Abstract 7- Volume 4, Number 2, Summer 2009

Social Studies Research and Practice

Volume 4, Number 2, Summer 2009



Elementary School Students, Artifacts and Primary Sources:
Learning to Engage in Historical Inquiry

Cheryl Franklin Torrez
The University of New Mexico
Scott M. Waring
University of Central Florida


This article highlights some of the experiences of elementary students learning to use primary sources to engage in historical inquiry. Two teacher educators developed and taught social studies lessons in collaboration with 5th and 6th grade teachers. The elementary students had little previous experience evaluating primary sources and artifacts. Using both digital and non-digital sources, the students began to understand historical perspective and use historical evidence as the basis of their conclusions. However, difficulties were encountered during lessons using artifacts to understand historical events. The article presents descriptive evidence and the lessons we learned as educators.

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About the Author(s)…

Cheryl Franklin Torrez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Teacher Education at the University of New Mexico. Her research interests include curriculum and instruction in elementary schools, social studies education, and technology integration.

Scott M. Waring is an Assistant Professor of Social Science Education at the University of Central Florida. He serves as the coordinator for the social science education program and teaches elementary and secondary courses at the undergraduate and graduate level. His research interests include the teaching and learning of history and technology integration.

Primary contact information: University of Central Florida, 4000 Central Florida Boulevard, ED 123 H, Orlando, FL 32816; Email: swaring@mail.ucf.edu