Primary and Secondary Sources with Buffalo Hunting

Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.

Lesson Time

40-60 minutes

Technology

If you would like to incorporate the game, students will need access to computers with Spirit Lake installed on them.

In class: If you are teaching in person, you will need a laptop and projector for your slideshow presentation. If you want to include Spirit Lake gameplay, your students will need access to Mac or Windows computers that have Spirit Lake installed, along with their assigned usernames and passwords. Alternatively, Making Camp Dakota can be played on any device.

Remote: Students need internet connections to see your presentation, watch the videos, and view and enter answers on their worksheets.

Summary

Discover why primary sources are important with a story about Dakota buffalo hunting. Have your students watch the following two videos back to back within the downloadable slideshow. These two videos together are great resources for a lesson on the value of primary sources. Included are questions for discussion and critical thinking. Students can do a primary sources scavenger hunt at the Library of Congress (LOC) website. Included in the slides are two curated museum videos about American bison.

Example usable to teach with primary sources: Black and white video of galloping buffalo

Lesson

Present the lesson Buffalo Hunting – Primary and Secondary Sources. The slideshow comes with several examples of primary and secondary sources from the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian museum, and YouTube.

Videos with Primary and Secondary Sources

Two videos about the Dakota buffalo hunters are presented within the presentation for your students to compare and contrast. The first video contains primary sources, and the second is an interpretation of the narration using animation as a secondary source.

If you want to go directly to the two videos included in the Google slides presentation, these are linked below.

Video with Primary Sources
Video with Secondary Sources

Questions included within the Google Slides presentation

These can be discussed together in class or assigned to students to answer individually.

  1. Reflect: Which video did you like better? What did you like about it?
  2. Compare and Contrast: Was there any information you could get from the first video that you did not see in the second?
  3. Explain: Do you think both videos are equally accurate?
  4. Analyze: The first video used photos and paintings. The second video used animation to help tell the story. Both were made about the buffalo hunt. Which source did you think was more trustworthy? Why?
  5. Synthesize: Imagine if you could add some more facts to the video using primary and secondary sources. List one primary source you would add. List one secondary source.

Note: For differentiated instruction, you can have students select one or two of the questions to answer. In more advanced classes, you may wish to discuss how the oil painters could be biased in their representation of their subjects, and how even photos could be biased in the subjects photographers chose to capture.

Virtual Scavenger Hunt

  1. Review the copy and paste functions with your students as learning a key introductory component of online research using the LOC. Enclosed are instructions for students to help walk your students through.
  2. Have students research primary sources at the LOC website. Click the following link for downloadable graphic organizers to distribute to your class. One answer model has been filled out. Students will copy and paste URLs for six primary sources from the LOC site and label three of them.

Game

Spirit Lake is an adventure game with multiplication, division, and geometry practice that plays on Mac or Windows computers. This is tied in with Dakota culture and history. You can have your students play for 20-30 minutes, hunt rabid wolves, and hunt buffalo. Look out for primary and secondary sources!

Don’t have a Mac or Windows computer? Making Camp Dakota can be played on the web and also includes content with buffalo hunting, as well as examples of primary and secondary sources.

Assessment

To check their data, you need your Spirit Lake teacher data reports username and password and your students’ usernames and passwords roster added to your account for Spirit Lake.

Related Lesson

Primary and secondary sources