If you wish to complete this exercise online, split your students into four equal groups. Each group will work with one of the primary sources regarding the Vietnam War protests on campus in May 1970. Each tab contains a different primary source, background information to help students better understand the document, and questions to answer as a group. Each group should be assigned one tab or document and be allowed 15-20 minutes to read through the source, make notes, and answer the questions. The exercise will culminate in an overall discussion where each group responds to the questions and fits their primary source into the larger context of what actually went on during these events.
This allows students to not only work in groups and to learn more about these events, but to better understand the context and biases that are involved when doing research with primary sources. Each primary source document will represent a different point of view, was created for a different audience, and will contain underlying clues as to the motivations and prejudices of the group that created it. Focus on these learning outcomes throughout the exercise:
This is an outstanding introduction to primary source research, and the scaffolding approach of layering different views and perspectives should show your students the intricacies and necessary care when doing this kind of work. For more information or to schedule an in-person class visit to the Special Collections Research Center, please contact Matthew Strandmark using the button on the Home tab.