Eagle Eye Citizen Gets Civics Students Interacting With the Library of Congress' Primary Sources

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The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media is proud to announce the launch of Eagle Eye Citizen, a Congress, Civic Participation, and Primary Sources Project supported by a grant from the Library of Congress.

Eagle Eye Citizen engages middle and high school students in solving and creating interactive challenges about Congress, American history, civics, and government with Library of Congress primary sources in order to develop students’ civic understanding and historical thinking skills.

Engaging Challenges

RRCHNM conceptualized three challenge types for students and teachers to solve and create:

  • Time After Time — Students examine five Library of Congress primary sources related to Congress and civic participation. As students look closely at each source, they drag and drop it into the timeline. Students explore connections across time and determine relationships between sources. This challenge emphasizes sequencing and periodization.
  • Big Picture — Students carefully examine one Library of Congress primary source piece-by-piece to build an overall understanding. As details are revealed, students determine what the big picture is and answer a thought-provoking question about its meaning or purpose. Students use evidence to draw conclusions about a topic. This challenge emphasizes sourcing and close reading.
  • Sort it Out — Students are presented with two categories and six Library of Congress primary sources. Looking closely at each source, students drag and drop it into one of the categories until all six are accurately sorted. In this challenge, students carefully analyze primary sources to identify common themes. This challenge emphasizes central ideas, chronology, and contextualization.

RRCHNM incorporated the Library’s primary source analysis method — Observe, Question, Reflect — into the interactive design as students note their observations, questions, and reflections. This allows teachers to check for conceptual understanding and student skills in observation and analysis.

Compelling Primary Sources

At the heart of Eagle Eye Citizen are more than 300 Library of Congress primary sources for solving or creating challenges. These include maps, photographs, documents, political cartoons, and audio/video materials.

Primary sources include American foundational documents such as the U.S. Constitution, as well as sources such as a speech by A. Philip Randolph to the National Press Club before the March on Washington (August 1963), a veterans oral history with Warren Michio Tsuneishi, a Japanese American who served as a translator during World War II in the Pacific; a 1903 Edison film clip of immigrants arriving at Ellis Island; a Lewis Hine photograph of the National Child Labor Committee; legislation from Congress.gov, such as the text of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act; a 1920 political cartoon regarding women’s suffrage, and an image of members of the Native American Women Warriors, an association of active duty and retired American Indians in the U.S military service.

The collection also includes sheet music, such as the George M. Cohan song Over There. RRCHNM, working with musicians and singers, made recordings of these historic songs to accompany the sheet music. It is one thing to read the lyrics, but it is another to hear the words to the intended melody. Teachers and students have responded very favorably to this addition.

Student Engagement

Students earn votes to become a “Master Legislator” and badges for solving and creating challenges related to citizenship, civil rights, the Constitution, elections and the legislative branch. Students also earn votes when other students solve and rate their challenges.

Teacher Support

Eagle Eye Citizen includes a Teach section with videos, handouts, lesson planning ideas, resources, and tips for differentiation.

Posted on December 10, 2017 .