Thursday, August 5, 2021

15 New Primary Source Activities from DocsTeach

DocsTeach has been one of my go-to places for U.S. History lessons since the day that I first discovered it years ago. Not only does DocsTeach host a large, curated collection of primary source documents it also offers templates for developing online activities about those documents. Additionally, DocsTeach offers hundreds of premade primary source lesson activities. 

Just in time for the start of the new school year DocsTeach has published fifteen new activities for students. The list of new activities includes lessons that are appropriate for elementary school, middle school, and high school students. 

At the top of the list of new DocsTeach activities you'll find Get to Know Your Three Branches of Government. This activity is designed for elementary school and middle school students. In the activity students have to look at primary source images and documents then place them into the branch of government that it relates to. 

A new DocsTeach activity for high school students centers around primary source documents related to the Vietnam War. In The Vietnam War Timeline activity students read the documents then sort them into chronological order from 1956 to 1975. 

A complete list of all of the new DocsTeach activities can be found in their most recent newsletter

On a related note, here's my video overview of how to create and distribute your own primary source activities via DocsTeach. 

How to Use Google Scholar to Find Federal and State Court Rulings

Earlier this week I wrote about and published a video about how to use Google Scholar to research inventions and their inventors. Case law research is a third aspect of Google Scholar that can be helpful to student researchers. 

The case law search function in Google Scholar enables you to find Federal and state cases via keyword search. This is helpful if you’re looking for court rulings on a topic but don’t have a specific case in mind. For example, if I’m researching the development of laws pertaining to the New England lobster fisheries I can enter “lobster fishing” into Google Scholar then search for Federal court cases that include my search term and or search for Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, or Rhode Island state court cases that include “lobster fishing.” (The sixth New England state, Vermont, is unlikely to have any court cases involving lobster fishing because Vermont doesn’t have any ocean coastline).

Once you’ve found a court case related to your search term in Google Scholar you can read the case online within Google Scholar. Additionally, Google Scholar lists other cases that have cited the ruling that you’re currently reading. That provides an easy way to find related cases about your chosen research topic.

A video overview of how to use Google Scholar to locate federal and state court rulings is available here and as embedded below.

This blog post was written by Richard Byrne and originally appeared on Any appearance of this post on other websites is unauthorized.