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Lesson Materials for Teaching About
the American Revolution


Elementary School:

American Revolution: Causes
http://school.discovery.com/lessonplans/programs/revwar1/index.html
After gaining an overall understanding of the events of the Boston Tea Party, read, interpret and perform the 18th century poem "Revolutionary Tea." This piece was used to whip up anti-British sentiment during the early months of the Revolution and may be used to study the uses of propaganda as well as to gain a view of colonial American thinking at the time. Standards 5.5.1 and 5.5.3 .

Can't You Make Them Behave, King George?
http://www.mcps.k12.md.us/curriculum/socialstd/grade5/Cant_Behave.html
Using Jean Fritz's book "Why Can't You Make Them Behave, King George," students use geographic and economic concepts to explore the causes of the American Revolution. Standard 5.5.1

Chester Town Tea Party
http://www.mcps.k12.md.us/curriculum/socialstd/grade4/Chester_Tea.html
The Chester Town Tea Party is about the Wetherby family who lived in Chester Town, Maryland, in 1774. People at the time had voted not to buy, use or sell teas in order to show their support for the colonists in Boston. Amanda, the nine-year-old daughter, decides to dress as a boy so she can join her brother and other men and boys of the town to attend a "tea party just for men". Amanda learns about the economic concept of scarcity through her actions. Standard 5.5.1

Colonial Reaction to the Stamp Act
http://www.history.org/history/teaching/tchcrone.cfm
In 1765, the British Parliament enacted the Stamp Act as a means of raising colonial tax revenues to help pay the cost of the French and Indian War in North America. The Colonists reacted against the act as an attempt to raise money in the colonies without the approval of colonial legislatures. Resistance to the act was demonstrated through debates, written documents, and mob/crowd actions. In this lesson, students will analyze several eighteenth-century documents to determine the colonial opinion of Great Britain's attempts to tax the colonists in the 1760s. Standard 5.5.1

Declare the Causes: The Declaration of Independence
http://edsitement.neh.gov/view_lesson_plan.asp?ID=282
Complaints! Complaints! People have always complained. Even the Founding Fathers of our country indulged in gripe sessions. In fact, a list of grievances comprises the longest section of the Declaration of Independence; however, the source of the document's power is its firm philosophic foundation. Help your students see the development of the Declaration as both an historical process and a writing process through role-play, creative writing, an introduction to some important documents and a review of historic events. Standard 5.5.3

Early American Leaders
http://school.discovery.com/lessonplans/programs/leadersofearlyamerica/index.html
What makes a great leader? Create a list of leadership qualities, traits, or characteristics. Based on research about Revere, Washington, and Jefferson, explain which leader demonstrated which qualities, traits, or characteristics, and when or how. Research is based on nonfiction literature and websites. Standard 5.5.4

Famous Virginians at the Colonial Fair
http://www.fcps.k12.va.us/LondonTowneES/Webquests/FamousVAs/va.html
Choose a famous Virginian from the early revolutionary period. Working in pairs, one of you will play the part of the famous Virginian and the other will play the part of a TV reporter. You will use the resources listed here to find information about the famous Virginian and write a list of questions and answers to be used in an interview to be conducted during the Colonial Fair. Others will have the task of introducing a famous Virginian to the people attending the Colonial Fair. You will work in pairs and use the resources listed here to find information about the famous Virginian you choose and create a brochure with information about the person and a poster announcing the event. Standards 5.5.4 and 8.2.4, and 8.4.2

John Adams and the Boston Massacre A Triumphant Lawyer, A Tragic Episode
http://nationalhistoryday.org/02_contest/02.html
During the conflicts between the British and Americans that led up to the American Revolution, many tragic events occurred, one being the Boston Massacre. The search for truth during the trial of the British soldiers accused of murdering five citizens of Boston in 1770 is an important part of the story. The soldiers' hope for a fair trial and defense rested in the hands of John Adams, a prominent patriot leader. Taking the case, Adams eventually was able to prove that the soldiers fired in self-defense. His efforts resulted in the acquittal of all but two of the soldiers, who received a branding on their thumbs in punishment. Although a triumph for justice, the verdict and trial proved to be costly for Adams. His loyalty to the patriots was questioned and his family harassed. (From the page at this URL, select 2003-2004 Curriculum Book, select that phrase again on the next page, and Triumph and Tragedy in History on the next page.) Standard 5.5.4

Liberty News
http://pbskids.org/libertyskids/
Download this software to create your own colonial newspaper in Benjamin Franklin's shop by selecting Liberty News from the navigation bar. There are three easy layouts and an opportunity to edit the stories to make them your own. The final product looks like a real newspaper. Standards 1.3.3, 3.4.3, 3.4.6, and 5.5.4

Looking at a National Treasure: George Washington by Gilbert Stuart
http://www.georgewashington.si.edu/kids/activity1.html
Explain the definition of a portrait, and then study a web reproduction of Gilbert Stuart's portrait of George Washington. Identify the visual clues that the artist included in the portrait about the nature of Washington and his presidency. Compare this reproduction portrait to other images of Washington (such as found on the dollar bill) and discuss the importance of portraits as visual records and historical documents. Standards 3.4.6, 5.5.4, and 8.3.0

Not Only Paul Revere: Other Riders of the American Revolution
http://edsitement.neh.gov/view_lesson_plan.asp?id=394
Paul Revere's ride is the most famous event of its kind in American history. But other Americans made similar rides during the American Revolution. Who were these men and women? Why were their rides important? Do they deserve to be better known? Develop a broader understanding of the Revolutionary War as you learn about some less well known but no less colorful rides that occurred in other locations. Immortalize these "other riders" in verse as Longfellow did for Paul Revere. Standards 5.5.4 and 5.6.1


Rebelling for Freedom
http://oncampus.richmond.edu/academics/education/projects/webquests/amrevwar/
The year is 1773. You are all citizens of Boston, Massachusetts. Tensions are running high as colonists are notified that England has decided to implement yet another tax on them. This latest tax is the final straw! Many colonists are considering staging a rebellion. Your task is to help the colonists decide the best method of peaceful rebellion to make the British understand that enough is enough! Standards 5.5.1 and 5.5.4

Social Rank in Colonial Society
http://www.eduref.org/Virtual/Lessons/crossroads/sec4/Unit_3/Unit_IIIQ3.html
Using primary sources such as "Advice from Benjamin Franklin," determine the social ranking of various colonial occupations and what these rankings would mean for education, wealth, religion and level of respect within society. Standards 5.4.0 and 5.5.4 and 8.1.2

The Proper Gentleman: George Washington and "The Rules of Civility"
http://www.georgewashington.si.edu/kids/activity5.html
Read and interpret a portion of the “Rules of Civility” and then describe the significance of these rules in Washington’s time. Discuss how they might be significant in today’s world and write rules of etiquette similar to the “Rules of Civility” that might be appropriate for today. Standard 5.5.4

Why Do We Remember Revere? Paul Revere's Ride in History and Literature
http://edsitement.neh.gov/view_lesson_plan.asp?id=393
Most students, at one point or another in their schooling, are exposed to Longfellow's ballad, "Paul Revere's Ride." How accurate is it? Is it responsible for Revere's ride achieving such fame? Students think about the answers to these and other questions as they read primary and secondhand accounts of events during the American Revolution in this lesson by the National Endowment for Humanities. Standards 5.5.4 and 5.6.1

Battle of the Battlefields
http://rims.k12.ca.us/activity/battle/
The government has a million dollar grant to construct a new museum at the most important battlefield site of the Revolutionary War. You have been selected as a member of the Battlefield Research Analysis Group (BRAG) to select the battlefield to get the award. Competition is heavy and you must decide very carefully. Standard 5.6.1

Women in the American Revolution
http://rims.k12.ca.us/score_lessons/women_american_revolution/
Everyone's heard of Paul Revere, George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and Peyton Randolph, but who knows about Molly Pitcher, Penelope Barker, Esther Reed, or Patience Wright? Well, if you haven't, you've come to the right place. Not all of them picked up muskets. Some chose to fight with an arrow or a cannon. Others chose a pen, a needle, a pitchfork, sculpting tools, or an apron. Some of these women fought up close. One contributed from thousands of miles away. But, if it weren't for these women, we might be singing "My Country Tis of Thee" with its original lyrics. Enter this Virtual Museum at your own risk - you might learn something. Standards 3.4.6 and 5.6.3.

A Family Disrupted - The Randolphs and the Coming of the American Revolution
http://www.history.org/history/teaching/tchcrthr.cfm
In the early 1760s, most colonists could not imagine separating from Great Britain. As English policies and taxes became increasingly burdensome, however, many colonists began to believe that independence from Great Britain was better than remaining a colony. The personal choice of whether to join the cause of the patriots or remain loyal to England was difficult. In some cases, the choices people made divided families. In this lesson, students will examine biographical information on several members of the Randolph family to determine the choices that each member made regarding the coming American Revolution. Standard 5.6.4

African American Soldiers and the Revolutionary War: Sons of Liberty?
http://nationalhistoryday.org/03_educators/2001-2002curbook/new_page_14.htm
In all, an estimated 100,000 African Americans, about 20% of the African American population became free during the American Revolution. The majority of African Americans, however, remained enslaved. The American Revolution, then, presented an enormous opportunity for African Americans, but their actual experiences during the war were quite mixed. In this activity you will analyze a primary source to discover both the facts and their underlying meaning for African Americans during the Revolution. Standards 5.6.7 and 8.1.2

Amazing Americans: American Revolution WebQuest
http://www.milforded.org/schools/calfpen/jcox/wq/revwar.html
You are going back to the time of the birth of America when the colonists were beginning to feel like Americans. Some colonists no longer felt that they were British citizens since they were forming a new home far from England. They began to build a unique culture and form new ideas of how they wanted to govern themselves. Who were some of the people who helped create this identity? You and your partner will become experts on one person. You will convince the rest of the group that your character was THE AMERICAN OF THE YEAR because he or she contributed the most to America's identity. Standards 5.5.4, 5.6.1, 5.6.2, and 5.6.3

American Revolutionary War
http://people2.clarityconnect.com/Webpages4/kcarsons/oconunit/index.htm
Explore the American Revolutionary War using Internet resources and engaging activities. From the French and Indian War through the Articles of Confederation, read biographies of characters such as Betsy Ross and Ben Franklin, and engage in simulations and strategy games. Standards 5.6.1 and 5.6.2

Revolutionary Money
http://smithsonianeducation.org/db/detail.asp?id=938
Download this article and lesson from the Smithsonian Institute Fall 2003 online magazine and use a color printer to make copies of paper money used by the thirteen colonies before, during and after the American Revolution. Use these as primary sources to learn about the life and economy of America in the 18th century. Standards 5.4.5 and 5.6.

Images of the American Revolution
http://www.archives.gov/digital_classroom/lessons/american_revolution_images/revolution_images.html
Analyze eight pictures and other primary sources to find out about the American Revolution. Research and write a monologue from the perspective of one of the individuals who played a significant role during the Revolutionary period. In their speeches, they should describe significant events of the period including the Stamp Act, the Declaration of Independence, Valley Forge, and the Articles of Confederation. Note: The text in the lesson will be effective with older students but for 5th grade or English Learners, teachers need to provide the background information in a more accessible manner so that the pictures can be effectively used as a primary source. Standards 5.5.1, 5.5.4 and 8.1.2

Johnny Tremain
http://www.sdcoe.k12.ca.us/score/Tremain/tremaintg.html
In this SCORE Language Arts Literature guide on Ester Forbes' book Johnny Tremain, you will work with partners or small groups and use various Web sites to investigate the people and times of the American Revolutionary War in and around Boston, Massachusetts. Choose one or all of the activities. You may take a virtual tour of Boston's Freedom Trail, and create a map of 1770's Boston. After you read about Paul Revere and visit his Boston home, you will create a pamphlet advertising his work. You will read accounts of Paul Revere's famous ride and learn the real story of that night. After reading Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, write your own stanza for that famous ballad. Read articles on Samuel Adams, John Hancock, John Adams, the Boston Tea Party, the Boston Massacre and the Battle of Lexington then choose one person or event to prepare an oral comparison between Esther Forbes' fictional accounts and the historical facts. After researching the Sons of Liberty, write a persuasive essay in favor or against the activities of these patriot/terrorists. Standard 5.5.1, 5.5.4, and 5.6.1


Middle School:

The Declaration Of Independence and Your Own Rights

http://www.teachervision.com/lesson-plans/lesson-1717.html
Read the American Declaration of Independence and discuss the events that led to its writing. Identify the specific arguments for independence, for example, the king "called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures", the king "dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people." Then read the Declaration of Sentiments and discuss the forces that led Stanton to write it. How is this document similar to the Declaration of Independence? Why did these women feel their rights were being violated? Standards 5.5.3, 8.1.2 and 8.6.6

Will the Real Ben Franklin Please Stand Up?
http://www.thirteen.org/wnetschool/origlessons/ben_franklin/index.html
Research and debate Benjamin Franklin's most significant role and contribution to the history of the United States. Which was most important to American History - Benjamin Franklin's work as a printer, a writer, a statesman or an inventor? After completing their research, students will have to prepare 10-minute oral and visual presentations to support their position. His views on slavery are especially important for this unit of study. Standards 8.1.2 and 8.9.1

Famous Virginians at the Colonial Fair
http://www.fcps.k12.va.us/LondonTowneES/Webquests/FamousVAs/va.html
Choose a famous Virginian from the early revolutionary period. Working in pairs, one of you will play the part of the famous Virginian and the other will play the part of a TV reporter. You will use the resources listed here to find information about the famous Virginian and write a list of questions and answers to be used in an interview to be conducted during the Colonial Fair. Others will have the task of introducing a famous Virginian to the people attending the Colonial Fair. You will work in pairs and use the resources listed here to find information about the famous Virginian you choose and create a brochure with information about the person and a poster announcing the event. Standards 5.5.4 and 8.2.4, and 8.4.2

Images of the American Revolution
http://www.archives.gov/digital_classroom/lessons/american_revolution_images/revolution_images.html
Analyze eight pictures and other primary sources to find out about the American Revolution. Research and write a monologue from the perspective of one of the individuals who played a significant role during the Revolutionary period. In their speeches, they should describe significant events of the period including the Stamp Act, the Declaration of Independence, Valley Forge, and the Articles of Confederation. Note: The text in the lesson will be effective with older students but for 5th grade or English Learners, teachers need to provide the background information in a more accessible manner so that the pictures can be effectively used as a primary source. Standards 5.5.1, 5.5.4 and 8.1.2

African American Soldiers and the Revolutionary War: Sons of Liberty?
http://nationalhistoryday.org/03_educators/2001-2002curbook/new_page_14.htm
In all, an estimated 100,000 African Americans, about 20% of the African American population became free during the American Revolution. The majority of African Americans, however, remained enslaved. The American Revolution, then, presented an enormous opportunity for African Americans, but their actual experiences during the war were quite mixed. In this activity you will analyze a primary source to discover both the facts and their underlying meaning for African Americans during the Revolution. Standards 5.6.7 and 8.1.2

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