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Teaching Resources

Welcome to the Emerging America resource library. Browse our ever-growing collection of primary source sets, lesson plans, classroom assessments, and more, developed by teachers and edited for quality and consistency. Use the controls in the blue box to search and filter by Type, Subject, Time Period, and Grade Level. NOTE: Use the website search engine (above) to find resources–such as apps and curriculum from other organizations–that appear only in the blog.
Screen cap shows one quarter of a photo.

A way to spur inquiry and close observation is by examining one quarter of the primary source at a time.This six-minute exercise gives students a chance to focus in on particular details of the source. Having students write notes about each quadrant helps students to generate ideas and text fragments they can use in their writing; the partial view makes it easier for students to make notes…

Students huddle over a map.

The Library of Congress teacher Primary Source Analysis Tool helps students learn the skills of inquiry. The Library of Congress Teachers page suggests prompts to analyze: maps, film, oral histories, newspapers, political cartoons, books and other printed texts, sheet music, photographs and prints, manuscripts, and sound recordings. …

Red, white, and blue poster with Uncle Sam in stars-and-stripes top hat writing in a book, reads, "It's Your America! 1940 Census USA -- Help the ten-year roll call.

Access an excellent slide show on the Census from Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Consortium member Dr. Elizabeth Osborn, Indiana University Center on Representative Government! 

The slides include photographs of Census workers, text from the U.S.…

vintage locomotive

Using familiar imagery of trains, young students can begin to make foundational connections to geography and history using primary sources. Kindergarten students will make a first exploration of local history through early railroad maps from the Library of Congress. This lesson addresses Kindergarten Common Core State Standards and several Massachusetts Social Studies standards and skills.…

star spangled banner

“…establish justice…” “…promote the general welfare….” “…secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity…”  

By connecting the goals of the federal government to primary source visual representations, this simple civics lesson will help students to remember and think more deeply about the goals set out by the Preamble to the United States Constitution…