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Duration
60-90 minutes
Topic(s)
  • Civil Rights
  • Elections
  • Journalism
  • War
  • Women's Rights
Grade(s)
  • 6-12

  1. In advance,  review the front pages on the EDCollections Headlines That Changed History poster, using the artifact view below or these links: Philadelphia Inquirer, USA TODAY, The Afro-American, and Woman’s Journal and Suffrage News.
  2. Ask your students to answer some warmup discussion prompts: Journalism is often referred to as the first rough draft of history. What do you think this means?  Where do reporters get the information they use to report? Where do historians get the information they use to chronicle/analyze/explain the events of the past?
  3. Hand out copies of the From the Front Page to the History Books worksheet, and tell students they are going to explore a primary source to determine if they think journalism should be considered the first draft of history and why. Students may work individually or in small groups.
  4. Give students 15 to 20 minutes to look at one of the front pages from this poster and fill in the left column of the chart with the key facts about their historical event that they can find on their front page and the questions that are not answered.
  5. Give students access to the library/internet and allow them 15 to 20 minutes to find information to fill in the right column of the chart with key facts about their event from a historical source and any answers they can find for the questions they posed in the left column. Steer students toward encyclopedia-like sources that offer a concise summary of the event.
  6. Ask students to follow step 3 on the worksheet, underlining facts that are the same and circling those that do not match up, then underlining the questions for which they found answers and circling those for which they did not.
  7. Give students 15 to 20 minutes to respond to the questions in step 4 on the worksheet, analyzing their chart findings.
  8. Use the post-activity discussion prompts to begin a class discussion about news versus history and what they discovered during the activity.

  • From the Front Page to the History Books worksheet (download), one per student
  • Access to the four front pages from the EDCollections Headlines That Changed History poster (either printed copies or via devices to view artifact gallery)
  • Internet access (optional)
  • Teacher key (download, optional)

  1. Which facts did you find were the same in both sources? Which were only found in one or the other? Why do you think this was the case?
  2. Which of the questions you wrote after reading the news source are still unanswered? Why do you think that is?
  3. What is the role of a reporter? What is the role of a historian? Compare and contrast.
  4. How much time must pass before news becomes history?

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