This unit revolves around the use of primary source documents as a means of gaining perspective and information. In order to introduce the objectives and to spark interest, the educator can use the following discussion points for a whole group discussion:
*In reading first-hand accounts of events, why might one person’s account vary from another’s?
*How does reading a person’s thoughts and feelings about a topic help you to understand and gain perspective?
Introduce the topic of the American Revolution using the BrainPop video on the website pertaining to the Revolution.
2 Direct Instruction
Using the grade level readers on the American Revolution from the website readinga-z.com, we will explore the events leading up to the Revolution, the major battles that took place, and the period of time following the Revolution in which the new nation was founded.
Week One- “Seeds of Revolution”. During this time, we will study the events leading up to the colonists’ decision for war against Britain.
Week Two- “Battling for Independence”. During week two, we will take an in depth look at the battles and events that took place during the war period of the American Revolution.
Week Three- “Building a Nation”. During week three, we will study the time period after the British surrender. This includes the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, establishing a new and independent government, etc.
3 Guided Practice
Students will have the opportunity to explore materials provided with the leveled readers from readinga-z.com. Students can be paired with peer partners or may work in small groups using the materials provided for scaffolding as they review the material from whole group direct instruction. Once time for exploration has been provided, the educator should provide time for answering questions and clarification of any concepts of which students may still be unclear.
4 Independent Practice
During this phase of the unit, students will be investigating websites that contain articles and documents written by primary sources.
1. “Battle at Lexington Green, 1775”
This document gives insight into the first official battle of the Revolution, as well as ‘the shot heard round the world’.
2. “Writing the Declaration of Independence, 1776”
John Adams writes a letter answering questions surrounding the writing of the Declaration of Independence.
3. “Account of the Boston Massacre”.
This document offers a first-hand account of the Boston Massacre.
4. “Olive Branch Petition”
This document explains that the colonists reached out to King George III in an attempt to make peace.
After exploring events and information about the American Revolution and gaining perspective through the use of primary documents, students will be asked to create an account of an event during the war as if they were witnessing it. Students can work independently or in collaborative groups while accomplishing this task.