Worksheet for Identifying Primary and Secondary Sources

Name: KEY
World History – Mrs. Schenck
Identifying Primary and Secondary Sources
 Primary Source: a record made by people who saw or took part in an
event (originates from the past) – any ARTIFACT is a PRIMARY source
 Secondary Source: a record of an event written by someone not there
at the time
Is this an ARTIFACT from history? OR
Did the creator witness/make the item?
Yes = primary source
No = secondary source
Directions: Determine whether the following are primary or secondary sources.
Circle the letter indicating whether the item is a "P" primary source or "S" secondary
source. For each one, explain your reasoning in COMPLETE SENTENCES.
1. The story your grandfather tells you about his experience during the Korean
Primary Source – Your grandfather witnessed and took part in the Korean
war, so his story is a primary source.
2. Your World History textbook or an encyclopedia.
Secondary Source – The authors of a textbook or encyclopedia have not
taken part in the events they write about. Textbooks and encyclopedias are
almost always secondary sources.
3. The Diary of Anne Frank - the published diary of a teenage girl who experiences
the Holocaust first hand .
Primary Source - Anne Frank experienced the Holocaust and wrote about
her personal experience. Diaries are always primary sources.
4. A letter written by George Washington to his mother about the latest
developments in the Revolutionary War.
Primary Source – George Washington took part in the Revolutionary War
and wrote the letter about his personal experiences at the time.
5. An article in National Geographic about life in ancient Rome.
Secondary Source – The author of the article did not witness life in ancient
Rome. He is using other sources to write his article.
6. A photograph of you and your friends at your 8th birthday party.
Primary Source – You took part in the birthday party and were a part of the
experience. Photographs are always primary sources.
7. The information from the museum tour guide who shows you around the
dinosaur exhibit and shares facts with you.
Secondary Source – The museum tour guide was not alive during the time
of the dinosaurs. She is gathering her information from other sources.
8. A mummy from ancient Egypt.
Primary Source – Ancient artifacts are always primary sources. They are
direct links to the past, and the maker of the mummy was alive and a part
of the making the mummy.
What might be some advantages and disadvantages to using only a
primary or secondary source?
Primary Source
 direct link to the past,
first hand account
 we can touch and
analyze the source
 people’s opinions
can be biased or
someone may have
misinterpreted an event
 artifacts can be
broken or missing – we
have to make educated
guesses about their
meaning and use
Secondary Source
they are print or
other media so they
are easy to find and
not a direct link to
the past, so need to
check for author
bias or incorrect
history changes –
we need to look for
the most up to date
Analyzing Primary and Secondary Sources
The actual bones of Ardipithecus Ramidus –
Primary Source
Compare Ardi’s bones to our skeleton on the board and make predictions about her.
A scientific article/drawing about Ardi’s bones. - Secondary Source
A video about archaeologists who found and examined Ardi. - Primary/Secondary Source
(Insight into EQ “How do historians know what they know?”)
Big Discovery: Ardi was found in Ethiopia, Africa
Dating the Remains: Ardi is 4.4 million years old
What Ardi’s Bones Tell Us: - teeth: she was female (small canines), young
adult (adult molars were not very worn down)
- toe: she had an infection, but survived (bone was healed)
Did Ardi walk upright?: - yes! BIPEDAL = walked upright on two feet
- pelvis tells us she was human (bone for bipedalism only found
in humans present, very different in appearance from a chimp)
Ardi’s Skull:
Ardi’s Hands and Feet : she is NOT chimp or human – own species
- feet: grasping big toe (chimplike), but bipedal (humanlike)
- hands: wrists and fingers too flexible, showing she did not knuckle walk
like chimps
Ardi’s World:
- forest/woodlands: lots of trees
- found fossils of pigs, monkeys, birds, etc. there also
What did Ardi look like?:
- apelike appearance and very hairy
- apelike hands with long fingers
- grasping foot: had a “thumb” that could help
hold things, climb trees, but also walk upright
- only 4ft. tall
Origins of Bipedalism:
Evolutionary Advantages of Walking Upright:
History Essential Question: How do we know what we know?
How do we know what we know about Ardi?
Use multiple and complete sentences.
Prove to me that you know what you know about Ardi!
Name two pieces of primary source evidence archaeologist used to learn more about
Ardi, and describe what this evidence told archaeologists about Ardi’s life.
1. Evidence
what does it tell us?
2. Evidence
what does it tell us?