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Name: KEY
World History – Mrs. Schenck
History EQ:
Identifying Primary and Secondary Sources
 Primary Source: a record made by people who saw or took part in an
event (originates from the past) – any ARTIFACT is a PRIMARY source
o artifact: an object made by a human being
 Secondary Source: a record of an event written by someone not there
at the time
Is this an ARTIFACT from history? OR
Did the creator witness/make the item?
Yes = primary source
No = secondary source
Directions: Determine whether the following are primary or secondary sources.
Circle the letter indicating whether the item is a "P" primary source or "S" secondary
source. For each one, explain your reasoning in COMPLETE SENTENCES.
1. The story your grandfather tells you about his experience during the Korean
Primary Source – Your grandfather witnessed and took part in the Korean
war, so his story is a primary source.
2. Your World History textbook or an encyclopedia.
Secondary Source – The authors of a textbook or encyclopedia have not
taken part in the events they write about. Textbooks and encyclopedias are
almost always secondary sources.
3. The Diary of Anne Frank - the published diary of a teenage girl who experiences
the Holocaust first hand .
Primary Source - Anne Frank experienced the Holocaust and wrote about
her personal experience. Diaries are always primary sources.
4. A letter written by George Washington to his mother about the latest
developments in the Revolutionary War.
Primary Source – George Washington took part in the Revolutionary War
and wrote the letter about his personal experiences at the time. Letters are
always primary sources.
5. An article in National Geographic about life in ancient Rome.
Secondary Source – The author of the article did not witness life in ancient
Rome. He is using other sources to write his article.
6. A photograph of you and your friends at your 8th birthday party.
Primary Source – You took part in the birthday party and were a part of the
experience. Photographs are always primary sources.
7. The information from the museum tour guide who shows you around the
dinosaur exhibit and shares facts with you.
Secondary Source – The museum tour guide was not alive during the time
of the dinosaurs. She is gathering her information from other sources.
8. A mummy from ancient Egypt.
Primary Source – Ancient artifacts are always primary sources. They are
direct links to the past, and the maker of the mummy was alive and a part
of the making the mummy.
What might be some advantages and disadvantages to using only a
primary or secondary source?
Primary Source
• direct link to the past,
first-hand account
• we can touch and
analyze the
source/artifact directly
• people’s opinions
can be biased or
someone may have
misinterpreted an event
• artifacts can be
broken or missing – we
have to make educated
guesses about their
meaning and use
Secondary Source
they are usually
print or other media
so they are easy to
find and use
not a direct link to
the past, so need to
check for author
bias or incorrect
history changes –
we need to look for
the most up to date
World History – Schenck
#5 Homework
1. Draw or cut and paste a picture of a primary source that would tell historians
something significant about your life.
Primary Source:
Why this is a primary source:
What this primary source would tell
historians about me:
2. Create/Imagine a secondary source about your life. One hundred years from now, a
biography is written about you. What would the title and synopsis of the book be?
Secondary Source – title of my
Why is this a secondary source:
Synopsis of my biography: