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20 Questions for Reading and Evaluating Primary Sources

Lesson Purpose

The “20 Questions” series of worksheets from George Washington’s Mount Vernon are designed to guide students through a structured exploration of primary sources. Each set of questions move from concrete observations to analyses of people that lived in the past. The last questions ask students to make larger conclusions about the culture of the time in order to inform a final writing prompt. Included with each worksheet are primary sources from George Washington’s world.


There are four different worksheet options:

  • Evaluating Historic Places
  • Evaluating Historic Prints
  • Evaluating Historic Recipes
  • Evaluating Historic Objects

Click each link to download individual worksheets. To download all, click the small "download" button at the bottom of the page.


Download Questions for Historic Places

Download Questions for Historic Prints

Download Questions for Historic Recipes

Download Questions for Historic Objects