Primary Source Analysis Tool

In this lesson, explore the ways natural disasters have affected American lives. Examine records people made of their experiences. Try to find out how people felt who lived through each event. How did they recover? What changed because of their experience? What lessons did they learn? When you finish, put yourself into the shoes of an eyewitness to one of American history's most remarkable events and tell the story of the disaster in your own words.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.3
Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience....
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.5
Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.7
Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.8
Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the usefulness of...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.9
Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
CLE 3001.3.1
Write in a variety of modes for different audiences and purposes.
CLE 3001.3.3
Organize ideas into an essay with a thesis statement in the introduction, well constructed paragraphs, a conclusion, and transition sentences that connect...
CLE 3001.3.4
Revise documents to develop or support ideas clearly, address potential objections, ensure effective transitions between paragraphs, and correct errors in lo
CLE 3001.4.1
Define and narrow a problem or research topic.
CLE 3001.4.2
Gather relevant information from a variety of print and electronic sources, as well as from direct observation, interviews, and surveys.
CLE 3001.4.3
Make distinctions about the credibility, reliability, consistency, strengths, and limitations of resources, including information gathered from websites.
CLE 3001.4.4
Write an extended research paper, using primary and secondary sources and technology and graphics, as appropriate.
CLE 3001.4.5
Use a standard format to arrange text, to cite sources correctly, and to document quotations, paraphrases, and other information.
CLE 3001.5.1
Use logic to make inferences and draw conclusions in a variety of challenging oral and written contexts.
CLE 3001.5.2
Analyze text for fact and opinion, cause/effect, inferences, evidence, and conclusions.
CLE 3001.5.3
Evaluate an argument, considering false premises, logical fallacies, and the quality of evidence presented.
CLE 3001.5.4
Analyze the logical features of an argument
CLE 3001.8.4
Analyze works of literature for what is suggested about the historical period in which they were written.
CLE 3002.3.1
Write in a variety of modes for different audiences and purposes.
CLE 3002.3.3
Organize ideas into an essay with a thesis statement in the introduction, wellconstructed paragraphs, a conclusion, and transition sentences that connect...
CLE 3002.3.4
Revise documents to develop or support ideas clearly, address potential objections, ensure effective transitions between paragraphs, and correct errors in logic.
CLE 3002.4.1
Define and narrow a problem or research topic.
CLE 3002.4.2
Gather relevant information from a variety of print and electronic sources, as well as from direct observation, interviews, and surveys.
CLE 3002.4.3
Make distinctions about the credibility, reliability, consistency, strengths, and limitations of resources, including information gathered from websites.
CLE 3002.4.4
Write an extended research paper, using primary and secondary sources and technology and graphics, as appropriate.
CLE 3002.4.5
Use a standard format to arrange text, to cite sources correctly, and to document quotations, paraphrases, and other information.
CLE 3002.5.1
Use logic to make inferences and draw conclusions in a variety of challenging oral and written contexts.
CLE 3002.5.2
Analyze text for fact and opinion, cause-effect, inferences, evidence, and conclusions.
CLE 3002.5.3
Evaluate an argument, considering false premises, logical fallacies, and the quality of evidence presented.
CLE 3002.5.4
Analyze the logical features of an argument.
CLE 3002.8.4
Analyze works of literature for what is suggested about the historical period in which they were written.
GLE 0306.5.1
Organize, display, and analyze data using various representations to solve problems.
SPI 3001.3.10
Identify the targeted audience for a selected passage.
SPI 3001.3.14
Select the most precise word to provide clarity appropriate to audience and purpose.
SPI 3001.3.3
Choose the transitional device that appropriately connects sentences or paragraphs within a writing sample.
SPI 3001.3.4
Select a vivid word (e.g., adjective, adverb, verb) to strengthen a written description.
SPI 3001.4.4
Evaluate the validity of Web pages as sources of information.
SPI 3001.4.6
Identify information that must be cited or attributed within a writing sample.
SPI 3001.5.1
Make inferences and draw conclusions based on evidence in text.
SPI 3002.3.11
Identify the targeted audience for a selected passage.
SPI 3002.3.15
Select the most precise word to provide clarity appropriate to audience and purpose.
SPI 3002.3.3
Choose the transitional device that appropriately connects sentences or paragraphs within a writing sample.
SPI 3002.3.4
Select a vivid word (e.g., adjective, adverb, verb) to strengthen a written description.
SPI 3002.4.4
Evaluate the validity of Web pages as sources of information.
SPI 3002.4.6
Identify information that must be cited or attributed within a writing sample.
SPI 3002.5.1
Make inferences and draw conclusions based on evidence in text.
TSS.ELA.9-10.L.KL.3
Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend ...
TSS.ELA.9-10.RI.KID.1
Analyze what a text says explicitly and draw inferences; cite the strongest, most compelling textual evidence to support conclusions.
TSS.ELA.9-10.RI.KID.2
Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development; provide an objective or critical summary.
TSS.ELA.9-10.RL.KID.1
Analyze what a text says explicitly and draw inferences; cite the strongest, most compelling textual evidence to support conclusions.
TSS.ELA.9-10.RL.KID.2
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development; provide an objective or critical summary.
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.PDW.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.PDW.5
Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most...
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.RBPK.7
Conduct and write short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem by...
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.RBPK.8
Use multiple search terms to generate a variety of print and digital sources; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of...
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.RBPK.9
Support and defend interpretations, analyses, reflections, or research with evidence found in literature or informational texts, applying grade band...
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.TTP.1
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning supported by relevant and sufficient evidence.
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.TTP.2
Write informative/explanatory texts to analyze and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection...
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.TTP.3
Write narrative fiction or literary nonfiction to convey experiences and/or events using effective techniques, well-chosen details, and well-structured...
 
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
 
Learning objectives: 

Students will be able:

  • Read and discuss literary and nonliterary texts in order to understand human experience.
  • Read to acquire information from a variety of sources.
  • Orally communicate information, opinions, and ideas effectively to an audience for a particular purpose.
  • Interpret history using a variety of sources, such as biographies, diaries, journals, artifacts, eyewitness interviews, and other primary source materials.
Essential and guiding questions: 

What were your feelings after reading the first chapter of the book? What gave you this impression?

What details did the author use to show the setting of the story and give you a sense of what the characters were like?

What were the main problems the characters faced in the story? How did they attempt to solve them?

What surprised or confused you in the book?

What was the passage that seemed most real to you?

What did the characters or their families, communities, or governments do to help people recover from the event?

What effects did the event have on the characters' lives and on their communities?

What lessons did you learn from the way people handled the event?

What questions would you like answered about the event?

What changes would you have made in the story?

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Applying
Extension suggestions: 

Students may extend their experience by examining a recent natural disaster, locating and analyzing primary source documents related to it, and noting similarities and differences to those of earlier times. Students may also examine how the events are presented in children's books.

Helpful Hints

Materials needed:

  • Primary Source Analysis Tool

References

Contributors: