Pandemic Primary Source Sets

Investigate pandemics through local historic images, documents, and artifacts

Created by a collaboration between the Maine Department of Education, Maine Historical Society, Maine State Archives, Maine State Library, and Maine State Museum.

Scroll down for the materials

What's in the packets?

The topics are designed for different grade levels, ranging from K-12. Each packet includes:

  • A Teacher guide with recommendations on setting up the activity
  • An introduction with thorough background information for teachers and students, as well as recommended reflection questions/learning goals
  • Themed sets of Maine-based primary sources (documents, artifacts, and images)
  • Analysis Worksheets to guide students through working with primary sources

What are the themes?

Choose one or more big questions to investigate with your students:

  • How do people carry on with life during a pandemic?
  • How do information and misinformation spread during a pandemic?
  • How do pandemics impact different people in different ways?
  • Is it right to control people’s actions during a pandemic?

 

How to get started

Quick Lesson Summary

(Learn more in our Teacher Guide) Use the introductions for each theme to pick the topic and age level that you think will be a good fit for your students. Then:

  1. Present whatever historical context from the introduction you think is necessary.
  2. Give students a primary source (or allow them to choose one) to work with.
  3. Students fill out an analysis worksheet without any information but what they can gather from the source itself.
  4. Talk in groups or as a class about what they think the sources are, and how they relate to the topic.
  5. Give students the source labels so they can learn more about each item.
  6. Use the class reflection questions and optional activities in the introduction.

Additional Resources:

Pandemic Informational Chart

Pandemic Timeline

Having trouble understanding the documents? Copy/paste them into Rewordify.

The Four Packets

Click the links to download materials

How do people carry on with life during a pandemic?

Grades 3-5

Grades 6-8

Grades 9-12

 How do information and misinformation spread during a pandemic?

Grades 3-5

Grades 6-8

Grades 9-12

Is it right to control people’s actions during a pandemic?

Grades 3-5

Grades 6-8

Grades 9-12

How do pandemics impact different people in different ways?

NOTE- this topic is document-heavy and may not be a good fit for students who struggle with reading comprehension.

Grades 3-5

Grades 6-8

Grades 9-12

Trouble getting started?

Let us help in your classroom

Our educators are ready to provide you with any help you need as you work with your students. If you’d like some tips, check out the online workshop below.

Recorded Teacher Webinar – Pandemic Primary Source Sets

Contact:

For help or to learn more, contact Lead Educator Kate Webber at kate.webber@maine.gov

Credits

Emma Soler, Project Intern

Partner Organizations: Maine Department of Education, Maine Historical Society, Maine State Archives, Maine State Library, Maine State Museum

Maine State Museum