Author: Marissa Vassari

Learning About and Creating Student Archives

Grades 3-6. Introduces students to archives, primary sources, and secondary sources. This flexible unit includes nine lessons in which students document their own learning experiences by creating, describing, and organizing primary sources. Each student’s personal papers are aggregated into a class archive that is then described in a mock finding aid. 

From Dream to Reality: Building the Hale Telescope Primary Source STEAM Workshop

Grades 8-12. This project describes to students the great hurdle in the Hale Telescope’s construction: successfully transporting the 40-ton, 200-inch mirror and its packing materials from upstate New York to the top of Palomar Mountain in southern California. Documents include shipping manifests, conversations regarding the movement of the mirror, and photographic documentation of the mirror’s…

The Cold War

High school to graduate levels. This workshop places students into the role of program officers during the 1940s and 1950s. Drawing on twenty-two records from the Rockefeller Archive Center collections, the project explores philanthropic activities during a period of ideological and geopolitical tensions.

Experimentation and Innovation: Building the Hale Telescope

High school to graduate levels. The primary sources in this workshop can be used to strengthen critical reading skills, support inquiry-based learning exercises, and expose students to the stories of trial and error that lie behind most scientific or engineering breakthroughs.

The War of the Worlds, Fake News, and Media Literacy Primary Source Unit

Grades 4-8. This unit offers multiple entry points into developing an understanding of media literacy around the War of the Worlds broadcast. It includes a midpoint writing assessment, whole class capstone debate, and final independent writing assessment.

Media Literacy Series

Grades 4-8. The primary sources in this set can be used for inquiry-based learning exercises and projects. Each document falls under the umbrella topic of voter education. Suggested projects that make use of this set’s primary sources are included for the educator as a springboard for research-based projects.

Refugee Scholars Primary Source Workshop

Grades 9-16. This workshop presents selected primary sources from the Rockefeller Foundation holdings at the Rockefeller Archive Center. This is intended for use in facilitating a classroom exercise on the Rockefeller Foundation’s 1933-1945 refugee scholar program. This workshop enables students to imagine and grapple with the difficult choices RF officials had to make in one…

How To Do Research Primary Source Unit

Grades 4-8. This unit guide provides a lesson-to-lesson foundation for teaching about primary sources, and how to evaluate and cite sources, do document analysis, and formulate and find answers to a research question.

Voter Education Media Literacy Exercise

Grades 4-8. The clips of audiovisual documents related to voter education serve as primary sources that can be viewed, analyzed, and discussed in a classroom setting to help students build media literacy skills. The corresponding video provides a guided scaffolded media experience.

Tenements and Immigration Primary Source Set

Grades 4-8. This set of curated primary sources can be used for inquiry-based learning exercises and projects. Each document falls under the umbrella topic of tenements and immigration. Suggested projects are included for the educator as a springboard for research-based projects.