This could become a 6 - 9 week unit study
A complete study home school unit study of the American Revolution including. This unit study was built on a bunch of wonderful resources tweeked to fit the needs of my family. We live on the West Coast and don't have the privileged of going to American Revolution museums so I added as much virtual field trips as I could.
I am an art teacher so of course I pulled as much art and hands on resources as possible.
As we worked our way through the study I discovered several of my children didn't enjoy history as much as I...so, I created the week long version to make sure they have comprehension of all the important points without overwhelming weeks and weeks of information.
Here are some wonderful resources I used to make my unit study. Thank you to those other teachers willing to share their lesson plans!
Fliers and Ads to Join the Revolution
Writing of the Founders
For the next 9 weeks we are going to Explore the American Revolution. Jan - Feb 2014
We are going to cook colonial food, dance a minuet, learn a bit about portraiture, and write with quill pens. We’ll read the Stamp Act, and Declaration of Independence. We’ll memorize the preamble to the Constitution and Phillis Wheatly poetry. We’ll learn about the roles of slaves, free blacks, Native Americans, Jews, and women in the revolution. We’ll play a lot of charades. Do a lot of painting, drawing and hands on activities.
Throughout the course, I will focus on cultivating the following habits of mind:
YOUR HOMEWORK for WEEK 1
Week 1: Welcome to COLONIAL America
Day 1: Introduction of some of the Key Players in the American Revolution
slideshow of individuals
Day 2: Review what it was like to be a colonist.
Read a bit about Life in American Revolution using History of US/SOTW
Introduce Vocabulary for Unit
Jan Week 2: Boston Massacre
What's a Tax?
I handed out nickles to everyone (5 each) and starting creating taxes.
I also explained that if you ran out of money and could not pay your tax, you would be sent to debtor’s prison and could only get out if someone else chose to pay your debt (and the daily 1 pence fee for keeping you in prison). The laws were:
We discussed some of the rules that were create by King George III that were unfair to the colonist: (this paragraph is taken from History of the United States Third Edition page 153)
Some laws had been passed years before, but the colonist had never really had to obey them. Now, the English government tried to force the colonist to follow them. Most colonist were hard working. They grew crops such as tobacco, cotton, sugar and indigo with the hopes of selling their products to other countries. But England said, "no you may not sell your products to any other country, except England." The colonist were forced to accept the low prices that England offered them, because they could not sell their products anywhere else.
Some colonist made cloth and began using it to make beautiful clothes. England tld the colonist that they could make only enough clothes for their own families. Clothes made in one colony could not be sold to in any other colony. Wealthy colonist had to order their clothing from England...they would be sold for high prices."
Colonist had no voice as to the price of their products
They had no voice about the taxes they had to pay.
Everything was feeling very unfair.
Boston Massacre reading comprehension - is also a good read aloud
Reader's Theater and comprehension questions (pages 13 - 19)
Primary Source Reading: Resolutions of the Stamp Act Congress
Jan Week 3:
Boston Tea Party & 1st Continental Congress
“No More Kings” George Washington, Patrick Henry, Paul Revere
Activity 1: Boston Tea Party
History.com video - I dislike that we have commercials on this site but I can't find another video.
Read these two articles about the Colonist and their reaction to the taxes.
Boston Tea Party from Military History
Eyewitness to History has primary source narration from George Hewes and his part on the Ship dumping Tea.
Activity 2: “No More Kings”
Every child will fold their paper in half lengthwise. On the left, they’ll write “Accurate,” and on the right “Inaccurate.” I’ll ask them to watch “No More Kings” from Schoolhouse Rock, looking for accurate and inaccurate depictions in the video. After watching it once, I’ll give them a few minutes to fill in their papers. Then we’ll watch it again, looking for inaccuracies and accuracies. Next, I’ll have them get with a partner to make a joint list. Finally, we’ll make a giant list on newsprint, with one point for each answer they come up with. If they get more than 10 points, I’ll let them have a two-minute dance party.
Day 2: Patrick Henry
Review our Skit: decide if we want to act it out and create a youtube video
Listen to Patrick Henry's Speech (I paused every couple sentences and translated)
Read Aloud Longfellows: Paul Revere's Ride
Activity 1: Character Clues - work on Bios from Key Characters
Activity 2: Read Longfellow’s Midnight Ride of Paul Revere. Choose and Memorize any stanza from poem.
Day 3: Minute Men and Continental Congress September 1774
Activity 1: Continental Congress reading comprehension and worksheet
Activity 2: Paul Revere’s Ride
Students will recite the stanzas they memorized, and we’ll discuss what we like about the poem and what was misleading. Each student will then make an interactive 3-D map. You can find the lesson plan (which is excellent) and all of the materials to print in the book Interactive 3-D Maps: American Revolution. The map allows you to teach about Paul Revere’s life, as well as the ride.
Activity 3: “The Shot Heard Round the World”
We’ll watch “Shot Heard ‘Round The World.” After watching it we’ll discuss why people call the battles at Lexinton and Concord the shot heard ’round the world. I’ll read them the beginning of the Emerson poem “Concord Hymn,” which is the origin of the phrase. We’ll talk about why no one could have used that phrase until decades later.
fill out worksheet for Shot Heard Around the World from teacherspayteachers we will save the second page (NO MORE KINGS) for later lessons
HOMEWORK: Week 4
Jan Week 4:
Historical Fiction Novel / George Washington
Day 1 Begin reading Johnny Tremain (can also be purchased on audible.com)
About the Author. Summary of the Story.
Homework Read Johnny Tremaine
Day 2: Johnny Tremaine lapbook
Day 3 - George Washington
** George Washington as a Christian leader
Activity 1: George Washington Portrait -interactive
BRAINPOP- George Washington
or History.com 2 minute video on George Washington
younger kids might enjoy this animated book instead
Read Aloud sections of several of our George Washington books
Do note booking page for George Washington
Art - PORTRAITS
We are going to do 2 portraits for this unit. The first is a simple silhouette. Because my students are siblings we are going to make them stacked together so they will hang as 1 framed portrait.
Virtual Field Trip: Mount Vernon
Homework Week 5
Jan Week 5
BATTLES of LEXINGTON/CONCORD
Bunker Hill Breed's Hill Battles
Ben Franklin (watch Ben and Me or watch Amazing Life of Ben Franklin)
American Revolution Magic Treehouse Research - Chapter 5 to introduce battles
Activity 1: Battles
Look at the interactive Map and label our own.
Activity 2: British Victory at Bunker Hill We’ll watch a short clip of the Battle of Bunker Hill from the History Channel. Students will break up into two groups to come up with arguments to support one of two positions, either that the colonists or the British won the battle.
Review the events
Finish Creating Timeline
Activity 3: Timeline Game I will fill two trash cans with 20 inflated balloons in each. 10 of the balloons will have events written on slips of paper and taped to the balloons. Students will form two teams. When I say go, the first person from each team will run to the trash can, pull out a balloon and bring it back to their team. When they tag the next person, that person will go to the can and pull out a balloon. This continues until they find all ten balloons with slips of paper. While the team is getting balloons, members who are not running can pull off the slips of paper, and arrange the events in order. They will tape the events on a poster board, and write the year of the event next to it. The first team to correctly complete their timeline wins. Events: The End of French and Indian War, Sugar Act, Stamp Act, Stamp Act Congress, Quartering Act, Boston Massacre, Tea Act, Tea Party, Intolerable Acts, Battle at Lexington and Concord, General Washington takes over command of the Continental Army, 1st Continental Congress, Phillis Wheatley writes “To His Excellency George Washington,” Battles of Bunker Hill and Breeds Hill.
Day 3 Benjamin Franklin
read What’s the Big Idea Ben Franklin?)
Watch Ben Franklin
Work on Franklin Lapbook
Look at the Join or Die cartoon from Ben Franklin and discuss
Watch Episodes 20 -26
Feb Week 1:
Week 1 FINISH Johnny Tremaine / TEA PARTY
HISTORY CHANNEL - American Revolution -
Activity 3: Tea Party (1.5 hours)
During the tea, we will teach the kids how to dance a minuet and a jig.
Watch Episodes 26-32
Read: Declaration of Independence. Memorize: Introduction to Declaration
Feb Week 2: Declaration of Independence
Introduce with several videos
Declaration of Independence read aloud by actors
Activity 1: Understanding Common Sense
1.Discuss with students the impact that Enlightenment ideas had on the colonists.
Explain that the main ideas of John Locke, such as the belief that all human beings are created equal with certain unalienable rights, were influential to such colonial patriots as Patrick Henry, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin.
Tell students that they will examine excerpts from the speeches and/or writings of Thomas Paine and Patrick Henry that illustrate these enlightenment ideas and that argue for self-government and independence from Britain.
3. Click here for the worksheet.
Activity 1: Portrait called Declaration of Independence
Activity 2: Virtual Field Trip
or the Liberty Bell
Watch Schoolhouse Rock “Fireworks.” We’ll watch it a couple of times and have the kids sing along and recite the introduction to the Declaration.
Activity 3: CRAFT
Give students white t-shirts and fabric markers. Have them design a t-shirt to take home. It should have one of the slogans we have learned in the class, or a phrase from the Declaration. (Examples: Give me liberty or give me death. Taxation without representation is tyranny. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Join or Die.) The shirts should also have a symbol/picture that illustrates or amplifies the phrase.
Watch Saratoga Battle Drive Thru History (2 parts) Sara toga Battle Reenactment
Read Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson; Rewrite 10 more of Washington’s Rules in your own words.
HISTORY CHANNEL - The Importance of Saratoga
Feb Week 3 : Crossing the Delaware
Activity 1: 3-D Map
Each student will make an interactive 3-D map. You can find the lesson plan (which is excellent) and all of the materials to print in the book Interactive 3-D Maps: American Revolution. The map allows you to teach about Washington crossing the Delaware. The front cover of the book states the projects are “maps that students make and manipulate to learn key facts and concepts – in a kinesthetic way!” My kids love them.
Activity 2: The Painting
We’ll look at the famous painting, seen at the right, and analyze what was accurate and inaccurate. This website does a great job discussing the painting. We’ll also look closely at who was in the boat with Washington. (See page for a description of who was in the boat.)
Activity 3: Writing Skits
Students will get in groups of three or four, each one taking on a character from the boat. They will write a quick character description with a bit of history (where are they from, how did they end up in the boat, etc). Then they will come up with a skit, showing the three or four characters in one fictional scene that took place sometime before the night crossing of the river.
Activity 1: Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior
Choose 5 that you believe are important and then rewrite them in your own words. The rules can be found here.
Activity 2: Yankee Doodle Dandee
Learn song’s original meaning and write new lyrics based on two event we have studied. For background knowledge and lyrics, read pages 4-8 of this lesson plan, from the Education Department of the Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens.
Activity 3: Battles of the Revolution Board Game
Ask, “What tasks did the Patriots have to complete to become a free nation? (Be sure to include both military and civilian tasks.)” Make a list as a class. Working together, students will make a Candyland-like board game with tasks to be completed on the way to British Surrender at Yorktown. Break them into pairs. One pair will have to draw a game board, with blank squares and designated squares for tasks. They should also draw a picture of Yorktown at the end. One group will have to make four figures to compete to be the first to Yorktown. One pair should make playing cards without task pictures on them. (They can do colors, like Candyland, or numbers.) The remaining pairs will them draw task pictures on the board game and the playing cards. (You’ll need to have cardboard, markers, cut up index cards, and materials for the figures available for the students to work with.)
With remaining time, students can play the game they designed.
Watch Episode 4 of John Adams
Complete watching in Episodes of Liberty Kids you missed watching
TREATY OF PARIS
Watch the student produced video on the Treaty of Paris. Many important facts are presented.
Activity 1: Quill Pen
We’ll complete Activity 4, from the Independence Hall National Historical Park Junior Ranger Packet. We’ll need these materials: drinking straw, scissors, Kool-Aid®, small cup, tape, construction paper, and a teaspoon. Students will cut the straw at an angle so that it comes to a point. Then, cut the construction paper like a feather and tape the paper to the straw. Next, our Kool-Aid® mix into a small cup and add no more than a teaspoon of water. Stir until combined. Finally, they will write with their new pens on paper, allowing the ink to dry before you move your document. New Jersey Colonial Money
. Read: Preamble to Constitution
Read Constitution Books
A virtual Trip to the National Archive to see the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and The Bill of Rights.
Day 3: Birth of a Nation
Activity 1: HISTORY QUESTION OF THE WEEK: John Hancock (1737-93) is best remembered now for his flamboyant signature on the Declaration of Independence in 1776, but he was also the president of the Continental Congress. What helped him earn this position: his actions, funds, inspiration, or inventions? [Answer: His most distinctive contribution to the rebel cause was the money (funds). Hancock was a merchant who had inherited a fortune from a smuggler uncle. He used his wealth to help finance the revolution. After the war, Hancock became governor of Massachusetts.]
Objective: What happened during the American War for Independence?
What do you know about the American War for Independence/American Revolution? List 5+ people, places, ideas, events, etc. that you think are related to this period. Make educated guesses even if you're not sure. Review exam.
Create Time Line identifying and defining major events between 1763-1783 using the time lines and definitions in the book. Add pictures to 5 of the events.
Activity 2: “Three Ring Government” & “Preamble”
Watch Schoolhouse Rock “Three Ring Government” and “Preamble.” We’ll watch the Preamble a couple of times and have the kids sing along and recite the introduction to the Declaration.
Activity 3: Electing the 1st President
The election of the first President was by appointed electors, not by a general election. All states that had approved the Constitution by the first Wednesday in January 1789 would appoint electors on that day. Those electors would assemble on the first Wednesday in February 1789 and vote for a President, and the business of running the government under the new constitution would begin a month later. Using a copy of the Senate journal, from April 6, 1789, students will work in pairs to make a bar graph of the electoral votes for the 1st president. We’ll discuss which states had the largest and smallest populations, and what might have changed the election’s outcome.
Digging Deeper / Taken it Farther:
Reference Books the kids enjoyed
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