The Basics of Using Case Maker

What is Case Maker?

Case Maker is a collection of 20 engaging civics challenges ready to use to help develop middle school civics skills through inquiry-based learning with Library of Congress primary source documents. Case Maker challenges are geared toward 6th through 8th grade social studies classrooms (you can get the full details here).

But what can you do with Case Maker?

  • Teachers can review, select, and customize Challenges, then assign a Challenge to students on one of twenty civics topics.
  • Students make a Case by exploring the Challenge, reviewing the primary sources, and identifying evidence from the primary sources.
  • Students’ work can be presented directly from the Case Maker presentation tool 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.



Each challenge is a story-driven mystery or question that engages students with a scenario blending historical fact and current events to encourage students to ask tough questions about meaning, author perspective, facts and omissions, and unanswered questions. When facing a challenge, students consider the situation, the people affected, what they believe to be right and wrong, as well as what the law says.



After a student has read their assigned Challenge and reviewed the primary sources, they are ready to build a case. 



Students build a case by adding evidence into folders.

Each piece of evidence is made by reviewing and annotating a primary source; cropping some large or small portion of it, and writing notes to support their case. Students can use Case Maker’s ready-made presentation mode to present their case or use it as a reference for further inquiry.


To summarize:

Teacher: Selects or customizes a Challenge and its primary sources, then provides the Challenge code to their students. 

Student: Tackles the challenge to build a case, finding evidence in the primary sources.


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