Primary and Secondary Resources

Second grade students will learn how to identify and differentiate between primary and secondary sources.

What is a Primary Source?
Primary sources are original records of the political, economic, artistic, scientific, social, and
intellectual thoughts and achievements of specific historical periods. Produced by the people
who participated in and witnessed the past, primary sources offer a variety of points of view
and perspectives of events, issues, people, and places. These records can be found anywhere—in a home, a government archive, etc. The important thing to remember is they were used or created by someone with firsthand experience of an event.
Examples of Primary Sources:
Primary sources are not just documents and written records. There are many different kinds of primary sources, including: first-person accounts, documents, physical artifacts, scientific data that has been collected but not interpreted, and face-to-face mentors with specific knowledge or expertise.

Primary sources also take a variety of formats:
Audio—oral histories or memoirs, interviews, music
Images—photographs, videos, film, fine art
Objects—clothing (fashion or uniforms), tools, pottery, gravestones, inventions, weapons, memorabilia
Statistics—census data, population statistics, weather records
Text—letters, diaries, original documents, legal agreements, treaties, maps, laws, advertisements, recipes,
genealogical information, sermons/lectures.

Watch an example of a primary resource below.

How do Primary and Secondary Sources differ?
While primary sources are the original records created by firsthand witnesses of an event, secondary sources are documents, texts, images, and objects about an event created by someone who typically referenced the primary sources for their information. Textbooks are excellent examples of secondary sources.


Exit Ticket: Complete one or both of the following cards.

Today, I learned that a primary source is ______________________________________



What is an example of a primary source that you have used or you have created?


Today, I learned that a secondary source is _____________________________________



What is an example of a secondary source that you have used or you have created?


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