Was Hammurabi Pro-Temperance? The Importance of Critical Reading and Historical Context

According to an article in the August 28, 1912, edition of The Presbyterian of the South, “The attempts at regulation [of alcohol] failed and the civilization of Babylon was snuffed out in an orgy of drink.” An article like this presents an opportunity to teach students how to read content critically and to place it in historical context.

Learning Beyond the Original Purpose with Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps

In the November/December 2017 issue of Social Education, the journal of the National Council for the Social Studies, our “Sources and Strategies” article features a 1910 map of South San Francisco, San Mateo County, California. The map was created for the unique purpose of documenting estimated fire hazards, and resides in the Sanborn Map Collection, part of an ongoing digitization project at the Library of Congress.

Three New Civics Interactives Explore Congress and Civic Participation through Primary Sources

Step behind the camera with the photographers who fought against child labor. Build a timeline that traces African Americans’ journey toward freedom. Discover how Congress has been involved in the expansion of voting rights throughout U.S. history.

Beginning on Friday, November 17, students are able to do all these things and more using a set of three new free educational interactives, all of which make extensive use of the online collections of the Library of Congress.

These interactives were developed by three organizations selected by the Library to create web- and mobile-based applications related to Congress and civic participation, for use in K-12 classrooms. The three organizations are the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, in Fairfax, Virginia; Indiana University’s Center on Representative Government, in Bloomington, Indiana; and Muzzy Lane Software, of Newburyport, Massachusetts.

Each project takes a different approach to the subjects, and each is based on the rich historical primary source items that the Library makes freely available at www.loc.gov.

The three civics interactives are:

  • Eagle Eye Citizen, developed by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. Eagle Eye Citizen engages middle and high school students in solving and creating interactive challenges about Congress, American history, civics, and government with Library of Congress primary sources in order to develop students’ civic understanding and historical thinking skills.

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Helping Students Explore Their Community’s Past through Photography

Driven by a sense of urgency in documenting aspects of American life that are disappearing, such as barns, lighthouses, motor courts, and eclectic roadside art, photographer Carol Highsmith has donated her work to the Library of Congress since 1992. The images, recording current scenes and historical remnants of rural, urban, and small town life, are worthy of study. The project might also inspire students to document and preserve that which makes their own communities unique.

New World War I Teacher Resources from the Library of Congress

Teachers can help their students explore these moments and many more using the Library’s newest primary source set, World War I. This set brings together primary sources that document a war that was like no other, and that brought about tremendous political, social, and technological changes.