Notes for the Teacher

Grade Level: 5th

H/SS Content Standards:

Historical and Social Science Analysis Skills Grades K-5

Research, Evidence and Point of View

2.students pose relevant questions about events encountered in historical documents, eyewitness accounts, oral histories, letters, diaries, artifacts, photos, maps, art and architecture


Historical Interpretation


3.students identify and interpret the multiple causes and effects of historical events


Lesson Length: The lesson will require five hours or more of class time, depending in large part on the availability of computer resources. Allow for more time as well if you decide to conduct this activity in combination with another class (see "Possible Extension").

Lesson Purpose: Students will utilize internet navigation skills to access and analyze online data. They will work cooperatively in small groups and as a class to decide which battle most significantly determined the outcome of the Revolutionary War. Each student will write a summary of the process and a letter to the President of the United States recommending the chosen battle site as a location for the museum described in the introduction.

Information Literacy Skills:

Question or Scenario: If possible, start setting the scene for this activity several days in advance. Perhaps you can kindle students' enthusiasm by telling them that you received a call from the White House that was followed by a letter from the President asking for their assistance. Posting in your classroom a blank bulletin board with a heading like "BRAG's Findings" might also arouse their interest in the project. When the day to begin the activity arrives, announce that they have been chosen by the United States government to form the Battlefield Research Analysis Group. Reading a fictitious letter from the president works well. Explain that their job is to recommend a particular battle as most important in determining the outcome of America's War for Independence. The President of the United States will award $1,000,000 for a museum to be built at the winning site -- a museum that will serve to educate the general public on the historic battles of the Revolutionary war.

Adaptations for special needs students: Traditional sheltered English methodologies within a cooperative group setting work very effectively for this activity. Also, for groups containing special needs students, you can assign battlefields that don't have large amounts of internet resources to explore (The battle site Trenton, for example). If you choose to do this activity with another class (see "Possible Extension"), you and the other teacher might consider matching for e-mail exchanges students who share the same primary language.