Graduate Project Title

Benefits of Using Primary Sources in the High School United States History Classroom

Document Type

Graduate Project

Date of Degree Completion

2009

Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

Department

Education

Committee Chair

Steven Nourse

Second Committee Member

S. Schmitz

Third Committee Member

D. Shorr

Abstract

History textbooks have not traditionally included the perspectives of the whole of society. The contributions of non-whites, women, the poor and the illiterate are consistently forgotten or ignored in the history classroom. When the stories of these groups are present, the content is incomplete and minimal, due to the resources available to the teacher within the curriculum provided by the textbook manufacturers or the school districts. Primary sources, or first hand accounts of history, can be used to supplement gaps in the curriculum, allowing students to construct a more authentic and complete knowledge of history. This project includes practical supplemental lesson plans and resources for the high school United States history classroom, as well as research on the topics of the benefits and weaknesses of primary sources, the necessity of including the voices of the disenfranchised in history, and the usefulness of artifacts in the constructivist-based classroom.

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