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Archives for Educators

Archives can be an amazing resource for students and educators. ​Historical records and collections serve as direct links to our collective past and can help to expand students’ understanding of local and Canadian history. Engaging with archival material can also encourage students to build skills of critical literacy, historical inquiry, and analysis. 

To assist in that learning, staff at the Simcoe County Archives have put together a series of activities for teaching with historical documents. Each activity uses records and resources from our collections.​​

In addition to the activities outlined below, the Simcoe County Archives resource guide for Historical Research from Home​ is also an excellent tool for online learning. We hope you enjoy!

Black and white photo of Students standing in front of the Ferndale school (Barrie), circa 1913
Image: 2001-​​019 Students standing in front of the Ferndale school (Barrie), ca. 1913

Activities for Teaching with Historical Documents

The following activities were created​ by Simcoe County Archives staff to introduce students to historical research using archival records and primary source material. Activity outlines and worksheets are included, and all historical records can be accessed online.

This​ activity was designed to get students thinking about the ways in which history is recorded, with an emphasis on the difference between primary sources and secondary sources. This activity makes use of the 1894-1895 diary of Annie Rothwell, of Innisfil, which is held at the Simcoe County Archives. Suitable for Grades 4 – 6.

​Supplies Needed: 

This activity was again designed to encourage students to think critically about photographs and images, and to compare different forms of photography from different time periods. This activity makes use of unidentified photographs from the Livingstone collection; a collection of 19th century photographs taken around Barrie, Ontario. Suitable for Grades 4 – 6.

This activity was designed to introduce students to reading and interpreting historical records. This activity uses the digitized version of the 1901 Canadian Census, held and made available through the Library and Archives of Canada. ​Suitable for Grades 4 – 6.

Supplies Needed: ​

Fun Stuff

Other resources for Educators