63 activity previewSee activities created with the White Out/Black Out tool.Obscure parts of a document, or reveal only select sections while obscuring the rest, so that students use context clues to hypothesize what is happening or being described.


Learning Objectives

  • Learn and practice document analysis techniques
  • Use context clues to form hypotheses
  • Use primary sources as historical evidence

To create a White Out/Black Out activity:

  1. Go to My Activities and create a new activity.
  2. Choose a document. You can pull in all pages of a document, or only the specific page you will use. Decide whether students will be able to access all of the details available for the document (including dates and descriptions), simply the document images and titles, or nothing beyond what they can see displayed in the activity.
  3. Choose the full image or crop to a specific part of the document. Use the drawing tools to obscure or otherwise annotate certain sections. Add optional questions, directions or text for discussion.
  4. Write instructions for your students, including an introduction and conclusion. You can include questions or a follow-up assignment in your conclusion. Students can email their responses to you if desired.
  5. Preview the student activity and create a snapshot.
  6. Lastly, describe your activity to other teachers by providing a summary. Tag it with the appropriate historical era, historical thinking skill, level of Bloom's Taxonomy, and grade level. You can also include detailed teaching instructions.

Teaching Tips

  • Model document analysis. Whether document analysis is the focus of the activity or not, work with students to pull apart the document to better understand it.
  • Obscure most of a document so that students must make an educated guess about what is happening in a document or photograph based on clues they see.
  • Obscure just part or one major feature of a document. Ask students to use the context clues in the document to hypothesize what is being obscured.
  • Younger students can learn basic document analysis. For students in secondary grades, choose documents that require more extensive analysis and contextualization, or even further research, to practice higher-order thinking skills.


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