Activity: Gathering Multiple Sources

This activity supports Common Core in English Language Arts — CCR Anchor Standards for Writing – CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.7CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.8, and CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.9.

Grade level: Appropriate for grades 4-12 with teacher modifications.

Duration: One or two class periods.


Students can use Recollection Wisconsin as a starting point for many research projects, using the site to gather information from diverse sources. Watch the Searching recollectionwisconsin.org video tutorial with students and discuss good techniques for conducting research online, including getting creative with search keywords, evaluating sources for reliability, citing sources accurately, and locating permanent links to online content.

Some starting points for research projects may include:

  • Have students use Recollection Wisconsin’s Explore Collections on a Map function to find a collection from their hometown, nearby city, or another area of interest. Ask students: What was life like in your hometown 100 years ago? Encourage students to consider photos in addition to maps, city directories, and other informational sources.
  • Ask students: What can you find to help tell the life story of a famous figure in Wisconsin history? Examples of notable individuals with good documentation in Recollection Wisconsin include Aldo Leopold, William Proxmire, Elizabeth Baird, Bunny Berigan, Golda Meir, or Ralph Metcalf. Have students use the Names search box to find materials related to these or other Wisconsinites.
  • Ask students to choose a college or university in Wisconsin that they would like to attend, one that a relative attended, or one close to their hometown. Instruct them to use the Browse Collections by Category interface and choose “Colleges” or “Universities” from the Subjects list to see all collections related to Wisconsin’s colleges or universities. Have students research the history of that school, or find an interesting fact to share with the class.

Video tutorial: Searching recollectionwisconsin.org

Tutorial transcript (pdf).