Fighting for a New Nation

By Shekela Edwards, July 19, 2009

Grade Level

  • Middle School


  • Other

Subject Area

  • Social Studies

Lesson Time

240 minutes for classroom activities


Students will participate in an introduction activity to assess prior knowledge about the American Revolution.  The students will research the roles of heroic women and men who fought for their freedom from Great Britain.  The students will research before, during, and after the American Revolution.  Upon completion of the research, the students will follow the design process to develop ideas and a plan for how to create civil solutions that could have avoided the American Revolution between Great Britain and the Colonists.

National Standards

United States History
Standard 6. Understands the causes of the American Revolution, the ideas and interests involved in shaping the revolutionary movement, and reasons for the American victory Standard 7. Understands the impact of the American Revolution on politics, economy, and society Standard 8. Understands the institutions and practices of government created during the Revolution and how these elements were revised between 1787 and 1815 to create the foundation of the American political system based on the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights

Common Core State Standards

English Language Arts Standards Writing 

Grade 6-8

Text Types and Purposes:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.2 Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.2.A Introduce a topic clearly, previewing what is to follow; organize ideas, concepts, and information into broader categories as appropriate to achieving purpose; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.2.B Develop the topic with relevant, well-chosen facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.2.C Use appropriate and varied transitions to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.2.D Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.2.E Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.2.F Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.3 (See note; not applicable as a separate requirement)

Production and Distribution of Writing:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.5 With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed.

Research to Build and Present Knowledge:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.7 Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.9 Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
English Language Arts Standards: Speaking and Listening

Grade 6-8

Comprehension and Collaboration:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6-8.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6-8.1.A Come to discussions prepared, having read or researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence on the topic, text, or issue to probe and reflect on ideas under discussion.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6-8.2 Analyze the purpose of information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and evaluate the motives (e.g., social, commercial, political) behind its presentation.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.8.3 Delineate a speaker's argument and specific claims, evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and relevance and sufficiency of the evidence and identifying when irrelevant evidence is introduced.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6-8.4 Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen details; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6-8.5 Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence, and add interest.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6-8.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. (See grade 8 Language standards 1 and 3 here for specific expectations.)


Students will understand:
  • the causes of the American Revolution, the ideas and interests involved in forging the revolutionary movement, and the reasons for the American victory
  • the impact of the American Revolution on politics, economy, and society



  • paper
  • pen
  • pencils
  • computer
  • internet Web sites
  • graphic organizer



Lesson 1: 1. Teacher will introduce the lesson.  Teacher will conduct a class discuss on the slogan “No Taxation without Representation”.  Students will discuss what it means and explain how that slogan was the most important complaint the colonists had against Great Britain. 2. Teacher will conduct class discussion about the American Revolution.  Students will discuss the causes and the effects of the war on the colonists.  (The design process and The American Revolution should be taught prior to this lesson.) 3. Students will choose group members. Lesson 2: 1. Teacher will give students the design challenge: Background: The American Revolution started as a dispute over the imposing of British law on the American colonists.  This disagreement started because Great Britain needed money to pay their debt from the “Seven Years War” protecting the colonists.  Great Britain believed that the colonists should share in the cost of the war.  The colonists hated the new taxes and questioned Great Britain’s authority to tax them without representation. Challenge: Develop ideas and a plan on how to create civil solutions that could have avoided the American Revolution between the Great Britain and Colonists. 2. Students work in teams and research the following: a) What were the reasons colonists resented Great Britain imposing new laws and taxes on them? b) In what ways did the colonists show their discontent with the actions taken by Great Britain after the Intolerable Act was imposed? Teacher will provide assistance if needed. Lessons 3 and 4: 1. Students will begin to generate possible solutions and begin to develop possible ideas and prototypes for the challenge.  Teacher will provide assistance if needed. Lesson 5: 1. Students will share ideas and prototypes with group members to make their final selection of possible solutions to the challenge. Lesson 6: 1. Students will present their design projects to the class who will pose as American colonists and as the British Parliament.  


Students will present their design projects to the class. The students will use a rubric to evaluate the projects.

Enrichment Extension Activities

Having completed the research students could engage in a class debate about the American Revolution. The students can compare and contrast the different views of the colonists and the British about money, representation, and freedom. Students could discuss the best solutions provided in the design based projects and further discuss how American history would have been changed if the Revolutionary War had not occurred.  

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