The Library of Congress is home to millions of historical primary sources, including documents related to the work of Congress. Teachers can explore Congress.gov, the official website for U.S. federal legislative information, and consider how federal legislation can launch science learning.
Throughout history, humans have devised methods for transporting, testing, and transforming water, a limited natural resource. Examining historical primary sources invites students to grapple with the local, global, social, political, and scientific dimensions of water.
Scientific investigations with plants are a staple in elementary school classrooms. Young learners study plant structures and functions, what plants need to grow, how plants reproduce and pass on genetic information, and how matter and energy move in ecosystems. As they learn core scientific ideas, students should simultaneously engage in the practices of scientists. Historic photographs can serve as windows into planning and carrying out scientific investigations.
At the end of the 19th century, advances in science, engineering, and technology resulted in a revolution in transportation. Historical primary sources offer opportunities for students to consider energy and engineering principles related to electric cars from a century ago.
Jefferson's search for a tool to measure distances he traveled in a horse-drawn carriage was just one of his many efforts to quantify and logically describe the natural world. He also wrote a report on weights and measures, kept copious weather records, and created a chart detailing the fruits and vegetables sold at a vegetable market throughout the year. A closer look at Jefferson’s notes about odometers presents a range of possibilities for engaging students in mathematical reasoning and problem solving.
Most of us know Thomas Jefferson as the primary author of the Declaration of Independence. Fourteen years later, on July 4, 1790, Jefferson followed up with another revolutionary document, a report on weights and measures.