Primary Sources

Huli i ka ʻoiaʻiʻo i ka moʻomeheu
Searching for the truth in the footprints that are left behind
From maps and photographs to documents and artifacts, primary sources provide vital clues to history. Both the National Social Studies Standards and the Hawai’i Content and Performance Standards encourage the use of primary sources in teaching.

In this session, you will examine primary sources from Hawaiʻi and what they reveal about history and culture. You will also explore teaching strategies designed to bring history to life for students as they investigate and analyze primary sources. `

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • define primary sources and their value in learning;
  • identify and access various types of primary sources;
  • analyze primary sources related to Hawaiian history and culture; and
  • develop teaching strategies and activities using primary sources.
Diamond Head

Primary sources help students think hard about the past and construct their own views of history instead of relying on the authors of textbooks and tradebooks to do it for them. The result is a classroom of curious, engaged, and invested learners.


Adapted from Seeking History: Teaching with Primary Sources in Grades 4-6 by Monica Edinger.