American Revolution

Examine collections of the Museum's key resources on major themes in American history and social studies teaching.  Additional resources can be found in the main search areas of the website.

American Revolution

Explore family life in the American Revolution, debate the legacy of Benedict Arnold and more with these activities on the War of Independence. 

Lexington and Concord: A Historical Interpretation Lesson

Grade Range: 6-9
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Lessons & Activities, Worksheets
Duration: 45 Minutes
Date Posted: 4/30/2010

Engage middle school students in historical document analysis with three contrasting images of the Battles of Lexington and Concord.  Using a graphic organizer, students will examine three primary sources and analyze the different perspectives presented in each. After completing the analysis, students will display their interpretations of the "true" story in their own illustrations. This lesson plan includes background information, full-color images of primary sources, and a student worksheet.

This lesson plan was produced to accompany the exhibition The Price of Freedom: Americans at War, by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

War of Independence Activity: Who’s in Camp?

Grade Range: 3-6
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Lessons & Activities
Duration: 45 Minutes
Date Posted: 4/30/2010

Use artifacts and historical literature to bring the War of Independence to life for elementary students.  By playing the "Who's in camp?" card game, students develop a deeper understanding of the many civilian and military roles that supported the War of Independence, then use their knowledge for a role-playing writing assignment. This lesson plan, which includes background information and printable artifact cards, was produced to accompany the exhibition The Price of Freedom: Americans at War, by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

The Dodge Family and Chance: Seeking Freedom in the Revolutionary War

Grade Range: 4-12
Resource Type(s): Reference Materials
Date Posted: 10/21/2008

Students can learn about the Dodges, Chance and life at the time of the American Revolution by investigating a room from their house, a will from 1786, and artifacts from the period. By the 1770s, Abraham and Bethiah Dodge and many other Americans were willing to risk everything for independence, and African Americans such as Chance, their slave; asked white patriots to live up to their ideas about liberty. The Dodges and Chance are one group of people that lived in the Ipswich, Massachusetts house which is the focus of Within These Walls, an online exhibition.

Preparing for the Oath: Establishing Independence

Grade Range: 4-12
Resource Type(s): Interactives & Media, Lessons & Activities
Duration: 8 Minutes
Date Posted: 3/1/2012

Learn more about America’s transition from colony to country through short videos, mini-activities, and practice questions in this segment of Preparing for the Oath: U.S. History and Civics for Citizenship. The eight questions included in this segment cover topics such as the Declaration of Independence, the War of Independence, and George Washington.

This site was designed with the needs of recent immigrants in mind. It is written at a “low-intermediate” ESL level.

War of Independence

Grade Range: 4-12
Resource Type(s): Reference Materials
Date Posted: 10/9/2008

Americans went to war to win their independence from Great Britain. Through the use of images and objects from the Museum's collections, students will learn about the involvement of colonial militias during the French and Indian War, the causes of the Revolution, life in the Continental Army, the major battles of the War of Independence, the participants on both sides of the conflict and the legacy of General George Washington. This website is part of the online exhibition The Price of Freedom: Americans at War. A non-flash version of the site is availalbe: The War of Independence.

The Time Trial of Benedict Arnold

Grade Range: 5-12
Resource Type(s): Interactives & Media, Lessons & Activities
Duration: 135 Minutes
Date Posted: 8/3/2012

In this lesson, students will examine the difference between history and memory by debating the legacy of Benedict Arnold.  Using video clips of an actor playing Arnold, students are invited to debate his actions and determine how history should remember him.  

Where Was Patrick Henry on the 29th of May?

Author: Jean Fritz
Reading Level: Late Elementary School, Middle School
Genre: Non Fiction, Biography

A brief biography of Patrick Henry tracing his progress from planter to statesman.

And Then What Happened, Paul Revere?

Author: Jean Fritz
Reading Level: Late Elementary School, Middle School
Genre: Non Fiction

The harrowing details and narrow escapes of Paul Revere's ride to Lexington are included together with little-known facts about the man...

Book

Meet Benjamin Franklin

Author: Maggie Scarf
Reading Level: Early Elementary School, Late Elementary School
Genre: Non Fiction, Biography

A biography of Benjamin Franklin highlighting his inventions, his newspaper and almanac, his work on the Declaration of Independence, and...

My Brother Sam Is Dead

Author: James Collier & Chris Collier
Reading Level: Middle School, High School
Genre: Fiction

This book describes the fictional adventures of the Meeker family of Redding, Connecticut, though much of the context of the story --...

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