Firsthand History 20th Century
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Grades: 3 - 5

Focus Area Description:  Explore 20th century history with those who were there when it happened, with historians and scholars guided by first person accounts, and through primary source video and images.

Our current library of 97 videos in this Focus Area are available in the subareas listed to the right; to view them click a thumbnail and become a member of Educate.Today.

To see sample videos in this area of the collection, click any of the titles below:

New March 2023! Gemini Mission Space Walks

Other Samples:
New February 2023! Stories of Segregation—Purchasing Clothes at a Department Store
New January 2023! Coming to America and Freedom
Remembering the Battle of the Bulge
Stories of Segregation–My Parents Picking Cotton

Quick Ideas for Using our Firsthand History 20th Century Videos:

  • Provide the videos for students to view independently to gain insights into events of the 20th century or to satisfy their own curiosity/interest in any particular event.
  • Use the videos as a conversation starter for a class discussion on a topic, event, or person linked to the topic you are studying.
  • Use the videos with journal prompts for students to write about as they respond to/reflect on content included in the video.
  • Use the videos in class to show first person experiences related to the events you are studying.
  • Use the videos with lesson plans you create that have students research a particular time period, event, or person in the 20th century through secondary sources first and then gain first person perspective from the video. As part of the activity, have students evaluate how the primary source impacted their learning/understanding.
  • Have students use the videos to gain background knowledge on how to conduct, film, and edit an interview into a finished video and then create their own video interview with a local veteran/home front individual in your community as they study a particular wartime period.
  • As part of student research for a History Day project, paper, etc., have students view relevant videos to find primary source information they can use.
  • Have students include insights gained through the videos as part of their projects, papers, and presentations on a history-related subject by:
    • interpreting and/or summarizing what they saw and learned in the video.
    • citing quotations from the expert in the video.