Education Outreach: April Week 5

Daily Primary Source Activities for Families Learning at Home

Parents and caregivers, are you looking for activities for students learning at home? Through April 24th, the Tennessee State Library and Archives will be posting primary sources from our collection here and on our Facebook page. These posts will include inquiry questions and short activities to help your students engage with social studies content while studying at home. 

April 27

Today’s primary source is an Isoseismal Map for the Arkansas earthquake of December 16, 1811. This is a map that shows the intensity of the New Madrid Earthquakes. The New Madrid Earthquakes were a series of earthquakes that occurred from December 1811 to February 1812 along the Tennessee-Missouri-Kentucky border. Scientists believe that the four earthquakes would have registered as 8's on the Richter scale had it existed. The strongest earthquake ever recorded was the Chilean earthquake of 1960 that registered as a 9.5.

Questions for students:

1) Where do you think the epicenter (central point) was?

2) Do you think the effects of the earthquake are stronger or weaker the closer to the star?

3) How far away could the earthquake be "felt"?


Using a blank map of the United States (such as the one here: color the varying degrees of vibration intensity felt by Americans from the New Madrid earthquake. You can color according to the order of a rainbow (ROY.G.BIV) where red is the most intense and violet is the least. Use the primary source for reference. If you need help with the states, you can use this map (

April 28

Today’s primary source is the political cartoon The Tailor and Rail-Splitter Mending the Union.

Questions for students:

1) What kind of document is this?

2) Why do people create these kinds of documents?

3) Who are the two men pictured in this document?

4) How did each man plan to "mend the Union" after the Civil War?


About what topic or problem do you feel strongly? Draw a cartoon expressing your opinion about that topic.

April 29

Today’s primary source is an excerpt from oral interview with Abby Crawford Milton about methods used by anti-suffragists in Nashville during the summer of 1920.

Questions for students:

1) According to Abby Crawford Milton's oral history, how did different Tennesseans feel about women getting the right to vote?

2) How did they make their feelings known to others?


Think about a time when you had to convince or persuade someone. Have you ever had to convince your sibling or friend to choose a certain movie, video game, or activity? How did you prove your point? Using (Tik Tok, Snapchat, or Instagram) record yourself convincing people of your opinion for a particular topic. Bonus points if your topic is the importance of voting!

April 30

Today’s primary source is a poster from the Office of War Information distributed nationwide in 1943.  

Questions for students:

1) What is a victory garden?

2) Looking at this image, how would you describe a victory garden?

3) When did Americans plant victory gardens?

4) Why did they plant victory gardens?


On a sheet of paper, design your own victory garden. How many family members do you need to feed? What would you plant?

May 1

Today’s primary source is a geological map of Tennessee from 1855, before the Civil War.

Questions for students:

1) What three questions does this map answer?

2) What information on the map helps you answer these questions?

3) Can you tell what's highlighted in the top right corner of the map?

4) How do you think Tennessee's geological resources helped grow the state's industrial business?


Using this map, figure out what geological resources were present in your county in 1855. Use materials around your house to make a 2-D or 3-D paper model of your county that shows the geological resources and includes a map key.