Analyzing a Primary Source Document with Adobe Spark Page

Students analyze primary source documents
2 teachers like this strategy
Analyzing a Primary Source Document

About This Strategy

This 60-minute strategy helps students answer big questions about how primary source documents (first hand accounts)  tell us about history. You can use this strategy for any social studies topic in which you want students to examine, summarize, and reflect on a primary source document. It can also be adapted for use with other Adobe products such as Acrobat.

Adobe Spark Page enables organization of ideas and integration of multimedia, this strategy empowers students to demonstrate their understanding in a deep and meaningful way. This tool will allow students to organize their thinking and use visuals to express their ideas.

Supporting Tools and Resources

  • Student Sample
  • Adobe Spark Page

  • Adobe Acrobat

  • Editable Resource Bundle

  • PDF Resource Bundle

Outline for Teachers

60 minutes


Students learn that primary source documents tell us about a moment in history as it was happening from someone who experienced it by evaluating given resources. You may want to share examples of primary source documents students have interacted with earlier in the school year, or share familiar examples like a speech from a historical figure (one option and another resource). Model for students how to look for information, make connections, and gather questions based on their examination of a primary source. (10 minutes)


Students work in pairs to evaluate a collection of primary source documents. You might provide general or content-specific evaluation questions or use this resource to develop questions. (15 minutes)


Students pick one primary source document and present their findings in a Adobe Spark Page. Students can follow these steps and review this student sample.  (35 minutes)


Students share and publish their primary source document analysis. 

Steps for Students

You will learn that primary source documents tell us about moments in history! A primary source document gives us a window into the world of someone who lived long ago.  To help organize your thinking, you will create an Adobe Spark Page with three sections, and add images and links that help communicate what you have learned.

Spark Page is a tool used to build landing pages to publish online. You will create your own Page ready to share with the world.


1. A primary source shares a moment in history from the perspective of someone who lived during that time. Refer to this overview of a primary source and compare with examples shared by your teacher. (10 minutes)

2. With a partner, review the primary source documents shared by your teacher. Talk to your partner about the following: (15 minutes)

  • Observations

    • What is it? (ex. speech, letter, photograph)

    • Who made it and when was it made? When did the event(s) occur that it relates to?

    • Why was this created?

  •  Connections

    • How does this connect to another document you’ve seen?

    • How does this primary source connect to other information you’ve learned?

  • Questions

    • What does this leave you wondering?

    • What is confusing or hard to understand?

3. Take the answers to your questions and create an Adobe Spark Page to organize your thinking. (35 minutes)

  • Start by adding the name of the primary source as your title. 

  • Then, create three section headings (Observations, Connections, Questions) and summarize the answers from your partner discussion by writing a paragraph for each section. You may link to other online resources related to your observations, connections, and questions, and include any pictures you like. As you create your Spark Page, use the Themes option to choose a theme that connects to your primary source document. You may also use the plus sign (+) to add images in between your sections.

For inspiration, check out this student sample. For guidance, refer to these steps. Be sure to review the rubric to understand the expectations.

4. Share your website as directed by your instructor.

Rubric for Successful Analysis

Consult the attached rubric in order to evaluate students' pages.