The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the nation's record keeper. Of all documents and materials created in the course of business conducted by the United States Federal government, only 1%-3% are so important for legal or historical reasons that they are kept by us forever. The National Archives is the U.S. Government’s collection of documents that records important events in American history. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the Government agency that preserves and maintains these materials and makes them available for research.
The U.S. National Archives Experience Digital Vaults (pictured above) offers students a good introduction to discovering and working with primary source materials. Rather than turning kids loose on millions of records in the National Archives, Digital Vaults focuses on a curated collection of 1,200 items. Within the site, there are activities designed to help students discover important connections between primary sources. One section, Pathways Challenges, provides quizzes that ask kids to analyze a specific resource and then find the related document within the collection. Teachers and students can create their own quizzes or take advantage of the premade challenges. Students who create free Digital Vaults accounts can collect primary source documents and images and use them to create digital posters and videos within the available templates
These three documents, known collectively as the Charters of Freedom, have secured the rights of the American people for more than two and a quarter centuries and are considered instrumental to the founding and philosophy of the United States.