Revolutionary War:  Language Arts &  Social Studies Unit

abington heights school district

Clarks summit, PA

5th Grade 


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.



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I    Background Information

II   Focus Questions

III  List of Available Teaching Resources

    A. Print Resources

        1. Core Texts

        2. Whole-Class Novel

        3. Literature Circle Books

        4. Independent Reading

        5. Writing/Grammar

    B. Technology Resources

         1.  Teacher

         2.  Student

IV   Unit Activities

V    Culminating Activities

VI   Lesson Plans

VII  Samples of Student Work

VIII Professional Development Links





A new background is dropped in. 


  Background Information



The "shot heard round the world" fired at Lexington on April 19, 1775 began the war for American Independence. It ended eight and a half years later September 3, 1783 with the Treaty of Paris.




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                      II. Focus Questions  


1.  Why did the colonists want to change from British rule to self-government?

2.  What major events caused the Revolutionary War?

3.  How did important people influence the American Revolution?




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 III. List of Available Teaching Resources

A. Print resources


1. core readings


Invitations to Literacy Teacher’s Manual, Theme 4, “Catastrophe!” Houghton Mifflin, 1999




America’s Story, Vol. 1, pp. 209-253, Social Studies Text


    5. Writing/Grammar


 Houghton Mifflin English



    1. For the Teacher (Instructional Presentations/Resources)

PowerPoint Presentations for the Classroom 


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  United Streaming Video Clips:


2.  For the Students (Activities/Research)





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Unit Activities


    Launch Activity


In order to understand the feelings of the American Colonists in the time preceding the Revolution, ask another group of students to make up rules by which your classroom must operate. That classroom however does not have to follow the same rules. Your students will send representatives to talk to the other classroom to try to have some say in the rules. Tell the other classroom ahead of time that they should not changes the rules. Ask students to record their feelings and frustrations. Then discuss the situation and compare it to the Colonists.


United Streaming-Events Leading to the Revolutionary War


S.S. Text pp. 206-207


    Time Line

Read and Discuss pp. 204-205 in S. S. Text. Divide students into groups. Assign each group to create a poster with one event on the timeline. The date of the event should be written in large letters at the top of the poster. Then students should write a sentence about the event and include an illustration that relates to the event. Use the posters to make a large timeline on a wall or bulletin board to leave up and refer to during the course of the unit.


Alphabet Book

As part of your study of the American Revolution, you will create an “Alphabet Book” which explains many of the complex terms, people, events, places and concepts associated with this dramatic era of history. You are to use meaningful words and phrases from the materials used in class, as well as from assigned readings and in-class notes. You will include 17 of the 26 letters in alphabetical order. Each entry will have the word at the top of the page, and at least 2 sentences which provide and explanation or definition of the entry’s significance to the American Revolution. Ten of the entries must include an original visual. The ABC book will be due at the end of the unit.  (Rubric available)

Go to and click on Revolutionary War – ABC Book to view samples.


Revolution Times Bulletin Board

To illustrate the role specific events played in the American Revolution, have students write news stories about six of them. Divide the class into six groups. Assign one of the following topics to each group: French and Indian War, Boston Tea Party, Stamp Act, Boston Massacre, Declaration of Independence and the battles of Lexington and Concord. Use the Who, What , When, Where, How graphic organizer and include a visual in the report.  Post each groups new stories in chronological order under the heading Events Leading to the Revolution.


British Rule or Self Government?

Read S.S. Text pp. 214 and 215. Divide students into two groups and simulate a debate between loyalists and patriots. Give students a chance to write down reasons before the debate begins. After the debate, ask students to write a persuasive letter to King George III and Parliament to persuade them that the colonies should have self-government OR  to the colonial governors explaining the importance of colonial obedience to British rule and of cooperating to help pay for the French and Indian War.


Paul Revere’s Ride


Prereading Activity: Show United Streaming And then What Happened Paul Revere?

Review that Paul Revere was a silversmith who made beautiful objects. Allow students to create “sculpt” a bowl or platter with aluminum foil.

Read Paul Revere’s Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


   Committee of Correspondence Assignment

As a member of the Committee of Correspondence, it is your civic duty to keep all the Patriots informed of the misdemeanors of the oppressive British government. Write a letter to another committee member according to the following criteria:

  1. Choose what colony you wish to be from.
  2. Research an event in that colony that helped lead to the American Revolution.
  3. Construct a letter detailing the event in narrative form.
  4. Include at least 10 appropriately used adjectives and underline them.
  5. Include at least 5 linking verbs and highlight them.
  6. Include at least 5 exclamatory sentences and use correct punctuation.
  7. Include at least 3 imperative sentences.


    Lexington Investigation

Students will evaluate different primary sources to see which account of the Battle at Lexington is the most   reliable. Students will be divided into groups of four and given an investigation packet. The packet will consist of 6  primary source documents and 5 copies of a Credibility of Witness Form. Students will be assigned the following roles:


   Recorder - Records the group’s final consensus about the witness’s credibility.


   Reporter – Reports the group’s final decision to the citizens of Lexington at a town meeting.


   Reader 1 – Reads three primary source documents to the group


   Reader 2 – Reads three primary source documents to the group


After listening carefully to each document, students will determine how credible (believable) each document is     by completing a Credibility of Witness form. After each group member has filled in the forms, the group will discuss each document and arrive at a consensus about each document’s credibility. After the groups are finished, a town meeting will be called and each reporter will share the group’s rankings with the town. Other citizens will be given the opportunity to question a group about its rankings.


    Loyalty or Liberty Web Task 

Students will read four different viewpoints about the Revolutionary War. Then students will go to the final task to choose from a variety    of ways to express the side they would like to take. Student should also click on resources to review information to use for the final task. Students will present their final task to the class.



    American Revolution Women’s Quilt

This project gives students the opportunity to get to know significant women of the American Revolution who made a difference.

To prepare activity:

Large roll of paper

White paper cut into 4” x 4” squares ( you may want to do this ahead of time)

Glue, markers and scissors

Assign each group of four students to research one of the women of the American Revolution. Each student should contribute 5 different important facts about the woman. The group will decide which four of the facts are most important to know about the woman and then create four squares that contain one fact about the woman. These squares will be placed together on the large paper to create a “quilt” of  American Revolution Women. Hang the quilt in the classroom and allow each student to share a fact with the class.

    Revolutionary Road Map Web Task

With a partner students will be researching important events from the Revolutionary War, taking notes, and clearly summarizing each event in two sentences, putting their final research into an illustrated road map.




     Revolutionary Research

Students will complete a research paper on a person who contributed to the American Revolution. A list of people will be presented and students may choose the topic of their research. Students will develop questions and then research to find answers to their questions. This information will be documented and incorporated.


Inside Jefferson’s Monticello

After reading books about Thomas Jefferson, students will draw a replica of Jefferson’s Monticello Home on a poster. The windows in the home will be cut so that they can be “opened”. Then the student will place illustrations or cut out pictures of items that relate to accomplishments or talents of Thomas Jefferson on another poster. The pictures on this poster will align with the open window of the Monticello poster so that the student can tell a story about Jefferson’s life as each window is opened.



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Culminating Activity


American Revolution Trading Cards





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Lesson Plans




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Samples of Student Work


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VIII. Professional Development Links


Every Child a Reader and Writer:  One Teacher's Classroom (Video and other information).


Description and Definitions of Each Part of the Writing Workshop





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