Lesson Plan

Introduction to Primary Sources

Define “primary sources” and analyze one contemporary and one historic source.

Students start this lesson by looking at contemporary primary sources and discover how they tell a story.  They apply these skills to the Confino family’s 1913 Ship Manifest to start to put together the story of Victoria Confino, a young immigrant from Greece.




How can we use ordinary documents and objects to put together a story?


1-2 Class Periods

Important Information

What will students understand through this lesson?

Immigrants were processed at Ellis Island through a series of inspections which brought fear and uncertainty to immigrants. Today, when immigrants come across a border, whether on an airplane or otherwise, there is still fear and uncertainty.

Primary Source

1913 SS Argentina Ship Passenger List (Manifest)

Find the Confino family on the passenger list of a ship that brought immigrants to the United States in 1913.

Related Family Story

Questions on lessons and activities?

The materials on this page can enrich a visit to the Museum or help you teach about immigration. If you have questions or comments, please e-mail us.

Are you an Educator?

Sign-up here to receive our monthly educator newsletter featuring teacher resources, classroom activities, information on upcoming workshops and school program opportunities, and more.