Lesson Plan

Teaching with Primary Sources: Lower Elementary

Primary source documents help us learn about people, places, and events from the past.

Grade Levels

Lower Elementary School; Grades 1-3


1‐3 class periods. This activity has been designed to be customized to your learning goals and your students’ individual needs. Choose to do the complete lesson plan or select parts with your students based on your schedule and objectives.


Students use primary source documents to piece together the story of Victoria Confino, an immigrant who lived in 97 Orchard Street almost one hundred years ago. Students examine a postcard, a ship manifest, a naturalization certificate, and a report card in search of clues that will help them understand parts of Victoria’s experience as an immigrant in the United States.

Related Museum Programs: All, Uses content closely linked to the Meet Victoria program.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Understand that primary source documents can help us understand people, places, and events from the past.
  • Examine primary source documents in search of clues to help them understand a person from the past.
  • Use evidence to make predictions.

Essential Questions

  • How do historians learn about the past?
  • How can primary source documents help us to understand the past?


  • Primary Source Guide (located in appendix)
  • Primary Source Packet (located in appendix)
  • Telling Victoria’s Story Worksheet (located in appendix)
  •  Pencils
  • Crayons or markers


  • Primary source
  • Ship manifest
  • Immigrant
  • Tenement

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.

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