Education Resource Portal

Guiding Questions and Activities


Evaluating Evidence (E)

Kind Theme/Skill Topic Category Grades

Define and explain the word assimilation and the assimilation policy towards American Indians at the turn of the century. Have students explore the American Indian tag on the WWI portal and record evidence of ways American Indians were forced to assimilate and ways they resisted assimilation. Discuss the challenges American Indians faced to preserve their culture during this period and how they resisted those challenges, based on the evidence students collected.

Activity MP, E WWI American Indians 9-12

Direct students to select and compare two sources with different points of view on the conflict, making a chart to organize their comparisons. On what do they agree and what do they disagree? Why might they see the same events differently? What about the experience and background of the source creators is likely influencing their perspective?

Activity MP, E Civil War, WWI general 6-8, 9-12

Have students select a set of sources they are interested in and analyze the sources. Direct them to use their analysis of these sources to create the front page of a newspaper from the time (they’ll use the sources they selected to decide on a date that makes sense). Synthesizing events from the war and the perspectives analyzed on the portal, they will report on the events of both the warfront and homefront.

Activity EA, E Civil War, WWI general 6-8, 9-12

Select a set of sources from the soldier perspective, using the soldier tag and narrowing by war era. Direct students to read and analyze the sources and use their analysis to write an argument about why soldiers were motivated to fight.

Activity EA, E Civil War, WWI soldiers 9-12

“America First” was a popular slogan during the WWI era. Select items that support an “America First” perspective and assign students to use the portal to find a piece of evidence to counter each item you selected. Students should provide a brief rationale for their choices.

Activity EA, E WWI government, nativism 9-12

With a partner, students select a topic and choose opposite sides of the issue. They select 3-5 items in the portal to support their side of the topic and write a 2-3 paragraph persuasive essay using their chosen items as supports.

Activity EA, E Civil War, WWI general 9-12

Using the American Indian tag on the portal, direct students to compare the impact of the US-Dakota War of 1862 on Minnesotans to the Civil War’s impact. Then, have them write an argument using the sources as evidence to prove which conflict was more significant in Minnesota history. Do a 4-corners activity to debate the question as a large group.

Activity E, EA Civil War American Indians 6-8

Provide students with a set of 5-7 curated items from the portal; tell students that these 5-7 items will make a mini "pop-up" exhibit to be displayed at a local library. Assign students to write an exhibit rationale and summary, then make a brochure promoting the exhibit.

Activity C, E Civil War, WWI general 9-12

Direct students to find a particular person highlighted in the portal and conduct additional research on that person. Then, write an obituary about that person’s life, challenges, and accomplishments.

Activity CE, CCOT, E Civil War, WWI general 6-8, 9-12

Instruct students to make a chart comparing the experiences of soldiers during the war to the experiences of soldiers today. How were they impacted differently by combat? In what ways do their experiences remain the same?

Activity CCOT, E Civil War, WWI soldiers 6-8

Assign students or pairs of students either “pro-war” or “anti-war” and have them search the portal for historical evidence that shows their point of view. As they do this, have them make a list of why people may have supported or not support the war effort.

Activity E WWI general 6-8, 9-12

Using the American Indian collection have students look for evidence of assimilation in the collection and evidence of traditional Ojibwe culture. Have them report their findings with the class.

Activity E WWI American Indians 6-8

Take a look at all of the items in the collection that belonged to Ezra Curry. Have students write a letter home or journal entry describing a typical morning on the front. Be sure to include the importance of the gear that he was provided in order to do his job effectively.

Activity E WWI soldiers, camp life 6-8

Provide students with a set of 5-7 artifacts from the portal. Ask students to figure out how the items are related.

Activity E Civil War, WWI general 6-8

Language and terminology has changed over time. Select a source from the portal with text and transcribe it into the current day vernacular. Decide: would this be an effective piece of evidence to convince a contemporary person of the argument being made?

Activity CCOT, E Civil War, WWI general 9-12

Select a curated set of items or clothing worn by soldiers and nurses. Ask students to depict the experience of a person at war wearing the clothing or using the items selected. (extension question: based on the items or clothing selected, how might the experience of soldiers and nurses be different?)

Activity E Civil War, WWI soldiers, camp life, women 9-12

Direct students to the poster collection and find three propaganda posters used during WWI. Have students analyze each poster using the Propaganda Poster Analysis google form as a guide.

Activity E WWI homefront 6-8

Assign students to read about 4-Minute Men during WWI. Direct students to select and reinterpret a propaganda poster from the portal, transforming it from a visual image to a speech that might be given by a 4-minute man. Students should write and perform the speech, as well as state where the speech would have be given, their target audience, and the reason for their choices.

Activity E WWI general 9-12

Have students use the “Category” filter tool to select a topic of political debate, such as prohibition, women’s suffrage, abolition etc. Students should select the image that they believe would be most convincing to a person during this time period and create a tweet to explain their artifact and perspective using the twitter challenge template. Do this for both sides of the political debate.

Activity E, MP Civil War, WWI prohibition, suffrage, abolition, nativism 6-8, 9-12