Course Description

Designed for K12 classroom teachers, this non-credit course is offered in four modules.  Teachers are invited to take one or more to learn new ways to integrate primary sources into social studies instruction and gain access to exciting resources from the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.


Learning history has less to do with memorizing facts and names and more to do with interpreting multiple perspectives in order to create an understanding of past events.  Appropriate use of primary sources involves students learning how to “act like historians.”  By working with primary sources, students develop skills that will help them to understand the past, live in the present, and navigate the future. For schools that integrate the Common Core standards, primary sources allow the integration of nonfiction source material into social studies and literacy education.


Founded in 1824 in Philadelphia, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP) is one of the oldest historical societies in the United States. It is home to 600,000 printed items and over 21 million manuscript and graphic items. Its unparalleled collections encompass more than 350 years of America’s history.   From Native American colonial treaties and treasures from the founding of the United States, to the holdings of The Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies, the Society is dedicated to sharing sources with teachers and students through professional development opportunities, web resources, and student programs.  


This online course offers its students an opportunity to increase their knowledge of US history and bolster their use of primary source methodology.  HSP will present content in a way that moves chronologically; however each class session will consist of a presentation that focuses on a special topic within a specified time period as well as a presentation of primary sources that work in conjunction with the topics. 

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