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Teaching with Primary Sources — MTSU

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Discover Tennessee History Webinar Series

Discover Tennessee History will offer a seven-part webinar series for the 2021-2022 school year. Each month one of our partner organizations will offer a one-hour session exploring topics in Tennessee history with related primary sources and educational resources that can be used with your students. Recordings of this series and last year's are available and PD credit can be earned for each session. If you wish to receive PD credit, please complete this survey after each watched session. Certificates are sent out weekly. 

To register for the 2021-2022 webinars, please complete this form

Past webinars are available via the TPS-MTSU YouTube channel. 




Session 1 - September 14, 2021undefined

Discover Tennessee History Day

Presenting Organization: Tennessee History Day/Tennessee Historical Society

National History Day is a curriculum and competition for grades 6-12. The content is determined by the educators and students. The methodology depends upon critical analysis of primary sources, resulting in creative project based learning. Learn how to incorporate History Day into the classroom and what resources are available for documentaries, exhibits, performances, websites, and papers. 

Primary Audience: Educators in grade 6-12

Curriculum Standards: Social Studies Practices (6th through 12th grades): SSP.01, SSP.02, SSP.03, SSP.04, SSP.05, SSP.06


Session 2 - October 12, 2021undefined

Beyond the Battles: Tennessee Civilians Through Soldiers' Eyes

Presenting Organization: The Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum

While the battles of the American Civil War occupy many students' minds, understanding how those battles affected civilian populations is critical to understanding the larger event. This session will use primary sources from soldiers stationed in the Cumberland Gap during the war to guide instructors in mining these sources for information about the effects of the war on East Tennesseans' lives. Skills taught include primary source investigation, perspective consideration, and context. Participants will receive digital files of the primary sources used to aid classroom instruction 

Primary Audience: Teachers

Curriculum Standards: SSP.01, SSP.02, SSP.03, SSP.04, SSP.05


Session 3 - November 9, 2021undefined

Investigating History: Museum Escape Room Strategies for the Classroom

Presenting Organization: East Tennessee Historical Society

All the artifacts at the East Tennessee History Center are at risk. Can you escape?

Join the East Tennessee Historical Society for a fast-paced and engaging session featuring the “Voices of the Land” gallery at the East Tennessee History Center in Downtown Knoxville. This session will feature escape rooms with artifact investigations, code cracking, and other fun puzzles (for educators and students). Throughout the session, educators will engage with diverse formats of primary sources including images, artifacts, and documents with the ETHS education team. The escape rooms will require participants to think like historians while using their investigative thinking skills to solve problems. The activities for the escape rooms are standards aligned to both content standards and social studies practice standards and allow for many cross curricular connections.

Primary Audience: Educators

Curriculum Standards: Varies, Mostly Tennessee History Standards


Session 4 - December 14, 2021undefined

Tennessee 225: Artifacts are Primary Sources Too

Presenting Organization: Tennessee State Museum

This year Tennessee turns 225 years old, and the Tennessee State Museum is commemorating this anniversary with an exhibit entitled Tennessee at 225: Highlights from the Collection. As you know, primary sources are one of the best ways for students to explore and learn about the past. The State Museum has chosen 100 artifacts that we believe help tell the long and diverse story of Tennessee. Join our museum educators, as they unlock the stories of these Tennessee objects and demonstrate the various ways they can be used in your classroom to connect your student to Tennessee history.

Primary Audience: Educators and Students Grades 4-12

Curriculum Standard: Grades 3, 5, 8, HS


Session 5 - January 11, 2022

225 Years of Tennessee Stories: Primary Sources and Resources Celebrating the 16th State

Presenting Organization: Tennessee State Library and Archives

Join the Tennessee State Library and Archives as we walk through standards-based primary sources that feature engaging stories from the Volunteer state. Learn how to incorporate these sources and stories into the national narrative for your students. Participants will also discover the new and exciting resources available online and in-person at the Tennessee State Library and Archives.

Primary Audience: Students and Educators

Curriculum Standards: Varies, Mostly TN History Standards


Session 6 - February 8, 2022undefined

Tennessee State Parks and the History of Water in Tennessee

Presenting Organization: Tennessee State Parks

All 56 of Tennessee's State Parks have a history with water. The way people lived on the lands that became our parks often altered the flows and courses of rivers. The creation of lakes, millponds, and channels transformed the landscapes. Water utilization for travel, production, and agriculture left behind buildings and townsites that are still visible to park visitors today. This presentation will introduce educators and students to learn about this particular relationship inside their Tennessee State Parks.

Primary Audience: Students and Educators

Curriculum Standards: 3.13, 3. 18, 4.20, 5.48, 5.49, 8.37, TN.62, US.74, WG.16


Session 7 - March 8, 2022undefined

Tennesseans at War During WWII

Presenting Organization: Teaching with Primary Sources-MTSU

This session will explore how the state was used for a variety of military purposes during WWII from housing POWs to training soldiers. This includes topics such as Camp Crossville, a large POW camp at an abandoned CCC site; Camp Forrest, located in Tullahoma and one of the largest Army training bases during the war; Major General George S. Patton’s armed maneuvers in middle Tennessee; and Camp Tyson, the nation's only World War II barrage balloon training center. The session will also touch on the contributions of Tennesseans in the armed forces including women such as Cornelia Fort, a pioneer in women's military aviation as a member of the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron; the Tennessee National Guard; and the six Tennesseans who were awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions during the war. 

Primary Audience: Educators

Curriculum Standards: 5.18, US.48, US.50, US.51, US.52, US.55, TN.53