Lesson Plan

Critical Source Evaluation

historic photograph of church facade
Historic photographs seem like perfect source material. But is the information intact and unaltered?

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Grade Level:
Sixth Grade-Twelfth Grade
Journalism, Language Arts, Media Studies, Museum Studies, Reading, Writing
45 minutes
Group Size:
Up to 36
computer lab
National/State Standards:
Arizona College and Career Readiness:
6-12.RH.1, 6-12.RH.2, 6-12.RH.5, 6-12.RH.6, 6-12.RH.8, 6-12.RH.9
6-12.RST.2, 6-12.RST.5, 6-12.RST.8, 6-12.RST.9
cite, citation, source, primary, secondary, persuasion, bias, logic, deductive reasoning, inductive reasoning


National parks are valuable repositories of information including subject matter experts, photographs, and tangible objects.  One of the founding principles of national parks is that this primary source information be preserved so that people may learn from it in the future. Students today may take advantage of this opportunity both in person and online.


 Students will be able to:

  • Define "citation"
  • Name at least three criteria by which a source can be evaluated
  • Use deductive and inductive reasoning to draw conclusions
  • Evaluate the credibility of a variety of sources online and in the world


The vast resources available on the Internet in the 21st century can be a treasure trove of information but can also be difficult to navigate.  What is true and what is untrue?  When is an author practicing sound research techniques?  How do we determine whether a source is reliable or not?
The National Park Service preserves information in all types of forms (people, objects, documents) that can bring us closer to the primary sources we seek and that can verify or inform conclusions that we make.




source, citation, inductive reasoning, deductive reasoning, primary, secondary, correlation, causation, bias, persuasion

Last updated: February 24, 2015