Teacher Lesson Plans Outline 

History Social Science Content Standards

Third Grade

California History - Social Science Standard : 3.4 Students understand the role of rules in our daily lives, and the basic structure of the United States government, in terms of:

  1. Why we have rules, laws, and the U.S. Constitution, the role of citizenship in promoting rules and laws; the consequences for violating rules and laws
  2. The importance of public virtue and the role of citizens, including how to participate in a classroom, community and in civic life
  3. The stories behind important local and national landmarks, symbols and essential documents that create a sense of community among citizens and exemplify cherished ideals (e.g., the U.S. flag, the bald eagle, the Statue of Liberty, the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Capitol)
  4. The three branches of government (with emphasis on local government)
  5. How California, the other states, and sovereign tribes combine to make the nation and participate in the federal system
  6. The lives of American heros who took risks to secure freedoms (e.g., biographies of Anne Hutchinson, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Fifth Grade

California History - Social Science Standard : 5.7 Students relate the narrative of the people and events associated with the development of the U.S. Constitution and analyze its significance as the foundation of the American republic, in terms of:


  1. the shortcomings set forth by the Articles of Confederation's critics
  2. the significance of the new Constitution of 1787, including the struggles over its ratification and the reasons for the addition of the Bill of Rights
  3. the fundamental principles of American constitutional democracy including how the government derives its power from the people and the primacy of individual liberty
  4. how the Constitution is designed to secure our liberty by both empowering and limiting central government; the powers granted to the citizens, Congress, the President, the Supreme Court, those reserved to the states
  5. the meaning of the American creed that calls on citizens to safeguard the liberty of individual Americans within a unified nation, to respect the rule of law, and to preserve the Constitution
  6. the songs that express American ideals (e.g., America the Beautiful, The Star Spangled Banner)

Eight Grade

8.1 Students understand the major events preceding the founding of the nation and relate their significance to the development of American constitutional democracy.

  1. Describe the relationship between the moral and political ideas of the Great Awakening and the development of revolutionary fervor.
  2. Analyze the philosophy of government expressed in the Declaration of Independence, with an emphasis on government as a means of securing individual rights (e.g., key phrases such as "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights").
  3. Analyze how the American Revolution affected other nations, especially France.
  4. Describe the nations blend of civic republicanism, classical liberal principles, and English parliamentary traditions.


Assessment: Each student will create a research paper about a symbol of freedom. The student will make a poster, video, or story board to explain why he/she feels that symbol of freedom is important to American citizens. They will use the materials in this unit to support their position. There will also be other student assessment opportunities in this unit for the teacher.

  1. Creating a personal bill of rights
  2. Writing a found poem
  3. Designing a school / classroom flag
  4. Role playing of events
  5. Creating a school / classroom pledge
  6. Mock trial
  7. Writing an "I Am" poem
  8. Writing a play about a historical event of this period
  9. Doing research on the topic
  10. Writing letters asking for information


Documents and Symbols and American Freedom


I. Introduction / Teacher's Lesson Plans

A. Historical Narrative of this period
B. Lesson Plans and appropriate Blackline Masters

II. Documents of Our Freedom

A. Mayflower Compact
B. Declaration of Independence

  • Role playing of the writing and signing

C. Constitution


    1. Do research on the writers of the Constitution
    2. Have students write an "I Am" poem about being a citizen of the United States

D. Three Branches of Government

  1. Write letters to Washington D.C. asking for information about the three branches of government

E. The Bill of Rights


  1. Hold a mock trial about one of the rights in the Bill
  2. Make a story board with captions of the Bill of Rights

III. Important People in Our Fight for Freedom

A. Benjamin Franklin


B. Thomas Jefferson


C. George Washington


D. John Adams


E. Abigail Adams


F. James Madison


G. Dolley Madison


H. Mary Pickersgill


I. Francis Scott Key


J. Betsy Ross


    1. Students research one of the above people
    2. Students role play one of the characters
    3. Video tape the above role play

IV. Symbols of Our Freedom

A. The Flag


    • Students design a school / classroom flag

B. The Bald Eagle


  • Research and find your state bird, animal, and flower
  • Draw and write captions for the above

C. The Pledge of Allegiance

  1. a. Create a school or classroom pledge
  2. b. Compare National Pledge of Guyana with our Pledge of Allegiance

D. Star Spangled Banner


    1. Create a "Found Poem" from the text of the Star Spangled Banner
    2. Draw an illustration to go with the text of the Star Spangled Banner
    3. Listen to national anthems from other countries and compare/contrast them
    4. Listen to or read text of New Zealand's national anthem
    5. Listen to or read text of Pakistan's national anthem

E. Independence Hall

  1. Create a class play about the writing and signing of the Declaration of Independence
  2. Video tape the above play

F. The Liberty Bell


  • Research where, why, when the Bell was made

G. "Uncle Sam"

  1. Find cartoons about this symbol
  2. Create a new cartoon character symbol

H. Songs

  1. "Yankee Doodle Dandy"
  2. "America the Beautiful"
  3. "America"
    • Research where, when, why the songs were written
    • Learn the words and tunes of the above
    • Use one of the above tunes and write a modern day song about something that is happening in our country today

I. Holidays

  1. Thanksgiving
  2. 4th of July (Independence Day)
  3. Memorial Day
  4. Do research on each of the above holidays
  5. Create a play about one of them
  6. Perform the play for other classes in your school

K. Modern Symbols

a. Statue of Liberty

    • Make a story board of the creation of the statue and its arrival in New York
    • Write a paper explaining why the statue is such a powerful symbol of freedom

b. Washington D.C.

  • Do Research to find out when and why it was chosen to be our capitol

c. White House

  • Do research to find when it was built and who was the fist president to live in the White House

d. Memorials

  • Do Research to find where, when, and why these monuments were built
  • Compare / contrast two of the memorials
    1. Washington Monument
    2. Lincoln Memorial
    3. Jefferson Monument
    4. Other modern memorials

V. Glossary

A. Definition of terms used in this unit

VI. Resource / Credits Page

Student Worksheets

Click on a link to take you the different student worksheets