In the most recent “Right to the Source” column in NSTA’s magazine The Science Teacher, Michael Apfeldorf discusses reactions in the early 20th century to reports of life on Mars. He explains that as early as 1894, scientists noted that conditions on Mars would not support life, but wild theories persisted in popular media. That reminded us of the Library’s many April Fools’ Day posts featuring primary sources that should not be taken at face value.
Looking for other ways to help students analyze sources and evaluate information? Explore these resources for ideas.
- Explore the background and teaching suggestions about the Great Moon Hoax to help students dig deeper to learn how the hoax was perpetuated.
- Don’t Be Fooled by Primary Sources encourages close examination of primary sources to remind students not to take primary sources at face value.
- Primary Sources: Is Seeing Always Believing explores the reasons why select primary sources were created and suggests classroom activities to help students distinguish actualities from reenactments.
- Frauds, Fraudsters and Savvy Consumers offers information on historic frauds and the ways that consumers and governmental agencies have worked to stop the scams.
- The latest issue of the Library of Congress Magazine offers an overview about the history of April Fools and ways that people celebrated April Fools’ Day?
- Chronicling America provides links to articles on historic April Fools’ Day events around the country.
Analyzing primary sources can help students become better critical thinkers who are willing to evaluate information and dig deeply to find the answers to questions.
How will you use primary sources to encourage students to look for the story behind the source?