Activity Theory

  • What groups (formal or informal) do you belong to?
  • We'll use one of these groups as a sample
    • What texts does this group read, write, or use in order to achieve goals of the group?
  • Choose one text the group reads or writes.
    • List the people who have a hand in or an influence on how the text is written or used

Thanks to Elizabeth Wardle and Doug Downs, Writing about Writing (274).

So, what is activity theory?

Use Activity Theory to Break Down Your Primary Source Doc!

  • Use your worksheet to help follow along with the discussion.
  • I'll need a volunteer to discuss their primary source document, and chart it on the worksheet

Daily Writing

Apply Activity System Theory to your primary source document
Respond to the following prompts in today's journal prompt in Black Board:

  • What tools did the author of your primary source doc have at their disposal when the document was published?
  • Which one of these tools did your author ultimately use to get his or her ideas into the world?
  • What was the author's (of your primary source document) motive in writing?
  • What discourse community did the author of your primary source doc belong to? Did the text go out into that same discourse community, or into multiple discourse communities? What happened as a result?


  • Complete the Activity System Worksheet, if you didn't have time in class.
  • Do any additional research, if needed, to thoroughly answer the questions posed on the worksheet.
  • Conduct additional research. Do you need to find a different primary source document, based on your analysis today?
  • Decide how you will connect your historical topic to a modern day current event or issue.
  • Locate a minimum of two sources in either Academic Search Complete or Points of View Reference Center that discuss differing opinions of this modern day issue.
  • Add these sources to your Research Log. This means, you should have a minimum of 12 sources on your Research Log by Wednesday. Bring your most up to date Research Log with you to class on Wednesday as a printed document.