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Primary Sources: The Salem Witch Trials

By Lily Iatridis  October 16, 2013
NEWSLETTER - October 2013 PumpkinSalem Witch Trials Anyone?

Halloween's around the corner, so why not make it educational?

Salem, Massachusetts is a beautiful and lively place to visit this time of year. But that's not only because of the fall foliage and major Halloween celebrations that take place there. The Salem witch trials were an important event in early U.S. history. They make an excellent case study of governance and religion.

If you'd like to teach your kids about the Salem witch trials, please visit this website for a huge collection of resources on the subject. The site is sponsored by the University of Virginia, and it's full of primary source documents.

Primary source documents are wonderful to use with your kids whenever you can. They're copies of original documents created by the people who were there at the time the event happened. Primary sources can include art, photos, letters, interviews, etc. Using them lets kids play the detective as they uncover clues as to what actually happened or how events unfolded. If you've never used them before, please give them a try!

Lesson Idea: After studying some primary sources, rent a movie on the witch trials and have a discussion about fact vs. popular fiction.


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