Excerpts from
Teaching with Documents: Using Primary Sources from the National Archives
National Archives and Records Administration and National Council for the Social Studies
Washington, D.C.

Distinguishing Fact from Opinion

1. With students in groups of five, distribute a copy of the document to each student and have them read it carefully. A recorder for the group should make a list of questions that the group members raise after reading the document.

2. Instruct the group members to decide if the questions on their list can be answered with a fact (+) or by a supporting opinion (*). Have them place an appropriate mark next to each question.

3. Instruct the groups to choose their two best fact questions and their two best supporting opinion questions.

4. As the groups report, record their questions on the board in a chart like the one below.

Fact (+)

Opinion (*)










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