The Basics of Using Case Maker

What is the Case Maker?

The Case Maker is for inquiry-based learning with Library of Congress primary source documents, and is geared toward 6th through 8th grade civics classrooms (you can get the full details here).

But what do you do with Case Maker?

  • Teachers come here to review and select Challenges, then assign one of those Challenges to students to make a Case based on one of twenty civics topics.
  • Students then get to make their own Case by exploring the Challenge, reviewing Primary Sources, and detailing Evidence from the Primary Sources.
  • When they’re done, their work can be directly presented from this website, similar to a PowerPoint presentation, or used as reference material for any sort of offline assignment, like a paper or debate.

Let’s look at the main components you’ll encounter.

ChallengeA Challenge

Each Challenge is a story-based scenario related to specific real civics issues, like becoming a citizen or freedom of speech.

A Challenge asks you to think about an issue from the perspective of someone dealing with it in their real life. Consider their situation, the people that their choices affect, and what they believe to be right and wrong, as well as what the law says.

Teachers can select from twenty pre-made Challenges, or customize these Challenges to best suit their class.

Primary SourcesPrimary Sources

Each Challenge is associated with a number of Primary Sources from the Library of Congress. These Primary Sources give insight into the issue by providing direct or firsthand evidence on the topic.

Primary Sources can be photographs, newspaper clippings, important documents, political cartoons, video interviews, etc.

Teachers assign a Challenge, and its related Primary Sources, to their students.

CaseA Case

After a student has read their assigned Challenge and reviewed the associated Primary Sources, they are ready to make their Case.

A Case is a collection of organized thoughts made by the student, consisting of a tile and description, as well as one or more folders containing the student’s Evidence.



Students flesh out their Case by adding Evidence into folders.

Each piece of Evidence is made by reviewing a Primary Source, cropping some large or small portion of it, and writing notes around that source element to further the argument being made in the Case.

Students can use Case Maker’s ready-made presentation mode to show off their Case and Evidence directly or use their Case as a reference for any sort of project.


To summarize:

The Case Maker Process

When you’re ready to start, head over to ALL CHALLENGES.