This is an amazing first week of history activity for the new school year but could also be used anytime in the year to introduce primary sources to your students!
In this activity, students imagine they are historians from the year 3,2023 and are trying to discover what life was like in the United States for teenagers in the year 2023. All they found was a few artifacts, or primary sources, to develop their interpretations and conclusions.
Then, in groups, each student contributes one personal item to serve as an artifact. This could be a school schedule, lipstick, skateboard, bus or lunch pass, etc. Using their primary source analysis sheet they record their observations about each artifact (or primary source), make inferences about life for teenagers in the US in the year 2023, and in the end write up their conclusions based solely on their analysis of these artifacts!
This is a great way to teach students what primary sources are and how historians use them. But don't worry, before they even do the activity, there is a quick overview of what primary and secondary sources are followed by a quick sorting activity to check for understanding.
A really fun first week of school activity for history class that will engage students while helping them build skills!