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Title: Revolutionary War

Subject: Social Studies
Grade Level(s): Elementary
Author(s): Ashley Albers, Lisa O'Neill
School: Hutchison Elementary
Lesson Time: 10 Days

Topics Covered:
Military History
Radicalism and Reform
Time Periods Covered:
Revolution & the New Nation, 1754-1820s

Part 1

Essential Learning Description

Students will be engaged in an inquiry project in which they will identify and research influential people, important causes and primary documents of the Revolutionary War.

National History Standards (Historical Thinking Standards):
1. Chronological Thinking
2. Historical Comprehension
3. Historical Analysis & Interpretation
4. Historical Research Capabilities
5. Historical Issues

Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs):

Fairfax County Program of Studies (POS):
Grade 4
Grade 6
Grade 7
Grade 11

Learning Strategy Objectives:
1. Tell What You Know (Activate Prior Knowledge)
4. Use Selective Attention
5. Use Resources
6. Summarize
7. Group/Classify
8. Use/Create Graphic Organizers
9. Take notes
10. Cooperate
11. Use Imagery

Part 2


  • Inspiration – Students will create a class Revolutionary War web using Inspiration.
  • Journal – Students will generate a journal depicting three days in the life of their Revolutionary War figure.
  • Wax Museum Presentation Rubric – Students will bring their Revolutionary War figure to life by participating in a Revolutionary War Wax Museum and will be assessed based on their performance.

Instructional Strategies

Day 1:

  • Place the Word Splash on the overhead and ask the students to spend some time thinking about what all the words might have in common or how they could be connected.
  • Students will form small cooperative groups of 4 to 5 and decide what the reading will be about. They will then create a narrative or explanation that will include all of the words from the word splash.
  • Each group will share their narrative. Students will look for common elements as they listen to each group share their information.
  • Students will individually read chapter 6 - The American Revolution (1775 – 1783) in their text book AGS United States History.
  • The teacher will provide students with an overview of the Revolutionary War Unit that includes the use of Inspiration, journal writing and a wax museum.
  • Students will be shown teacher inspiration page that has been previously set up. (See attached)
  • Students will brainstorm causes and people that may be included in the web after further research.

Day 2:

  • Students will peruse Revolutionary War books that have been selected by the ESOL, Special Ed. and classroom teachers.
  • Students will spend 15 minutes perusing their book before trading with another group member.
  • Students must choose one fact from each book that made them go WOW!
  • Students will have an opportunity to look at 5 different books during this class period and the last 15 minutes will be used for the students to share their favorite WOW.

Day 3:

  • Students will be provided with causes of the Revolution as well as a chronology of the American Revolution. (Website:
  • Students will do a jigsaw activity using 5 different articles that pertain to the Revolutionary War using the book From Colonies to Country by Joy Hakim. They will use Article 12: The Firebrands, article 13: A Massacre in Boston, article 14: One If By Land, two if by sea, Article 16: On the way to the Second Continental Congress, article 22: Revolutionary Women and Children.We will first review the jigsaw technique by telling the students that each group will become “experts” on one of the articles that are going to be assigned.
  • Students will be divided into 5 groups and each group will be given a different article.
  • Once the class has had enough time to read their articles and discuss with their group what they feel is the important information in the article they will then be placed into new groups of 5 so that each person in this group is an expert on a different article.
  • Students will explain the Big Idea from the article they read.
  • Students will identify and explain historical photograph or illustration that was most important in the article that they read.
  • Students will use the teacher made resources to identify a specific event that was detailed in their article.

Days 4, 5 and 6:

  • Students will be given 3 class periods in order to gather information from the internet that relates to their Revolutionary War figure. Students will use the sites that have been bookmarked and are listed in the bibliography.
  • Students will view the Explorers of the New World CD-ROM in which character actors bring to life the historic journeys of New World Explorers. This CD-ROM will be used as a basis for their wax museum presentation.

Day 7:

  • The students will work on their journals in which they will write entries detailing three days in the life of their heroic figure.
  • Students will continue research and work on their Inspiration web.

Day 8:

  • Students will participate in a class debate as either a loyalist or a patriot based specifically on jigsaw material.
  • Continue working on Inspiration and journal writing.

Day 9:

  • Student will continue to work on Inspiration and practice their Wax Museum presentations.

Day 10:

  • Wax Museum Presentation. Students will select a loyalist or a patriot to bring to life in this culminating activity. The students will be dressed in costume as their historical figure and share a journal entry based on historical facts from their previous research.

Materials and Resources

  • Word splash overhead
  • United States History textbook
  • Explorer’s Wax Museum video
  • Revolutionary War books
  • Mobile lab
  • Jigsaw articles
  • Explorers of the New World CD-ROM


Hakim, J. From Colonies to Country. Oxford University Press: New York. 1993

Zemen, A. and Kelly K. Everything You Need to Know About American History. Scholastic: New York. 1997

The Library of Congress
A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation. U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates
Declaring Independence: Drafting the Documents
Revolutionary War: Birth of a Nation. Excellent causes of the war chronology.
Introduction to the opening events and causes of the Revolutionary War.
The Thomas Jefferson Papers (1,610 papers written by Thomas Jeffereson)
History Central. Biographies of participants first hand battle accounts.
Excellent Road to Revolution Game Perspectives on Liberty
The History Place: Early Colonial Era to A New Nation is Born
Revolutionary War Links
Virtual Marching Tour of the American Revolution
Amazing Women in War and Peace
The American Revolution: 15 Lessons and Activities
The Revolutionary War: A Journey Towards Freedom
Revolutionary War Voices
American Revolutionary War Soldiers & Their Descendants
The Revolutionary War: The Basics
Revolutionary War Biographies
The American Revolution for Kids
Timeline of the American Revolutionary War
Little Known Facts about the Revolutionary War
Revolutionary War Web Quest: Research Activity
The American Revolution: Links Page
Revolutionary War Timeline
Revolutionary War Site for Kids: Links Page
The American Revolution Home Page: History, Biographies, etc.
Social Studies for Kids: Links Page
George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress
Revolutionary War Scavenger Hunt

The American Revolution Pro-teacher site with 15 lessons from Conflict to The End of the War. Activities and quizzes also.

Picture Books:

Gauch, Patricia Lee. This Time, Tempe Wick? Putnam, 1974. ISBN 0-698-20300-3.
Based on legend, this is the story of a young girl who hid her horse from the Continental army by hiding it in her bedroom for three days.

Turner, Ann. Katie's Trunk. Illustrated by Ron Himler. Macmillan, 1992. ISBN 0-02-789512-2.
There aren't many picture books about the Revolution, but this is an especially good one. Katie's Tory family lives in fear of harassment by the rebels. They have been subjected to taunts and isolation already. When a group of rebels comes to Katie's home, intent on robbing and trashing, Katie hides in a trunk. One rebel neighbor, finding her in the trunk, distracts his rebel friends and leaves her undisturbed and unhurt. The point, of course, is that there was real human kindness on both sides.

Gauch, Patricia Lee. Aaron and the Green Mountain Boys. Illustrated by Margot Tomes. Shoe Tree Press, 1972. ISBN 1-55870-220-2.
After taking over Fort Ticonderoga in 1777, British soldiers marched on Bennington, Vermont, intent on seizing supplies stored there. The Green Mountain boys, stretched to the limit of capacity, were summoned quickly. While they were there, they had to be fed and housed. This is the story of one boy and what he might or might not have done to help the situation.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Paul Revere's Ride. Illustrated by Ted Rand. Dutton, 1990. ISBN 0-525-44610-9.
Longfellow might have taken some liberties with fact in his epic poem about the ride, but it makes a fine picture book with Ted Rand's illustrations of moonlit landscapes and lamplit street scenes that reflect the atmosphere of the time.

Fritz, Jean. And Then What Happened, Paul Revere? Coward, 1973. ISBN 00-698-20274-0
This is a short history of Paul Revere that concentrates on his eventful ride. It makes a good introduction to this period because, like all of Fritz's short biographies, it is historically correct even as she manages to breathe life into the heroes of our past. This book gives us a sense of what Boston must have been like during the Revolution.

Fritz, Jean. Can't You Make Them Behave, King George? Putnam, 1982. ISBN 0-698-20315-1
Here is the Revolution from the point of view of the reigning British monarch, a man of incredible vanity and misjudgment. The humor is considerable but is based on fact.

Fritz, Jean. Traitor: The Case of Benedict Arnold. Putnam, 1981. ISBN 0-399-20834-8
Here is his flamboyant life from his boyhood to his death, not in battle as he had hoped but in bed in London. We see his acts of bravery as well as those of treachery.

Fritz, Jean. Where Was Patrick Henry on the 29th of May? Coward, 1982. ISBN 0-698-20307-0
The great orator is fleshed out and humanized with Fritz's sure touch and we also get a glimpse of eighteenth-century America.

Fritz, Jean. Why Don't You Get a Horse, Sam Adams? Putnam, 1974. ISBN 0-698-20292-9
In her brief but humanizing biography, Fritz gives us a picture of a funny and believable man who was capable of stirring the Colonists to action.

Fritz, Jean. Will You Sign Here, John Hancock? Coward, 1982. ISBN 0-698-20308-9
Fritz gives us a closer look at the man whose signature dominated the Declaration of Independence. With his wealth, this flamboyant character purchased the friendships his selfishness sometimes drove away, but this wealth also helped finance the Revolution.

Johnson, Neil. The Battle of Lexington and Concord. Four Winds, 1992. ISBN 0-02-747841-6
Color photographs of a recent re-enactment of the battle illustrate this book that gives some background and a step-by-step account of the first battle of the Revolution.

Marrin, Albert. The War for Independence. Atheneum, 1988. ISBN 0-689-31390-X
This is an excellent reference source about the Revolutionary War. The beginning, detailing the causes of the conflict, is the strongest section. The rest tells in great detail the stories of the battles themselves. This might be a good book for the teacher or the most able and/or interested readers to read and then excerpt for others.

Meltzer, Milton. The American Revolutionaries: A History in Their Own Words: 1750-1800. Crowell, 1987. ISBN 0-690-04643-X

Carter, Alden R. The American Revolution: At the Forge of Liberty. Watts, 1988. ISBN 0-531-10569-5
The book begins with the Continental Army's arrival at Philadelphia in 1777 and ends when the Revolution does in 1783.

The American Revolution: Birth of the Republic. Watts, 1988. ISBN 0-531-10572-5
This book covers the last days of the Revolution and the forging of a new government.

The American Revolution: Colonies in Revolt. Watts, 1988. ISBN 0- 531-10576-8
Beginning with the death of an eleven-year-old boy in the streets of Boston and leading up to the full-fledged war, this book uses maps, paintings and lithographs, and clear text to tell the story.

The American Revolution: Darkest Hours. Watts, 1988. ISBN 0-531-10578-4
This book begins with the call to arms at Concord and ends with the destruction of Burgoyne's army at Saratoga.

Quackenbush, Robert. Pass the Quill, I'll Write a Draft: A Story of Thomas Jefferson. Pippin, 1989. ISBN 0-945912-07-2
This is a brief book with a light touch that covers the life of the great man from 1743 to 1826.

Smith, Carter. The Revolutionary War: A Sourcebook on Colonial America. Millbrook, 1991. ISBN 0-56294-039-2
This book uses prints, maps, and some drawings for illustration. It contains a time line of the events in the Colonies juxtaposed with other major events in the world.

Stein, R. Conrad. The Story of the Boston Tea Party. Childrens, 1984. ISBN 0-516 04666-7
The book starts with the Boston Massacre and other causes of the conflict between the British and Americans and leads up to the actions of the Sons of Liberty. It points out that relations between the two groups had been equitable and that, at the beginning of the Revolution, only thirty percent of the populace wanted independence from Britain. The book also explains Sam Adams's role as orator, master of propaganda, and spearhead of the war movement.

Stevens, Bryna. Deborah Sampson Goes to War. Carolrhoda, 1984. ISBN 0-87614-254-4
Set in New England 1781-1783, this is an easy-to-read biography of Deborah Sampson who posed as a man to fight in the American Revolution. After the war, Deborah Sampson received an honorable discharge and a military pension because of her wounds. She later became the first woman lecturer in the United States.

Swanson, June. David Bushnell and His Turtle: The Story of America's First Submarine. Atheneum, 1991. ISBN 0-689-31628-3


Fritz, Jean. Early Thunder. Putnam, 1967. ISBN 0-698-20036-5
Least Sophisticated to Most Sophisticated (short bar=least and long bar=most).

O'Dell, Scott. Sarah Bishop. Houghton, 1980. ISBN 0-395-29185-2.
Sarah has good reason to hate war. Her father, a Loyalist, died after being tarred and feathered by the rebels. Her brother died on a British prison ship. Sarah is arrested as part of the harassment and escapes to the Connecticut wilderness where her struggle is with the elements rather than with the war.

Avi. The Fighting Ground. Lippincott, 1984. ISBN 0-397-32074-4.
This is an account of two days of a boy's life during the American Revolution. After he is captured in battle by three Hessian soldiers, Jonathan realizes that fighting is a complex activity and that informed choices are extremely important. In a farmhouse where a little boy is the only survivor of his family, Jonathan finds it impossible to kill the sleeping Hessians. He escapes with the little boy and finds the remnants of his troop. Realizing that they must have killed the boy's parents, Jonathan smashes his rifle and returns to the farm, less certain about the rights and wrongs of war.

Collier, James Lincoln and Collier, Christopher. My Brother Sam Is Dead. Four Winds, 1974. ISBN 0-02-722980-7.
Sam, the only member of his family who is not a Tory, joins the Rebel army. When he is falsely accused of stealing cattle, his family's sympathies work against him, and he is tried and executed as an example of General Putnam's discipline. His death is a matter of political expediency, not a matter of right or wrong. This is a more cynical look at the war than one finds in most children's literature.

Forbes, Esther. Johnny Tremain. Houghton, 1943. ISBN 0-395-06766-9
Johnny Tremain is a silversmith's apprentice in Boston. Another apprentice, jealous of Johnny's skill, causes him to be terribly burned by molten silver. Because of his shriveled hand, Johnny must find other work. As a rider for the Boston Observer, Johnny becomes interested in the Revolution and participates in the Boston Tea Party and other revolutionary acts. He also learns to accept himself, wounds and all. The book is an idealistic look at the Revolution.

Reit, Seymour. Guns for General Washington: A Story of the American Revolution. Harcourt, 1990. ISBN 0-15-200466-1
This is a fictionalized account of Henry Knox's trip from Fort Ticonderoga to Boston to break the siege of Boston. The story sticks closely to the facts with some dialogue added. We see the hazardous journey through the eyes of Will Knox, Henry's younger brother. The action goes back and forth between Knox and his men on the trail and the armies and civilians in Boston under siege. Other characters in the story include George Washington, Paul Revere, and General Howe.

Woodruff, Elvira. George Washington's Socks. Scholastic, 1992. ISBN 0-590-44035-7.

Edwards, Sally. George Midgett's War. Macmillan, 1985. ISBN 0-684-18315-3.
The people of Ocracoke Island, off the coast of North Carolina, want no part of the war. Then British Raiders kill the deaf-mute woman who tends their pigs and carry off the pigs. The Islanders' revenge entails taking precious salt to the American army at Valley Forge. The plot focuses on the fact that some choices in war are based on personal feelings rather than on political convictions.

Hoobler, Dorothy and Hoobler, Thomas. The Sign Painter's Secret: The Story of a Revolutionary Girl. Illustrated by Donna Ayers. Silver Burdett, 1991. ISBN 0-382-24143-6
This short and easy-to-read story is about a young girl who spies for the Rebels during the Revolutionary War. Although the absolute certainty of every character in the plot is unrealistic, there is a believable and informative sense of family life in occupied Philadelphia in 1777.

Jensen, Dorothea. The Riddle of Penncroft Farm. Harcourt, 1989. ISBN 0-15-200574-9.
After Lars moves from his home in present-day Minnesota to Pennsylvania, he is contacted by the ghost of one of his ancestors who gives him the inside story on the Revolution, especially the days at Valley Forge.

McKean, Thomas. The Secret of the Seven Willows. Simon, 1991. ISBN 0-671-72997-7.

Monjo, F. N. Poor Richard in France. Dell, 1973. ISBN 0-440-46110-3.
This story covers the years from 1776 to 1778. It was supposedly written by Benjamin Franklin's grandson as he accompanied his grandfather in France while Franklin attempt to convince France to sign a treaty with the Colonists. This is a very friendly approach to an understanding of diplomacy and war.

Seabrooke, Brenda. The Chester Town Tea Party. Illustrated by Nancy Coates Smith. Tidewater, 1990. ISBN 0-87033-422-0.
This is a fictionalized account of an event in 1774 Maryland that supported the Boston Tea Party. Many details of life in Colonial America are imbedded in the story.

Wibberly, Leonard. John Treegate's Musket. Farrar, 1959. ISBN 0-374-43788-2.
John Treegate is a Loyalist who fought for the king at the Battle of Quebec. Changing sides is easier for his son, Peter, who quickly joins the Revolutionary forces. John defects just in time for the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Cobblestone Magazine

The following issues were devoted to topics of the Revolution:

  • Boston Massacre (March 1980)
  • American Revolution Tales (September 1983)
  • Alexander Hamilton (March 1987)
  • British Loyalists (August 1987
  • Thomas Jefferson (September 1989)
Back copies are available from Cobblestone Publishing, 30 Grove Street, Peterborough, NH 03458.

Remedial/ESOL/Special Education Adjustments:

ESOL and LD teachers will teach with the classroom teachers in order to assist those students who may require extra support. Heterogeneous grouping will also be used to help students with reading and interpreting material.

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