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1. “Archives Alive” – how to use primary sources to enrich your students’ learning experience.

Course Summary: 

Primary sources can really enrich your students’ learning experience.  

In this course you’ll learn some different ways to use archives and other primary sources to inspire you students’ curiosity, develop their observation, investigation, questioning and interpretation skills and to inspire and engage them. 

These ideas have been used successfully by Newcastle University Library’s Education Outreach Team during the course of our work. Many of the ideas and strategies suggested have been picked up from elsewhere and we do not by any means claim that these ideas originated with us. When it has been possible to trace the origin of the original idea, we have provided appropriate weblinks. If you believe you have a claim to the intellectual property rights of anything featured in this course, and wish to be credited, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

For more information about Education Outreach at Newcastle University Library go to: 
Schools & Education Outreach – University Library – Newcastle University ( 

Course duration 
3 hours 

Video text

Hello, my name is Gillian Johnston and I’m an Education Officer at Newcastle University Library. Welcome to our online course all about using primary sources.

Using archives as inspiration for inquiry and project-based learning is something our team have been doing for many years. Starting with primary sources related to the topic you’re studying is a great way to hook your students, inspire their curiosity and get them asking questions.

The introduction to this course will give you a little bit of context into Newcastle University Education Outreach Team. In the main part of the course, which we’ve divided into three modules, we’ll take you through some source-based activities that we’ve successfully used with Key Stage 2 students.

Module 1 will focus on using objects, Module 2 on images and Module 3 on documents. By experiencing  these activities for yourself, you’ll hopefully gain some ideas of how to use historical objects, images and documents in your own teaching. Then finally in Module 4 you’ll be given time to create an action plan to help you put your ideas for using primary sources into action. I’ll be taking you through this course in short videos like this one.

We hope you find the course useful and enjoy trying out some of the suggested ideas.

Newcastle University