Primary sources such as an eyewitness account, an artifact, an old letter or a photograph make the past come alive. They jumpstart active learning through discovery. And they’re not just useful for teaching history. They help develop critical thinking skills as students use texts to make observations and create inferences based on evidence.

Students working with primary sources:

  • form questions and make inferences
  • wrestle with contradictions
  • consider multiple points of view
  • construct knowledge
  • form conclusions based on evidence

Our professional development programs provide a window into the classroom and allow educators to see what teachers and students do when using primary sources. In partnership with the Cotsen Family Foundation for the Art of Teaching, UCLA Lab School has been a member of the Library of Congress’ Teaching with Primary Sources Consortium since 2010.