiewicz (2006) studied how the use of historical songs affected students’ understanding of history. Binkiewicz found that using songs made the classroom experience more enjoyable as music enhanced student learning. Historical songs were considered to be valuable primary sources as they provided students with “direct commentary, attitudes, and emotions expressed by real people in particular historical periods” (p.515). Therefore, the use of music as a primary source allowed for students to be engaged in historical learning. Binkiewicz also maintained that melodies and lyrics are natural means to remember material, though memorization is not a goal. Songs helped students imagine and remember historical concepts; however, she did not mention if the songs helped students develop critical thinking skills. Binkiewicz’s study mainly focused on the ability for the use of songs in the classroom to enhance and enliven student learning.
Shields (1998) also found in her study that primary sources can “make student learning relevant and meaningful” (p.1). As part of her research method, she asked students to complete activities while examining photographs, records, and artifacts at a local museum. Since students considered how historical artifacts provide evidence of the past and constructed hypothesis based on this evidence, students had a more meaningful experience as they were “active” rather than “passive” learners. Dutt-Doner et al (2007) supported both Binkiewicz and Shields’ research by maintaining that “One way to create meaningful history learning experiences for students is to incorporate primary source analysis into classroom practice” (p. 2). Dutt-Doner added that primary source document analysis gave students an opportunity to connect with history in a more personal and active manner. History came alive to the students since the student took the role of a historian.
As their main system of methodology, these researchers analyzed sample student work and examined student responses and reflections. Binkiewicz’s study presented a major limitation as she discussed how to use historical songs in the history classroom rather than focusing mainly on the impact of primary source usage. The research of Dutt-Doner, Binkiewicz and Shields supported the theory that primary source usage gives students a more relevant and meaningful learning experience.
Using technology as a means of presenting primary sources in the history classroom
O’Neill and Weiler (2006) examined 10th grade social studies students as they tried to understand historical interpretation. They focused on the Tracking Canada’s Past Project (TCP), which aimed to engage students in more genuine forms of historical research using a web-based discussion between students and historians. They tried to produce a “fusion of horizons” between students and historians, so students could better understand what historians do, and thus make history more relevant to them. They suggested developing more computer-based cognitive tools which aim to enable students to participate in creating and understanding historical interpretation.
Tally and Goldenberg (2005) also studied technology as a means to present primary sources. Specifically, they examined the use of an online historical assessment task in middle and high school level classrooms. Students were asked to examine a historical image and take notes while forming conclusions on the details they saw. The online assessment led the students through the task step-by-step, in order to serve as a scaffold. The results were based on student responses to two questions. The first question was “Do students learn more history, and like history more, as a result of their current class?” After compiling student responses to this question, Tally and Goldenberg found that 87% of the students reported learning more history. Also, 72% of students reported they liked history better as a result of this online assessment which used primary sources. The second question was “What historical thinking skills do these students exhibit?” By examining the students’ observation journals, Tally and Goldenberg found that students exhibited parallel historical thinking processes, corroboration, and citing evidence. All of these skills are important to historical thinking.
Some research shows that technology can be useful when presenting and searching for primary sources to use in the history classroom. Hicks, Doolittle & Lee (2004) argued that the use of digital primary sources would slowly diminish the use of textbook-driven instructional resources and promote the practice of historical inquiry and critical thinking skills. By interviewing teachers regarding their use of technology when using primary sources, Hicks, Doolittle & Lee (2004) maintained that “the emergence of freely available web-based primary sources may well serve as a key ingredient for the revitalization of history and transformation of the social studies,” (p. 218) though her research concluded that most teachers do not have enough time in their curriculum to consistently incorporate primary sources. Brown and Dotson (2007) supported Hicks, Doolittle & Lee’s conclusion that technology was a valuable resource in teaching with primary sources. Though Brown and Dotson’s study focused on the effectiveness of using Information and Communication Technology, she concluded that “students gained new understanding in how to interpret historical documents as they read primary sources to write their final reports” (p. 36).
Though Brown presents useful information about the effectiveness of primary sources, her study contains a major limitation for our research. Her research aims to determine the effectiveness of the use of Information and Communication Technology rather than primarily determining the effective use of primary sources in the history classroom. Overall, the literature supports the use of technologically based primary sources as a way to help students engage in historical thinking, as well as creating historical interpretations. The literature also supports the use of technologically based primary sources as a way to make history more relevant to students, and thus increase the interest and likeability of history for students.
Potential Dangers of Using Primary Sources
Both Jacobson (2000) and Barton (2005) identified the negative effects of the use of primary sources; though, negative effects were produced mostly from the inefficient or misuse of primary sources. Jacobson emphasized the importance of putting subjects in historical context before allowing students analyze the corresponding primary sources. Jacobson presented an example of a racist song, which without identification within historical context, can be misinterpreted by students. Barton (2005) discovered common misconceptions that instructors may hold about primary sources. Barton warned that the misuse of primary sources, “will result in classroom procedures that are not only inauthentic but irrelevant and ineffective” (p.746). He also maintained that primary sources can engage students in historical inquiry only if historical subjects are placed in context and secondary sources are used to enhance the lesson.
Barton also advised instructors to use primary sources in moderation as they are only necessary for certain learning objectives and outcomes. For example, a student would not need to examine city census documents to learn that a city increased in population; however, it would be useful for a student to examine an account from an immigrant who lives in a crowded tenement to learn about the consequences of an increase in population. According to Barton, certain subjects in history would be devalued if the corresponding primary sources were examined; however, students cannot properly examine primary sources with historical background information.
The overall trends in the literature suggest that the use of primary sources in history classrooms does indeed demonstrate that students can gain a critical and comprehensive understanding of history while having meaningful and relevant learning experience. Considering the use of primary sources in history classrooms is a recent phenomenon, one limitation within our literature is our lack of abundance of research. The literature that we complied confirmed the existence of both positive and negative effects of the use of primary sources.
The positive effects of primary source usage include the ability to give students a deeper, more comprehensive understanding of history while giving students a meaningful and exciting learning experience. The negative effects of primary source usage include students’ misinterpretation of historical concepts when primary sources are misused by instructors. Considering the research we have examined and evaluated our own research about primary source usage can be put into context. The purpose of our study is to examine how primary sources affect students’ understanding of history. Details of this research are presented in methodology portion of this study.
Using primary sources as a part of Social Studies curriculum is becoming increasingly popular in today’s schools. It is important for teachers to examine and understand the effectiveness of using primary sources to teach history. The purpose of our research was to examine the effectiveness of the use of primary sources and how it affects student’s understanding of history. Our research question was as follows: How does the use of primary sources affect student’s understanding of history? For this research we define understanding as the ability to explain the meaning of an historical event or idea. Students must be able to internalize the significance of important historical events and concepts.
At one rural high school, the participant population consisted of junior students who took U.S. History. These students were required to take this course as a graduation requirement. Considering that only 20% of the student population at the school seek and pursue higher education, motivation and achievement among the student participants vary. The majority of the students are Caucasian, though some of them are African-American. There were more males than females enrolled in the class.
Primary Sources are formally included in the U.S. History course guidelines; however, the teacher chooses when to use primary sources and uses them approximately ten times a year. Students from one section of U.S. History at the school were invited to participate. Consent letters were distributed in class, though students were not required to participate and were not penalized if they did not participate. In the other rural high school, all of the student population is required to take U.S. History. The majority of the student body is Caucasian and all of the participating students are juniors.
Our first step in the research process was to survey students after two lessons that used primary sources and to document the students’ academic responses to the lesson. Our next step was to interview the teacher who taught the lesson using primary sources. Our final step included analyzing the data we compiled. The data collection instruments we used included field notes, surveys, questionnaires, interviews, and an audio recording device. In our student surveys, we included three short questions that evaluated their interest level in the lesson. We also included an area where the students rated the lesson in comparison to other lessons that did not use primary sources. In the teacher interview, we aimed to determine how the teacher values the use of primary sources in their lessons. We adhered to the precautions described on pages 2 and 3 of the IRB proposal and in the consent templates submitted by my faculty advisor. This includes protocols established for access to, and for retaining and destroying data. Benefits from participation in the study include a better understanding of a teacher’s use of primary sources and how it may be beneficial or detrimental to a students learning.We consider this our contribution to the world of scholarly education and historical research.
In the next section we will discuss our analysis of the data and the results it produced. The first four data analyses presented illustrate how students viewed and responded to lessons taught using primary sources. The last two analyses focus on teachers’ use of primary sources and show their ideas on the benefits of incorporating such sources into their history lessons.
The first step in our research process was to survey students about the effectiveness of the use of primary sources after they participated in a lesson using primary sources. Immediately following the lesson, a short student survey was passed out which students completed independently in class. It was explained to students that the survey was voluntary and confidential. Students completed the survey on their own and without teacher help.
Data Analysis #1 (See Table 1)
At the first rural high school, after examining an excerpt from Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, students answered five reading comprehension questions. Then students were asked to fill out a survey that consisted of two questions which asked if the primary source excerpt helped them understand the concept of muckraking. Out of the 13 students who completed the survey, 11 students felt that the excerpt helped them understand muckraking:
Q: Did this excerpt from The Jungle help you understand muckraking? Why or why not?
Both of these examples and the responses from the other nine students demonstrate that the students understood the concept of muckraking and that Upton Sinclair was considered a muckraker because he exposed corruption within the meatpacking industry. Two out of the 13 students who completed the survey responded in this manner:
Q: Did this excerpt from The Jungle help you understand muckraking? Why or why not?
Jessica explained that Sinclair’s description of a meat packing plant is a “more vivid” portrayal of muckraking though the researcher cannot assume what exactly is being compared by the subject. David did not fully understand what the term “muckraking” means, therefore she did not gain a better understanding of the topic from the use of a primary source.
Data Analysis #2 (See Table 1)
After viewing a film that displayed images of trench warfare and machinery used in WWI, students were asked to complete a survey, which aimed to determine if the images in the video helped the students better understand WWI. Out of the 16 students that completed the survey, 13 wrote that the images from the video helped them better understand WWI:
Q: Which is more helpful, reading about WWI in your textbook or seeing images of WWI through videos? Why?
Three students, when asked, “Did the images in this video help you understand WWI? Why or why not?” Responded:
Natalie: Nothing really did.
These responses could be perhaps accounted for by the incompletion of the video or improper preparation for the use of primary sources. Research has shown that if sources are not put in historical context for the student, or the student does not have enough background knowledge about the historical subject, primary sources do not become an effective learning tool (Barton 2005).
Data Analysis #3 (See Table 1)
At the other rural high school, students participated in a lesson using primary sources on the legacy of business tycoons. After reading two excerpts, one by Matthew Josephson and one by Burton W. Folsom, Jr., students filled out a survey. Out of 19 students, 8 students felt that the primary sources helped their understanding other people’s points of view
These three examples demonstrate that one benefit of using primary sources is that they help students understand other people’s point of view. This is a critical skill in social studies education, and helps build empathy for people who lived in the past, which is a finding that is new and not included in our prior research study of this topic.
When asked which source gave the students a better understanding of business tycoons,
Data Analysis #4 (See Table 1)
After reading through and discussing a packet of primary sources on the Progressive Era, students filled out a survey. Out of 19 students, 11 felt that the sources helped them understand history better because they were able to understand other points of view
Q: Did this source help you better understand the Progressive Era? Why or why not?
Similar to the results from the business tycoon lesson, understanding another person’s point of view was a common answer.
Another reason that students felt these sources helped them was because it deepened their understanding of the time period:
James: Yes, it highlighted the bigger issues of this time period, and how over the years they have effected us/what we have grown from. George: Yes. It showed me more of what it was like in those days.
Students seemed to gain a deeper understanding of history. These results are supported by Dutt-Doner, Cook-Cottone and Allen’s 2007 study which stated that students gain a deeper understanding of history through the use of primary sources. These answers suggest that primary sources help illustrate to students what a certain time period was like. Therefore our data reveals several benefits of primary sources: help students understand history, develop a deeper understanding of history, a more comprehensive understanding of history, and an increased use of critical thinking skills.
Table 1: This table organizes our data by describing the task performed by the students, the sources used in the activity, and the student responses.
Data Analysis # 5
Q: What do think are the benefits of using primary sources in the history classroom?
When asked about the benefits of using primary sources, the teacher from the first rural high school discussed how primary sources give students a contemporary point of view of history. Since events from early American history happened more than 200 years ago, primary sources help students understand the events from the perspective of those who lived in the time period. He also mentioned that primary sources give students a better understanding of what people think. Since it is difficult for students to think like someone who lived in a different time period, primary sources reveal insight into the thoughts of the time. This teacher’s response is supported in Binkiewicz’s 2006 study of the effects of historical songs on students’ understanding of history. Music provided “direct commentary, attitudes, and emotions expressed by real people” for the students within the history classroom. Similar to musical lyrics, primary source documents can also give students a better understanding of the perspectives of those who lived in the past.
Q: Are there any problems you have encountered when using primary sources?
When asked if there were any problems with using primary sources, the teacher from the first rural school discussed language and vocabulary comprehension problems due to different dialects from early time periods. Also, the teacher discussed the difficulties with using primary sources with students who have reading comprehension disabilities and claimed that the use of primary sources were not beneficial in this situation. After informing the teachers of the literature that argues that if misused, primary sources can create misunderstandings, the teacher from the first high school responded by using the lesson on muckraking as an example. He said that many students of a lower reading comprehension level struggled due to the use of vocabulary used in the late 19th century; therefore, the lesson may not have been beneficial for these students.
Data Analysis #6
The teacher from the other rural school, when asked about the benefits of using primary sources, emphasized that primary sources help students think critically. He mentioned that primary sources help students analyze and synthesize information. Critical thinking, according to this teacher, is a crucial aspect in a student’s education. Another benefit he mentioned is that primary sources help build empathy in students. He believes it is much more effective when a student reads about a certain event or condition from the words of an actual observer than for him to simply tell his students about the situation.
Q: What do you think the benefits are of using primary sources?
This is consistent with the literature. Norby (2004) emphasized that primary sources help students think critically and analytically, which allows them to interpret events and question the various perspectives of history. However, we found no research on whether or not primary sources helped build historical empathy. Further research would need to be conducted to answer this question.
The teacher from the second school also noted language issues as a main problem with primary sources. He discussed how because languages have changed so much over the years, it is increasingly difficult for the average high school student to understand. Also, he believes some students create “mental blocks.” By this he means that some students do not attempt to understand the primary sources, and use the excuse that because the primary source was written in the past, it is too hard to understand.
Q: Are there any problems you have encountered when using them?
From this study, we have learned that the use of primary sources in the history classroom can be very effective when they are used properly. When used properly, primary sources allow students to gain a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of history, as well as a more meaningful and relevant learning experience. Primary sources also allow students to develop higher-level critical thinking skills and historical empathy. With more time, we could have explored student development of historical empathy due to the use of primary sources in the classroom. This study contributed to research about the effectiveness of the use of primary sources in history and within other content areas. Currently, there has been debate over the incorporation of primary sources in educational curriculum and our study presents evidence to support the effectiveness of primary source usage.
Document A: Survey Questions Data Analysis #1
Document B: The Jungle Reading Comprehension Quiz
Document C: Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle Excerpt
Document D: Survey Questions Data Analysis #2
Document E: Survey Questions Data Analysis #3
Document F: Quotes- Legacy of Business Tycoons
Document G: Survey Questions Data Analysis #4
Document H: Packet of Primary Sources- Progressive Era
Student Survey: The Jungle
The author of The Jungle, Upton Sinclair, was a muckraker. A muckraker is someone who exposes corruption or scandal. Using what you know about the Progressive movement and muckrakers, how does Upton Sinclair expose corruption or scandal in The Jungle? (2 sentences)
Did this excerpt from The Jungle help you understand muckraking? Why or why not?
1) Looking at the excerpt, why did Upton Sinclair write The Jungle?
2) Sinclair writes in the first sentence of paragraph A, “It would be dosed with borax and glycerine, and dumped into the hoppers, and made over again for home consumption.” What does consumption mean?
a) to destroy
3) In the last sentence of the last paragraph, Sinclair describes “special” sausage. Why was it “special?”
a) it was made from a healthy pig
4) From reading the document, you can assume the _______________ Act(s) was passed as a result of The Jungle.
a) Meat Inspection
5) Paragraph B is mostly about,
a) rat problems
Passage from Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle
(A) “There was never the least attention paid to what was cut up for sausage; there would come all the way back from Europe old sausage that had been rejected, and that was moldy and white—it would be dosed with borax and glycerin, and dumped into the hoppers, and made over again for home consumption.”
(B) “There would be meat that had tumbled out on the floor, in the dirt and sawdust, where the workers had tramped and spit uncounted billions of consumption germs. There would be meat stored in great piles in rooms; and the water from leaky roofs would drip over it, and thousands of rats would race about on it. It was too dark in these storage places to see well, but a man could run his hand over these piles of meat and sweep off handfuls of the dried dung of rats. These rats were nuisances, and the packers would put poisoned bread out for them, they would die, and then rats, bread, and meat would go into the hoppers together. This is no fairy story and no joke; the meat would be shoveled into carts, and the man who did the shoveling would not trouble to lift out a rat even when he saw one—there were things that went into the sausage in comparison with which a poisoned rat was a tidbit.”
(C) “There was no place for the men to wash their hands before they ate their dinner, and so they made a practice of washing them in the water that was to be ladled into the sausage. There were the butt-ends of smoked meat, and the scraps of corned beef, and all the odds and ends of the waste of the plants, that would be dumped into old barrels in the cellar and left there.”
(D) “Under the system of rigid economy which the packers enforced, there were some jobs that it only paid to do once in a long time, and among these was the cleaning out of the waste barrels. Every spring they did it; and in the barrels would be dirt and rust and old nails and stale water—and cart load after cart load of it would be taken up and dumped into the hoppers with fresh meat, and sent out to the public's breakfast. Some of it they would make into "smoked" sausage—but as the smoking took time, and was therefore expensive, they would call upon their chemistry department, and preserve it with borax and color it with gelatin to make it brown. All of their sausage came out of the same bowl, but when they came to wrap it they would stamp some of it "special," and for this they would charge two cents more a pound. . . .”
Student Survey: Video
Did the images in this video help you understand WWI? Why or why not?
If so, give an example of an image you found interesting or helpful? Why was it interesting or helpful?
What is more helpful, reading about WWI in your textbook or seeing images of WWI through videos? Why?
Primary Source Survey
Today you read two primary sources, one written by Matthew Josephson, and the other written by Burton W. Folsom, Jr. Josephson argues that business tycoons exploit the nation’s workers in order to increase their own personal profits. On the other hand, Folsom argues that these tycoons help improve the conditions of workers by creating jobs and lowering the price of consumer goods.
1. Did these primary sources help you understand the controversy surrounding the role of business tycoons? Why or why not?
2. Which source gave you a better understanding of business tycoons: the textbook or these two primary sources? Why?
What is the Legacy of Business Tycoons?
“To organize and exploit the resources of a nation upon a gigantic scale. . . and to do this only in the name of an uncontrolled appetite for private profit—here is surely the great inherent contradiction whence so much disaster, outrage and misery has flowed.”
Burton W. Folsom
“In 1870, when Rockefeller founded Standard Oil, kerosene was 30 cents a gallon. Twenty years later, Rockefeller has almost a 90 percent market share and kerosene was only 8 cents a gallon. Customers were the real winners here, because Rockefeller’s size allowed him to cut costs. . .”
1. Did this source help you better understand the Progressive Era? Why or why not?
Packet of Primary Sources- Progressive Era
Barton, K. C. (2005). Primary sources in history: Breaking through the myths. Phi Delta Kappan, 86(10; 10), 745-753.
Binkiewicz, D. (2006). Tunes of the times: Historical songs as pedagogy for recent US history. History Teacher (Long Beach, Calif.), 39(4), 515-520.
Brown, C. A., & Dotson, K. (2007). Writing your own history: A case study using digital primary source documents. TechTrends, 51(3), 30-37.
Crew, H. (2008). Enhancing the curriculum using primary sources: Women engaged in war.
Dutt-Doner, K. M., Cook-Cottone, C., & Allen, S. (2007). Improving classroom instruction: Understanding the developmental nature of analyzing primary sources. Research in Middle Level Education Online, 30(6; 6), 1-12.
Hicks, Doolittle & Lee, D., Doolittle, P. E., & Lee, J. (2004). History and social studies teachers’ use of classroom and web-based historical primary sources. Theory and Research in Social Education. 32(2), 213-247.
Jacobson, F. (2000). The dark side of primary sources. Knowledge Quest; Journal of the American Association of School Librarians, 29(1), 35-37.
Levy, P. B. (2004). Teaching the 1960s with primary sources. History Teacher, 38(1; 1), 9-20.
Maypole, J., & Davies, T. G. (2001). Students' perceptions of constructivist learning in a community college american history II survey course. Community College Review, 29(2), 54-79.
Norby, S. L. (2004). Hardwired into history. Educational Leadership, 61(4), 48-53.
O'Neill, D. K., & Weiler, M. J. (2006). Cognitive tools for understanding history: What more do we need? Journal of Educational Computing Research, 35(2), 181-197.
Talamante, L. E. (2008). Teaching U.S. history with an eye to the world. History Teacher, 41(3; 3), 391-404.
Tally, B., & Goldenberg, L. B. (2005). Fostering historical thinking with digitized primary sources. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 38(1), 1-21.
Shields, P. (1998). Bringing history alive. Canadian Social Studies, 32, 65-66.