11. Lesson Plans

These lesson units show the impact and influence of the Declaration of Independence from the American Revolution to the fight for women’s suffrage. Built in are a variety of primary sources and pedagogical strategies. Designed for elementary, middle, and high school classrooms, these lesson plans help to illustrate how the Declaration of Independence is the cornerstone of American ideals.

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Lessons for Elementary and Middle School Students

The American Revolution: The Boston Massacre, “Yankee Doodle,” and the Declaration of Independence

Over the course of three lessons, students will explore the Revolutionary era through three primary sources: an image of the Boston Massacre, the song “Yankee Doodle,” and the preamble to the Declaration of Independence. These primary sources provide three ways to understand the ideals of the founders.

The Preamble to the US Constitution, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the Declaration of Independence

Over the course of three lessons, students will analyze three documents that define American democracy: the preamble to the United States Constitution, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the second section of the Declaration of Independence. Understanding these three texts is an essential part of understanding American ideals and citizenship.

Lessons for Middle School Students

The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere: Literature vs. History

Over the course of three lessons the students will compare and contrast two different versions of one of the most iconic events in American history: the midnight ride of Paul Revere. The comparison will be made between the poem “Paul Revere’s Ride” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and a description of the event written by Paul Revere himself. Students will use textual evidence from these two sources to draw their conclusions and write an argumentative essay.

Revolutionary Propaganda: Persuasion and Colonial Support

Many students misconstrue the American Revolution as a period of unanimous support for independence from Great Britain. Many colonists (and eventually foreign nations) had to be persuaded to join in this revolution. In order to encourage support, speeches and letters were published outlining the colonial grievances in pamphlets or broadsides. Through analyzing these documents, students will learn how the founders built arguments to justify independence. 

Lessons for Middle and High School Students

The Declaration of Independence

In the summer of 1776, Thomas Jefferson drafted a document that declared to the world that a new nation, the United States of America, had been born. Students will use text analysis strategies to discover what Jefferson and the Continental Congress had to say, and develop their own ideas based solely on the original text.

Declarations of Independence: Women’s Rights and the Seneca Falls Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions

In 1848 over 200 men and women gathered in Seneca Falls, New York to discuss the rights of women and women’s suffrage. Out of that gathering came the Seneca Falls Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions, which argued for women’s voting rights and reforms in marital laws. The blueprint for that document was the original Declaration of Independence.

What Does Liberty Look Like?

During the Revolutionary era, many saw an opportunity to test the boundaries of liberty. In this lesson students will explore several perspectives on liberty during this period.