Primary Sources from the Library of Congress in Science Classrooms: We’ll See you at the NSTA Conference

Edison kinetoscopic record of a sneeze, 1894

The following is a guest post by Michael Apfeldorf of the Library of Congress.

The Library of Congress will be at the National Science Teachers Association National Conference  in Los Angeles, California, from March 30 through April 1, 2017. From Thomas Jefferson’s weather journal, to Robert Hooke’s first drawings of the cell; from photographs of the Dust Bowl, to historic newspaper accounts about lead paint and electric cars,  the Library of Congress has millions of digitized primary sources freely available online to science teachers. With the right strategies, these resources can help students understand how scientists and engineers think, practice, and apply scientific principles and discoveries in the real world; how scientific ideas evolve over time; and how science and engineering are related to society.

Stop by booth #2158 to discover how to access these primary sources as well as pedagogical strategies to help students analyze them. Analyze a source with us at the booth whenever the Exhibit Hall is open and receive a free gift, while supplies last!  We look forward to connecting with you about using primary sources to engage students, promote inquiry, and help them think critically.

On April 1, from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm, we’ll facilitate a hands-on workshop at the conference, where we’ll take a deeper dive into analyzing historical primary sources within the science classroom. Join the conversation, if you can!

Whether or not you can join us in Los Angeles, you can browse the many teaching resources available online at

Additionally, Library staff highlight primary sources for classroom use on the final page of each issue of NSTA’s The Science Teacher magazine.


Exploring Chronicling America for Poetry in Newspapers Before 1922

April is national poetry month, and though we don’t see much poetry in today’s newspapers, in the past it was a common feature. In fact, many poets garnered fame and sometimes some funds from having their poems published in newspapers. The Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers database offers a trove of poetry treasures waiting to be discovered.

Baseball, Music, and Suffrage? Exploring the Music of the “National Pastime”

Did you know that “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” originally had extra stanzas beyond the ones we all know? When it was composed in 1908 by Albert Von Tilzer and lyricist Jack Norworth, it documented the story of Katie Casey, a baseball fan who wanted to go with her beau to the baseball game. Though there were certainly women who were knowledgeable about their favorite teams, it was expected that women would not want to go to the games and would prefer to be safe at home.

Primary Sources for the Primary Grades: There’s More to Ireland than Shamrocks!

As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, some young students might immerse themselves in the eye-catching images often associated with the holiday in the U.S.: shamrocks, green clothing, and the occasional pot of gold. This is a perfect opportunity to introduce students to a corner of the actual country of Ireland through primary sources.