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        Using Primary Resources | History Detectives

        History is not a passive subject. Historians actively search out and analyze primary sources in order to tell the stories of our past. Behind those streamlined narratives are hundreds of messy sources. These lesson plans use primary sources utilized by the detectives in History Detectives to give students practice analyzing, questioning, and following up on information contained in a variety of primary sources.

        This resource can be found on the History Detectives website.

        History Detectives: Nazi Spy Roundup

        In this lesson (Nazi Spy Toys lesson plan under Support Materials), students watch an excerpt from the Nazi Spy Toys investigation in which they learn about Dr. Fred W. Thomas, a German-American who was accused of being a Nazi Spy during World War II. They then act out the job of the historian by examining primary sources related to the investigation into Dr. Thomas in order to reconstruct an accurate story of Dr. Thomas’s role in the war.

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        History Detectives: Integration Report

        In this lesson (Nazi Spy Toys lesson plan under "support materials"), students watch an excerpt from the Nazi Spy Toys investigation in which they learn about Dr. Fred W. Thomas, a German-American who was accused of being a Nazi Spy during World War II. They then act out the job of the historian by examining primary sources related to the investigation into Dr. Thomas in order to reconstruct an accurate story of Dr. Thomas’s role in the war. This excerpt shows President Roosevelt speaking in a "News of the World" film clip.

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        History Detectives: Safeguarding Military Secrets

        In this lesson (Nazi Spy Toys lesson plan under "support materials"), students watch an excerpt from the Nazi Spy Toys investigation in which they learn about Dr. Fred W. Thomas, a German-American who was accused of being a Nazi Spy during World War II. They then act out the job of the historian by examining primary sources related to the investigation into Dr. Thomas in order to reconstruct an accurate story of Dr. Thomas’s role in the war. This excerpt is an American propaganda film "Thoughtlessness Breeds Sabotage."

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        History Detectives: Snapshots of Crime and Law Enforcement

        In this lesson (Rogues Gallery lesson plan and supporting documents under Support Materials), students view an excerpt from "The Rogue Book" that introduces a 1909 book featuring hundreds of clippings for lost and wanted men from the early 20th century. They analyze pages from the book in order to figure out what purpose the book served and what it reveals about the man who owned it. Finally, they analyze how studying a collection of documents reveals more than a single document could.

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        History Detectives: Bertillon Card

        In this lesson (Rogues Gallery lesson plan and supporting documents under "supporting materials"), students view an excerpt from the Rogue Book that introduces a 1909 book featuring hundreds of clippings for lost and wanted men from the early 20th century. They analyze pages from the book in order to figure out what purpose the book served and what it reveals about the man who owned it. Finally, they analyze how studying a collection of documents reveals more than a single document could.

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        History Detectives: A Wide Open Town

        In this lesson (Bootlegger's Notebook lesson plan and worksheets under Support Materials), students learn about the Temperance Movement and New York in the 1890s by watching an excerpt from "The Bootlegger’s Notebook" investigation and examining period images, including political cartoons, posters and illustrations. Students then debate the merits of the Temperance Movement and reflect on how historians use period images to reconstruct the past.

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