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Learning Activities

We are living through history right now, and future generations will want to know: “What was life like in 2020 and 2021?” Maine libraries are creating an online, living time capsule of these times, and we want your thoughts and experiences to be included!

Check out these activities to learn about primary sources and how to document your experiences for the future. The materials you create today will become the historical record of tomorrow.

Life During COVID Scavenger Hunt

Life has changed since March 2020, and it keeps changing--but we're all in it together! Complete this scavenger hunt in real life or online by taking photos or screenshots of the items you find.

Conducting Interviews

The pandemic changed our lives in many ways. In this activity, interview three other people to learn what the pandemic was like for them. After conducting interviews, compare and contrast different accounts of the pandemic.

This activity is also available as a lesson plan for classroom use: My COVID-19 Experience

Creating Primary Sources

Consider the time we live in now--do you think that in 10, or 20, or 50 years people will want to know more about today? In this activity, you will make your own primary source in the form of a social media post documenting a feeling or aspect of your life during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This activity is also available as a lesson plan for classroom use: #COVID Stories: Creating Primary Sources for the Future

Exploring Portraits

What can a portrait tell us about a person, their experiences, and the world they live in? In this activity you will analyze a contemporary portrait by identifying its elements and uncovering its layers of meaning. Then, create an original portrait or self-portrait of your own!

This activity is also available as a lesson plan for classroom use: Exploring Portraits: Pictures That Tell a Story

Reading Photographs

What can an old photograph tell us about history? Plenty! Photographs hold a wealth of information about what life was like in the past. In this activity, act like a sleuth and uncover the clues!

This activity is also available as a lesson plan for classroom use: Reading a Photograph (Or, Being a History Detective)

Recording Soundscapes

In this activity, record a soundscape of your home or neighborhood. You will practice listening, investigate how sound can invite a deeper understanding of the past, and gain insight into the impacts of human behavior and technology on the natural world.

This activity is also available as a lesson plan for classroom use: Listening to the Present, Sounds of the Past

Additional Resources

Maine Contemporary Archives: Lesson Plans

Maine Contemporary Archives: Prompts to Inspire Your Words and Images

Maine DOE Social Studies: Low Tech/No Tech Distance Learning Lesson Ideas PK-6 Grade Span | 7-12 Grade Span

Ideas include:

  • Create a time capsule of your school year and current events.
  • Collect artifacts from around the house that tell the story of your family.
  • Create a timeline of the past year including family events and current events in the news.
  • Write a letter to someone in the future about what life is like today.

Maine Public: How to Make a Mini-Zine About Life During the Pandemic

New York Times: 12 Ideas for Writing Through the Pandemic

UC Berkeley History-Social Science Project: Student Journal Assignments