Paul Revere’s Ride and the American Revolution

By Stacey Carter, July 5, 2009

Grade Level

  • Elementary School


  • Other

Subject Area

  • Social Studies

Lesson Time

120 Minutes


The American Revolution is an important part of fourth grade curriculum.  Students are expected to know the causes, results, and critical historic figures and events of the American Revolution.  Paul Revere and the Battles of Lexington and Concord are examples of such critical figures and events surrounding the American Revolution. As a result of this social studies lesson, students will have a greater understanding about key American Revolution figures, American Revolution battles, maps, and cause/effect relationships.  Students will achieve the curriculum standards and other expected outcomes by designing alternative war strategies, and explaining how those strategies might have altered history in comparison to what actually happened.  The design process will aid in the implementation of this lesson because students will be expected to review the challenge given by the teachers, investigate the problem, reframe the problem, generate possible solutions, and self-evaluate.  Use of this design process will also include other design strategies like graphic design, “way-finding”, diagrams, illustrations, etc.

National Standards


Students will be able to:
  • understand events leading up to the Battle of Lexington and the contributions of historic figures in the American Revolution
  • use their prior knowledge of maps to assist in their design process
  • understand cause/effect relationships regarding events of the American Revolution


The poem Paul Revere’s Ride by H.W. Longfellow Paul Revere’s Ride by David Hackett Fischer United States History: Early Years published by Houghton Mifflin Paul Revere’s midnight ride Web site: Thin Client Student Computers school library/media center Design Process adapted from CHDI literature


  • handout of the directions
  • grading rubrics/checklist
  • design process brainstorm handout
  • maps associated with Paul Revere’s ride
  • poster board
  • construction paper
  • markers
  • crayons
  • glue
  • pencils
  • paper
  • erasers


There will be a brief review of the vocabulary from Part One of the lesson:
  • Paul Revere: a trusted messenger during the American Revolution
  • Sons of Liberty: a secret organization of American patriots
  • Regulars: the British army


1. (15 minutes) Review Part One of the lesson which should include a general review of Paul Revere’s significance, the Battle of Lexington, and the Battle of Concord in addition to pertinent vocabulary (patriots, Red Coats, cause and effect) [See Appendix D].  During the review is a great time for students to put events into a sequence, as well as to articulate causes of some events and effects of others. 2. (15 minutes) Explain the objectives of the lesson and the directions of the design challenge. (Refer to the appendix for more detailed information about how the standards are met through the design challenge.)  Say, “Today we are going to complete an activity in prearranged pairs of two students that will help us better understand the events leading up to the Battle of Lexington.  In addition, I expect that each of you will form a better understanding of cause/effect relationships.  And some of you will even get to use those precious map skills we’ve worked so hard to acquire. After I put pair you with a partner you will begin the design challenge.  Every group is responsible for completing the design brainstorm handout. (Pass out and preview.) I will also give your group a checklist of tasks that need to be completed.  (Pass out and preview.)  Make sure each member contributes to the design and the design process activities.” (Note: See Appendix A  and B for the Directions/Checklist handout. See Appendix C for the Brainstorm handout.) 3. (2 minutes) Put students into pairs. Either pre-arrange the groups or have students randomly select numbers, colored blocks, etc., from a hat. Student pairs should sit in proximity to one another and have access to the materials needed for the lesson. 4. (38 minutes) Walk around the room as students begin working on their designs.  Be available for questions and clarifications.  For slower groups, offer time increments for each phase and follow-up. 5. (30 seconds) Let students know that they have five minutes left before they will need to start practicing their presentations.  Any pairs that will not finish in the next five minutes need to consult with the teacher at this point. 6. (15 minutes) Pairs practice their presentations. 7. (30 minutes) Each pair gives a brief presentation. 8. Assess students by using the checklist.


The teacher should informally assess students through observation and listening as he/she walks around the room while students are working.  This will give the teacher information about how students are cooperating, following directions, and understanding the objectives of the lesson. The teacher will further know if students have learned the objectives by using the checklist to evaluate their work. Moreover, the teacher will collect the brainstorm handouts once they’ve been completed to get a better understanding about how well students are comprehending what they have learned.  The brainstorm handout is also a good tool to use to find out where you may have lost a student in the process. This lesson can be easily differentiated for the different learning styles of students.  The challenges can be simplified for English language learners.  For example, they could be asked orally to draw a route on a map that might have been easier for the British.  This minimizes text, emphasizes verbal communication, and allows students to use other skills (besides reading and writing) to show their thinking.

Enrichment Extension Activities

The challenges can also be expanded to include other levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. For example, the challenges could also ask students to explain how history would have been altered if the plan/design they devised worked.

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