Fourth Grade - American History - Lesson 5 - Concord and Lexington
 

Objective

Become familiar with the events that occurred at the Battles of Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill.
 

Suggested Books

Student Titles

Benchley, Nathaniel. Sam the Minuteman. New York: Harper & Row, 1969.

This I Can Read story tells of the battle at Lexington through the eyes of a young boy.

Berleth, Richard. Samuel's Choice. New York: Scholastic, 1990.

A story about a slave and his choice to help American soldiers during the Revolutionary War.

Johnson, Neil. The Battle of Lexington and Concord. New York: Four Winds Press, 1992.

Color photographs of reenactment activites in Lexington and Concord accompany a clear description of the events surrounding the battles.

Monjo, F. N. King George's Head Was Made of Lead. New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, Inc., 1974.

An amusing story told in rhyme from the point of view of a statue of King George displayed in the colonies.

Morris, Richard B. The First Book of the American Revolution. New York: Franklin Watts, 1956.

Stein, R. Conrad. The Story of Lexington and Concord. Chicago: Children's Press, 1983.
 

Student Reference

Allitt, Patrick. Founders of America. Morristown, NJ: Silver Burdett, 1983.

Dolan, Edward F. The American Revolution: How We Fought the War of Independence. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press, 1995.

Egger-Bovet, Howard and Marlene Smith-Baranzini. USKids History: Book of the American Revolution. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1994.

Grant, R. G. The American Revolution. New York: Thomson Learning, 1995.

Ingraham, Leonard W. An Album of the American Revolution. New York: Franklin Watts, 1971.
 

Teacher Reference

Adams, Russell B., ed. The Revolutionaries: The American Story. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1996.

Brenner, Barbara. If You Were There in 1776. New York: Bradbury Press, 1994.

Hakim, Joy. A History of US: From Colonies to Country. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Murphy, Jim. A Young Patriot: The American Revolution as Experienced by One Boy. New York: Clarion Books, 1995.

Zell, Fran. A Multicultural Portrait of The American Revolution. New York: Benchmark Books, 1996.
 

Procedure

Ask: Why did Paul Revere ride to Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts? (To alert the

people who lived there that the British soldiers were coming.) What does the phrase one if by land, two if by sea mean? (It was the signal used to let Paul Revere know whether the British were traveling by sea or by land. One lantern would be hung in the steeple of a church if the British were traveling by land to Lexington and Concord; two lanterns would be hung if the British were traveling by sea.)

Tell the students that once he received the signal that the British were traveling by boat, Paul Revere started off for Lexington and Concord. He made it to Lexington and was joined there by two more riders, Billy Dawes and Samuel Prescott, who were to ride with him to Concord. Explain that it was important for the people in Concord to be warned because Concord was the place where the patriots, colonists who were in favor of separating from England, stored weapons and supplies. The patriot soldiers also called themselves minutemen because they were prepared to go to war at a minute's notice. Tell the students that on the way to Concord, Paul Revere was caught by British soldiers and Billy Dawes lost his horse, so only Samuel Prescott was able to continue on and warn the colonists in Concord.

Explain to the students that the minutemen were ready when the British soldiers arrived, but did not shoot at them. The leader of the minutemen is said to have told his group, "Stand your ground. Don't fire unless fired upon. But if they mean to have a war let it begin here!" Ask: Why do you think he said that? (He didn't want to start a war, but if that was what it would take they were willing to fight for their freedom.)

Tell the students that the redcoats greatly outnumbered the minutemen, but when the British soldiers asked the minutemen to put down their weapons they refused. Gun shots were fired. No one knows who shot the first shot, but by the end eight Americans had been killed and the Revolutionary War had begun. Explain that first shot was the beginning of the war and is referred to as "the shot heard round the world." Ask: Why do you think that the first shot was called the shot heard round the world. (The shot resulted in a war between countries on different continents. It was the beginning of people fighting to be free from unfair governments--the spirit of the American people was inspiring to people in other countries.) Discuss the possible answers with the students.

Explain to the students that since the redcoats still wanted to take away the weapons the colonists had stored, the British troops continued on to Concord. The minutemen were waiting for the redcoats when they reached Concord and because the colonists were ready for them, they won this battle. The British retreated back to Boston.

Tell the students that the British troops had not expected the loss they experienced in Concord. Explain that when they returned to Boston they tried once again to gain control of the city. There were British soldiers in the city, as well as, on ships in Boston Harbor. Tell the students that the first real battle of the American Revolution happened across the Charles River from Boston. Although it is called the Battle of Bunker Hill, the battle was actually fought on a nearby place called Breed's Hill.

Explain that the American troops stationed themselves on Breed's Hill. The British soldiers attacked the American troops and were able to force the American soldiers off the hill, but only because the Americans ran out of gunpowder. If possible, read aloud Joy Hakim's description of the Battle of Bunker Hill on pages 89-90 and 93 of A History of US: From Colonies to Country.

Ask: Who do you think had the advantage going into the Revolutionary War, the American colonists or the British? Why? Discuss the following with the students:
 

The differences between what the British and American soldiers wore--British soldiers wore bright red wool coats and the minutemen didn't yet have uniforms. The red coats were easily noticed, which made them easy targets.

The British had a well-equipped and well-trained army and navy; the American soldiers were not very disciplined and there wasn't a real American navy.

The Americans knew the land they were fighting on better than the British did.

The Americans had a motivation--they wanted to be free; many of the British soldiers didn't even want to be in the colonies, their friends and family were back in England.

You may wish to read "Were We Really Ready to Fight?" on page 166 of What Your Fourth Grader Needs to Know by E. D. Hirsch, which tells about some of the differences between the British and American Soldiers.

Tell the students many of the American colonists were calling for an organized American army because they were ready for an official war against England. Explain that there were some colonists who were still hoping for peace with England, and if there was a war, actually hoped that England would win because they still felt loyal to England, which they considered their homeland. These people were called Loyalists or Tories. The Tories believed that the king of England should have kept control of the colonies and they didn't see any need for independence.
 

Fourth Grade - American History - Lesson 6 - The Second Continental Congress
 

Objective

Discuss the meaning of the Declaration of Independence.
 

Materials

Classroom-size U. S. map

The following part of the Declaration of Independence copied on chart paper (save for Lesson 11):

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,

that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,

that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
 

Suggested Books

Student Titles

Benchley, Nathaniel. Sam the Minuteman. New York: Harper & Row, 1969.

This I Can Read story tell of the battle at Lexington through the eyes of a young boy.

Berleth, Richard. Samuel's Choice. New York: Scholastic, 1990.

A story about a slave and his choice to help American soldiers during the Revolutionary War.

The Declaration of Independence. New York: Franklin Watts, 1960.

The text of The Declaration of Independence is accompanied by black and white drawings.

Fritz, Jean. Will You Sign Here, John Hancock? New York: Scholastic, 1976.

Richards, Norman. The Story of the Declaration of Independence: Cornerstones of Freedom. Chicago: Childrens Press, 1968.
 

Student Reference

Allitt, Patrick. Founders of America. Morristown, NJ: Silver Burdett, 1983.

Dolan, Edward F. The American Revolution: How We Fought the War of Independence. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press, 1995.

Egger-Bovet, Howard and Marlene Smith-Baranzini. USKids History: Book of the American Revolution. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1994.

Grant, R. G. The American Revolution. New York: Thomson Learning, 1995.

Ingraham, Leonard W. An Album of the American Revolution. New York: Franklin Watts, 1971.

Schleifer, Jay. Our Declaration of Independence. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press, 1992.
 

Teacher Reference

Adams, Russell B., ed. The Revolutionaries: The American Story. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1996.

Hakim, Joy. A History of US: From Colonies to Country. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Murphy, Jim. A Young Patriot: The American Revolution as Experienced by One Boy. New York: Clarion Books, 1995.

Zell, Fran. A Multicultural Portrait of The American Revolution. New York: Benchmark Books, 1996.
 

Procedure

Review with the students what the beliefs of the Loyalists/Tories were and what the beliefs of the patriots were. Tell the students that in the summer of 1775 a Second Continental Congress was called to discuss what action the colonists should take next. Ask: Where did the First Continental Congress take place? (Philadelphia) Tell the students that the Second Continental Congress also took place in Philadelphia. Ask: Does anyone know the state in which the city of Philadelphia is located? (PA) Have the students locate Pennsylvania and Philadelphia on the U. S. map.

Tell the students that there were two very important things that came about because of this second meeting of delegates from each colony.

1. An American army and navy were created. George Washington was selected to be the commander in chief of the army, which was called the Continental Army.

2. The Declaration of Independence was written and signed.
 

Explain to the students that George Washington was a delegate from Virginia at the Second Continental Congress, but left soon after he was appointed general of the Continental Army. He set off for Boston to take charge of the troops that were organized there. Tell the students that over the next year the colonists became more and more set on the idea of complete independence from England and it was finally decided that a Declaration of Independence would be written. The delegates asked Thomas Jefferson to be the primary writer of the document.

Explain to the students that the purpose of the Declaration of Independence was to:

- Describe a good government and the rights of the people the government serves

- Tell what King George III of England had done wrong

- Announce that the colonies were "free and independent states"

Tell the students that one part of the Declaration of Independence is especially memorable and moving. Post the chart paper (listed in Materials) and read this part of the Declaration to the class. Discuss the language to clarify its meaning to the students.

We hold these truths to be self-evident (clear by themselves),

that all men are created equal,

that they are endowed (given, provided) by their Creator

with certain unalienable (not subject to change in any way) Rights,

that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Ask: What does the phrase all men are created equal mean? Jefferson wrote that all men are created equal, do you think he meant that women were included? Explain that we don't know what Jefferson meant, but give the example that sometimes people use the phrase, you guys when referring to a group of boys and girls. Ask: What do you think Jefferson was saying in this passage? Have the children discuss their own interpretations.

Tell the students that the members of the Second Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. John Hancock was the first to sign his name to the document. Tell the students that he signed his name so large, he said so that the King can see it without his eyeglasses, that a signature is known today as a John Hancock. There were fifty-six signatures in all. Ask: What holiday do we observe that celebrates the signing of the Declaration

of Independence? (The Fourth of July) How do we celebrate the 4th of July? (fireworks, parades, picnics, etc.)

Tell the children that the original Declaration of Independence still exists and and can be seen in a special glass case that is kept in the National Archives building in Washington, D.C.
 

Fourth Grade - American History - Lesson 7 - Betsy Ross and the American Flag
 

Objective

Become familiar with the origins of the United States flag.
 

Materials

Picture of flag supposedly made by Betsy Ross (see Suggested Books)
 

Suggested Books

Student Titles

Fisher, Leonard Everett. Stars and Stripes: Our National Flag. New York: Holiday House, 1993.

Page 10 contains an illustration of the first flag supposedly made by Betsy Ross.

Mayer, Albert I. The Story of Old Glory: Cornerstones of Freedom. Chicago: Childrens Press, 1970.

Tells the history of the U. S. flag, including the legend of Betsy Ross.

Ryan, Pam Munoz. The Flag We Love. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge, 1996.

Contains simple rhyming text and beautiful illustrations, with interesting facts about the United States flag in a box at the bottom of each page.
 

Student Reference

Ayer, Eleanor. Our Flag. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press, 1992.
 

Procedure

Review with the students that there were many things that the Second Continental Congress accomplished; the first was naming a general to be in charge of the Continental Army and the second was the writing and signing of the Declaration of Independence. Ask: Who was named general of the Continental Army? (George Washington) What was the purpose of the Declaration of Independence? (to declare separation from England, tell why they needed to separate, tell what England had done wrong, explain the purpose of a good government)

Tell the students that Congress made many other decisions during the American Revolution. One of which was the decision on what the American flag should look like. Explain to the students that before the Revolutionary War began the colonies displayed the British flag, which is called the Union Jack. Tell the students that a year after the Declaration of Independence was signed, it was decided that Americans needed their own flag. The Continental Congress agreed that the flag of the United States would have thirteen stripes--alternating red and white, and thirteen stars--white stars with a blue background. Ask: Why do you think there were thirteen stripes and thirteen stars? (for the thirteen colonies)

Tell the students that George Washington described the symbolism of the flag in the following words, "We take the stars from heaven, the red from our mother country (England's flag), separating it by white stripes, thus showing that we have separated from her, and the white stripes shall go down to posterity representing liberty." Explain that there were no specific details as to how the flag should look, so some flags showed the stars in rows and others showed the stars in a circle.

Tell the students that there are many legends having to do with the flag, one of which tells who constructed the first flag. Ask: Does anyone know who is said to have made the first flag? (Betsy Ross) If the students do not know, tell them that a woman named Betsy Ross is said to have made the first flag. Relate the following story of Betsy Ross to the students:

Betsy Ross was a seamstress who lived in Philadelphia. A group of men including

General George Washington asked Betsy Ross to make a flag for the United States. The men had a rough sketch of the flag design they had in mind. Although Betsy Ross had never made a flag before, she agreed to try. She altered their proposed design slightly, making the stars with five points instead of six.

Show the students a picture of the flag supposedly made by Betsy Ross (see Suggested Books). Explain to the students that we don't know who made the first flag for sure because there are no written records from that time to support the story, but Betsy Ross has become a legend in American history.

Have the students compare the flag supposedly made by Betsy Ross to the present U. S. flag. How many stars are there on the present day flag? (50) Why are there 50 stars on the present day flag compared to 13 when the flag was first made? (There were 13 colonies and now there are 50 states.) Tell the students that there is one star on the flag for each state in the United States. Explain that as the country grew and new states joined the union the original thirteen colonies had formed, a new stripe and star were added. Vermont and Kentucky were the first two states to join the Union, so two stars and two stripes were added for a total of 15 stars and stripes. Ask: Can anyone think of a problem that might have developed as more and more states joined the union? (too many stars and stripes to fit on the flag) How would the size/shape of the flag change? Tell the students that in 1817 five more states joined the Union; the flag then needed twenty stripes and twenty stars. Explain that the space on the flag was limited so a group of congressman met to discuss the problem. They decided the number of stripes would go back to thirteen, one for each original colony, and only a new star would be added for each new state that joined the Union.
 

Fourth Grade - American History - Lesson 8 - Women in the Revolution
 

Objective

Become familiar with the accomplishments of women who lived during the American Revolution.
 

Materials

Headings worksheet (included)

Mobile

Wire hanger, string, construction paper, scissors, tape, crayons or markers
 

Construction paper display

Scissors, tape, crayons or markers

Pattern (included)
 

Suggested Books

Student Titles

Gleiter, Jan. Molly Pitcher. Austin, TX: Steck-Vaughn, 1991.

Greene, Carol. Phillis Wheatley: First African-American Poet. Chicago: Childrens Press, 1995.

Part of the Rookie Biography series.

Stevens, Bryna. Deborah Sampson Goes to War. Minneapolis, MN: Carolrhoda Books, 1984.

This book tells of Deborah Sampson's life with easy to read text. Includes black and white drawings and a glossary at the beginning of the book.
 

Teacher Reference

Zeinert, Karen. Those Remarkable Women of the American Revolution. Brookfield, CT: The Millbrook Press, 1996.

Zell, Fran. A Multicultural Portrait of The American Revolution. New York: Benchmark Books, 1996.
 

Procedure

Ask: Who is said to have created the first flag of the United States? (Betsy Ross) Tell the students that Betsy Ross is one of the women who found a place in American history; we are now going to take a look at other women who made their own historical contributions during the American Revolution.

Relay the following information to the students about each of the women:

Molly Pitcher--Many women who had husbands in the army joined the army as camp followers. This meant they followed troops of soldiers and oftentimes cooked, did laundry, and cared for the injured. They were not paid, but were given food, half the amount given to the soldiers. Even though most women stayed in the army camps while the soldiers were off fighting, some of the women went to the battlefront to help their husbands.

One of these famous female soldiers was a woman named Mary Hays, whose actions in battle are said to be the source of the legend of Molly Pitcher. The name Molly Pitcher came from the fact that she carried a large pitcher of

water for the soldiers to drink from on the battlefield. The legend says that Molly took over firing a cannon when her husband collapsed on the battlefield. (Show a painting depicting Molly Pitcher at the cannon if possible. Copies of the paintings can be found in Those Remarkable Women of the American Revolution by Karen Zeinert, on the cover and page 21 or A Multicultural Portrait of The American Revolution by Fran Zell, p. 46.)

Deborah Sampson--Like Molly Pitcher, Deborah Sampson also helped out on the battlefield, but Deborah Sampson disguised herself as a man to do so. Women were not allowed to join the army during the time of the American Revolution, so in order to fight as a soldier in the army, Deborah became Robert Shurtleff.

No one knew she was a woman disguised as a man until she became ill and was taken to a hospital. A doctor who examined her discovered Deborah's secret, but did not tell anyone she was a woman. Deborah returned to her troop to continue fighting, but was called to meet with a general. The doctor who had examined her had written a letter to the general telling him that Robert Shurtleff was really a woman. Deborah Sampson was honorably discharged from the army and even went on to receive back pay and a pension for being a soldier in the army.

Phillis Wheatley--Phillis Wheatley is known as the first African-American poet. Although she was brought to America as a slave, she did not live a life that most slaves lived. Phillis was taught to read and write by her master's daughter. Phillis who had a love for poetry began writing her own by the age of twelve. By the age of twenty, Phillis had a book of poetry published in England. When the Revolutionary War began and Phillis learned that General Washington was named the leader of the Continental Army, she wrote a poem about him, which he read and liked very much. As a result Phillis was able to meet and speak with General Washington, which was a very important event in her life.
 

Review with the students what a symbol is. (A symbol is a representation of a real thing.) Have the students make a mobile or create a construction paper display of the symbols that the students select to represent the following women of the American Revolution: Betsy Ross, Deborah Sampson, Phillis Wheatley, and Molly Pitcher. Give the students examples of symbols that could represent each woman by naming a possible symbol and asking the students to identify the woman it represents. For instance a needle, the first American flag--Betsy Ross, a soldier's uniform, a battle scene--Deborah Sampson, a writing quill and ink--Phillis Wheatley, a pitcher, a cannon--Molly Pitcher.

For the mobile have the students draw the symbols on construction paper. Next, they will cut the symbols out and attach them to a wire hanger with string. Give each student one of the Women of the American Revolution headings (included) to attach as a title above the hanging pieces of the mobile.

Another option is to have the students use the included pattern to make a construction

paper display of the symbols they create. The students should draw a symbol in each of the squares on the ditto, cut the sets of squares out, and attach the sets together with tape. (This will form a cube without a top or a bottom.) Give each student one of the headings to attach as a title to the top of one of the squares.
 

Additional Activity

Construct a 3" by 3" cube with the symbols of women of the American Revolution on each side. With a group of students, roll the cube and have a student identify who the shown symbol represents.
 

Fourth Grade - American History - Lesson 9 - The Battle of Saratoga
 

Objectives

Become familiar with the importance of the Battle of Saratoga.

Describe the American ideals behind the Revolutionary War.
 

Materials

Classroom-size U. S. map

Lined paper
 

Suggested Books

Teacher Reference

Grant, R. G. The American Revolution. New York: Thomson Learning, 1995.

Hakim, Joy. A History of US: From Colonies to Country. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.
 

Procedure

Tell the students that once the colonies declared their independence from England, they had to defend that independence. Ask: When was the Declaration of Independence signed? (July 4, 1776) Tell the students that England was determined to keep the colonies under the rule of England. Have the students recall that in America there were still colonists that supported England's rule. Ask: What were these colonists called? (loyalists or Tories)

Point to Long Island on a map of the United States. Tell the students that England sent 30,000 soldiers to this area, now called Long Island. The British troops were able to take control of Long Island and New York City, forcing General Washington and his troops to retreat. Tell the students one patriot named Nathan Hale volunteered to spy on the British. He was to find out what the British army was planning. He was captured by the British and was hung as a spy. Tell the students that as the British were about to hang Hale, he is said to have shouted, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." Ask: Why do you think Nathan Hale's quote has been recorded as part of history and remembered by many people? (Nathan Hale's patriotism, his willingness to give his life for his country, was inspirational.)

Explain to the students that the situation didn't look good for the American troops, but the patriots still enthusiastically fought for their independence. Tell the students that there was finally a turn of events at the Battle of Saratoga in the fall of 1777. Explain that this battle was important for two reasons. First, the Americans won this battle and the victory made them realize their army could possibly be strong enough to win the war. Second, after the victory at Saratoga, France became an ally to the Americans, which means France also declared war on England and helped the Americans fight against the British.

Tell the students that France had been secretly helping the Americans since the beginning of the war, but did not openly support the Americans because it did not look as though the Americans were going to be able to defeat the strong British army and navy. Explain that the victory at Saratoga convinced the king of France that the Americans did have a chance to win against the British.

Explain that because France was now an American ally, American ships were able to use French ports as a base for raiding England. John Paul Jones, a naval officer on an American ship, attacked British ports and ships. During one battle it is said that after a British officer asked him if he was ready to surrender, Jones replied "I have not yet begun to fight." It was words and actions like this that kept the patriots desire for independence alive.

Tell the students that although the country of France supported the Americans there were also individuals from other countries who helped in the American's struggle for independence:

General Bernardo de Galvez led Spanish troops against the British in what is now the state of Florida; Baron Friedrich von Steuben from Prussia, which was once part of Germany, helped General Washington by training American troops; and Thaddeus Kosciusko an engineer from Poland gave advice on how to plan battles and build strong forts. Also, even before France officially became an American ally a man named the Marquis de Lafayette came to the United States to volunteer his services to the Continental Army. Tell the students that Lafayette and General Washington became very good friends and remained friends even after the war. Ask: Why do you think these men from other countries were willing to help the Americans in their fight to gain independence from England? (belief in the Americans ideas of fair government and the cause of liberty, money--some were paid)

Write the following questions on the chalk board and have the students write their answers on a piece of lined paper.

If you lived during the time of the American Revolution would you have been a patriot or a loyalist? Why?

What ideas did the Americans have about government that were inspirational to both the patriots and the European helpers?

Fourth Grade - American History - Lesson 10 - Valley Forge and Yorktown
 

Objective

Become familiar with the events that occurred at Valley Forge and Yorktown.
 

Materials

Classroom map of the U. S.

Map of Yorktown (included)
 

Suggested Books

Student Reference

Egger-Bovet, Howard and Marlene Smith-Baranzini. USKids History: Book of the American Revolution. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1994.
 

Procedure

Tell the students that although Saratoga was a turning point in the Revolutionary War, there were many hard months ahead. Ask: Why was the victory at the Battle of Saratoga a turning point in the war? (The victory proved that the Americans had a chance to win the war. Because of it France became an American ally.)

Tell the students that as the winter months of 1777 set in, General Washington and his troops were in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Explain that the British troops had captured Philadelphia, so they were comfortable in the city, whereas the American troops camped at Valley Forge. Show the students the two locations on a map of the U. S. Ask: Why would it be more comfortable in a city instead of a camp site during the winter. (There are buildings in a city that provide shelter from the cold; food, clothing, and supplies are more readily available in a city.)

Have the students imagine winter weather: cold, snow, ice, wind. Next, have them picture being very hungry, sick, wearing very thin clothing and possibly bare feet, living in huts. Tell them these are the conditions with which most of the American soldiers at Valley Forge were faced (one out of every four men at Valley Forge died). Ask: What do think are some of the reasons that the soldiers were forced to live in these conditions? (Accept all reasonable answers.) You may wish to read a description of the winter at Valley Forge from USKids History: Book of the American Revolution pages 77-78.

Explain to the students some of the reasons for the hardships that the soldiers faced: It was hard for wagons to carry food and supplies from distant marketplaces; Congress and the individual states had very little money to give to the army; many American merchants raised the prices on the goods they sold to make a larger profit, or even worse, sold their goods to the British.

Tell the students that although some men left the army because of the horrible conditions, many stayed because of their loyalty to the cause of independence and their pride in the new union of states. There were cases of people who were disloyal to the cause of independence; one memorable example is Benedict Arnold. Benedict Arnold was a general in the Continental Army who felt as though his accomplishments in battle were not rewarded, so he decided to betray the Americans and sell his services to the British. Explain that the Americans discovered that Benedict Arnold had arranged to turn over the fort at West Point, New York in exchange for payment from the British. His name is still used today; to call someone a "Benedict Arnold" is an insult because it means that person is a traitor.

Explain to the students that since the British were unable to gain control over the northern states of New York and Massachusetts, they decided to concentrate on the southern states. Their plan was to take over the southern states and then go north to defeat Washington's troops and bring an end to the war. Explain that British troops under the direction of General Cornwallis entered Yorktown, Virginia after battles in Georgia and North and South Carolina. Tell the students that Yorktown was a peninsula in the Chesapeake Bay. Ask: What is a peninsula? (A long section of land that extends into the water.) Ask students to come up to the U. S. map to locate Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay.

Give each student a copy of the map of Yorktown. Tell the students that General Cornwallis marched his troops onto the peninsula of Yorktown. Ask: Looking at your map do you think that it was a wise decision to move his troops there? (No, it made escape difficult if they were surrounded.) How many ways are there to exit from Yorktown? (two--west by land off the peninsula or by water) Explain to the students that General Cornwallis was depending on British reinforcements to come by the sea, but this did not happen. Instead, when General Washington heard what Cornwallis had done, he sent troops to seal off the peninsula in Virginia. Have the students draw a series of X marks on their maps to show where Washington sealed off the land.

Next, French warships reached the peninsula, so the British were completely surrounded. Have the students draw triangles in the bay around the peninsula to show where the ships were located. Ask: What options did the British troops have? American forces attacked and General Cornwallis was forced to surrender on October 19, 1781. This was the end of the Revolutionary War.
 

Fourth Grade - American History - Lesson 11 - American Government
 

Objectives

Recall the main ideas behind the Declaration of Independence.

Describe the purpose of government in a society.

Define a republican government.
 

Materials

Classroom-size U. S. map

Selection from the Declaration of Independence written on chart paper saved from Lesson 6
 

Suggested Books

Student Title

Morris, Richard B. The First Book of the Constitution. New York: Franklin Watts, 1958.
 

Student Reference

Vaughan, Harold Cecil. The Constitutional Convention 1787: The Beginning of Federal Government in America. New York: Franklin Watts, 1976.
 

Teacher Reference

Carter, Alden R. The American Revolution: Birth of the Republic. New York: Franklin Watts, 1988.
 

Procedure

Tell the students that after the end of the Revolutionary War, Americans still faced a great many problems. Ask: What do you think were some of the problems the Americans had to deal with after the war? Explain that they had to rebuild many towns and cities that had been damaged by the war; many men had been killed leaving behind widows and orphans; most importantly, America had to form a new government since they were no longer a colony of England.

Ask: Did the colonies have a government of their own before the war? (No. They were ruled by England.) Explain that as a colony they were ruled by England, so as an independent country, the Americans needed a way of governing themselves and protecting the rights for which they had fought.

Display the following selection from the Declaration of Independence written on chart paper:

We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
 

Ask: Who was the primary writer of the Declaration of Independence? (Thomas Jefferson) What was the purpose of the Declaration of Independence? (to declare separation from England, tell why they needed to separate, tell what England had done wrong, explain the purpose of a good government)

Review the language of the passage to clarify its meaning to the students.

We hold these truths to be self-evident (clear by themselves), that all men are created equal, that they are endowed (given, provided) by their Creator with certain unalienable (not subject to change in any way) Rights,that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

While reviewing this section discuss with the children the meaning behind the following main ideas: "All men are created equal," the responsibility of the government to protect the "unalienable rights" of the people, natural rights to "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."

Tell the students that the Declaration of Independence made deciding on a new government a right of the people who lived in the former colonies. Ask: Why do societies need governments? Why does a society need laws? (Accept all reasonable responses.) If students are having trouble coming up with answers to these questions discuss the rules they have in their school. Ask: What are the purpose of rules in school? What would happen if there weren't any rules? Apply this discussion to laws in our society. Ask: What might happen in the absence of government and laws?

Have the students think back to the beginning of school and have the students recall how the classroom rules were made--were they made by a consensus between the students and the teacher or were they decided by the teacher and discussed with the students.

Explain to the students that our government today is made up of state governments and a national government, which is called the federal government. Tell the students that our state government is located in our state's capital, Annapolis and the federal government is located in our nation's capital, Washington, D. C. Call on two students to locate Washington, D. C. and Annapolis on a U.S. map. The president of the United States heads the federal government, whereas each state in the U. S. has a governor that heads the state government. Ask: Can someone name the current president of the United States? Can someone name the current governor of Maryland?

Tell the students that they are now going to look at how our country ended up with the government that it has today. Explain that during the Revolutionary War each state already had its own state government and many of the states had already written their own constitutions--so there were already thirteen state governments. Ask: What problems do you think might have occurred as a result of there being 13 separate governments amongst the new states?

Explain that the Continental Congress first tried to set up a union between the states by writing a document called the Articles of Confederation. The Articles of Confederation was an attempt to capture in writing the ideas the representatives in Congress had for a new government. Soon after the end of the Revolutionary War, problems with the Articles of Confederation began to show. Tell the students that under the Articles of Confederation each state had one vote, but that meant that small states with a small population had the same say that a very populated large state would have. Also, because people were afraid of a strong central government after their experience with the king of England, Congress was not given the power to enforce any government decisions that were made, nor did it have the power to settle even the smallest disagreements between the states. Ask the students what they think could have happened as a result of Congress not being able to carry out the decisions it made. Ask: Would Congress be able to get anything accomplished?

Explain that many people decided the Articles of Confederation were not strong enough. One of these people was a man named James Madison. James Madison suggested that delegates from each of the states meet to discuss the problems with the Articles of Confederation. So, in the spring of 1787, delegates from each of the states, except Rhode Island, which refused to participate, traveled to Philadelphia to discuss how the Articles of Confederation needed to be changed. This meeting is now called the Constitutional Convention because from this meeting the Constitution of the United States was produced.
 
 

Bibliography


 


Student Titles

Benchley, Nathaniel. Sam the Minuteman. New York: Harper & Row, 1969. (0-06-444107-5)

Berleth, Richard. Samuel's Choice. New York: Scholastic, 1990. (0-590-46456-6)

The Declaration of Independence. New York: Franklin Watts, 1960.

Fisher, Leonard Everett. Stars and Stripes: Our National Flag. New York: Holiday House, 1993. (0-8234-1053-6)

Greene, Carol. Phillis Wheatley: First African-American Poet. Chicago: Childrens Press, 1995. (0-516-04269-6)

Johnson, Neil. The Battle of Lexington and Concord. New York: Four Winds Press, 1992. (0-02-747841-6)

Mayer, Albert I. The Story of Old Glory: Cornerstones of Freedom. Chicago: Childrens Press, 1970. (516-04629-2)

Monjo, F. N. King George's Head Was Made of Lead. New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, Inc., 1974. (GB-698-30550-7)

Morris, Richard B. The First Book of the Constitution. New York: Franklin Watts, 1958. (58-8398)

Richards, Norman. The Story of the Declaration of Independence: Cornerstones of Freedom. Chicago: Childrens Press, 1968. (0-516-44606-1)

Roop, Peter and Connie. Buttons for General Washington. Minneapolis, MN: Carolrhoda Books, 1986. (0-87614-294-3)

Ryan, Pam Munoz. The Flag We Love. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge, 1996. (0-88106-846-2)

Stein, R. Conrad. The Story of Lexington and Concord. Chicago: Childrens Press, 1983. (0-516-04661-6)
 

Student Reference

Allitt, Patrick. Founders of America. Morristown, NJ: Silver Burdett, 1983. (0-382-06641-3)

Ayer, Eleanor. Our Flag. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press, 1992. (1-56294-107-0)

Dolan, Edward F. The American Revolution: How We Fought the War of Independence. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press, 1995. (1-56294-521-1)

Egger-Bovet, Howard and Marlene Smith-Baranzini. USKids History: Book of the American Revolution. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1994. (0-316-96922-2)

Gleiter, Jan. Molly Pitcher. Austin, TX: Steck-Vaughn, 1991. (0-8172-2652-4)

Grant, R. G. The American Revolution. New York: Thomson Learning, 1995. (1-56847-393-1)

Ingraham, Leonard W. An Album of the American Revolution. New York: Franklin Watts, 1971. (531-01511-4)

Schleifer, Jay. Our Declaration of Independence. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press, 1992. (1-56294-205-0)

Stevens, Bryna. Deborah Sampson Goes to War. Minneapolis, MN: Carolrhoda Books, 1984. (0-87614-254-4)

Vaughan, Harold Cecil. The Constitutional Convention 1787: The Beginning of Federal Government in America. New York: Franklin Watts, 1976. (0-531-01104-6)
 

Teacher Reference

Adams, Russell B., ed. The Revolutionaries: The American Story. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1996. (0-7835-6250-0)

Brenner, Barbara. If You Were There in 1776. New York: Bradbury Press, 1994. (0-02-712322-7)

Carter, Alden R. The American Revolution: Birth of the Republic. New York: Franklin Watts, 1988. (0-531-10572-5)

________. The American Revolution: Colonies in Revolt. New York: Franklin Watts, 1988. (0-531-10576-8)

Hakim, Joy. A History of US: From Colonies to Country. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993. (0-19-507749-0)

Murphy, Jim. A Young Patriot: The American Revolution as Experienced by One Boy. New York: Clarion Books, 1995. (0-395-60523-7)

Zeinert, Karen. Those Remarkable Women of the American Revolution. Brookfield, CT: The Millbrook Press, 1996. (1-56294-657-9)

Zell, Fran. A Multicultural Portrait of The American Revolution. New York: Benchmark Books, 1996. (0-7614-0051-6)