U. S. History I 9-12 The effects of the French and Indian War would be long-lasting. The debt of the British Empire led to a series of laws aimed at enforcing mercantilist policy while simultaneously collecting m

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The Revolutionary Era

U.S. History I – 9-12

The effects of the French and Indian War would be long-lasting. The debt of the British Empire led to a series of laws aimed at enforcing mercantilist policy while simultaneously collecting money from colonial holdings in order to pay a small portion of the burden. The argument, that the colonies ought to provide for the military protection in North America and contribute to the costs of the war to defend and expand the empire, fell on deaf ears in many parts of the American colonies. Diverse groups of colonists organized resistance to British policies, and British reactions to resistance only served to strengthen the resolve of the colonists and to increase the conflict between Britain and her colonies. The conflict would soon turn violent, and organized protests evolved into armed resistance. The colonies and Britain fought a war that would end in a treaty recognizing the independence of the North American Colonies and the formation of a new nation: The United States of America.

The American Revolution is a vital story in United States History, and the focus of this unit is on the telling of that story. Students have been introduced to colonial economies and society, and will continue to improve on the skills acquired and developed in the prior unit, including developing a sense of empathy for historical figures, examining bias in primary and secondary sources, and assessing the value of change in society.

Stage 1 Desired Results

USI.1,4 Explain the political and economic factors that contributed to the American Revolution, including resistance to British policies through 1775
USI.2-3 Explain the historical and intellectual influences on the American Revolution, the Declaration of Independence, and the formation and framework of the American government.
RH 9-10.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text
RH 9-10.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social or economic aspects of history/social studies
W 9-10.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
SL 9-10.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.


Students will be able to independently use their learning to…

  • Apply knowledge of political and social systems to participate actively as an informed citizen of a democracy.



U1 – Specific individuals can have a profound impact on history

U2 – History is a story, and who tells that story affects how it is presented
U3 – There is an ongoing debate over the balance between security and liberty
U4 – Revolutions are caused by social, economic, and political inequalities and have outcomes that affect local and global communities


Q1 – What compels people to pursue change?

Q2 – How do we determine what really happened at an historical event?

Q3 – Should personal liberty be sacrificed for the common good?

Q4 – What is a revolution?


Students will know…

Content Vocabulary (Tier Three Words):

The Enlightenment, Social Contract, Natural Rights, Minutemen, Revolution, Loyalist, Patriot, Continental Army, Sons and Daughters of Liberty, Whig, Tory
Academic Vocabulary (Tier Two Words):

Bias, act, primary and secondary sources, perspective, justify, assess, repeal, declare, siege, victor, treaty, symbolism
Democratic ideals were based on previous Enlightenment thinkers. (U1, Q1)
Political and economic factors that contributed to the American Revolution (U2, Q2)
The major causes of the American Revolution, including: The Sugar Act, Stamp Act, Townshend Acts, Quartering Acts, Tea Act, Intolerable Acts, Writs of Assistance, the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party (U4)
Colonial responses to each act and tax, including the Continental Congresses and the Declaration of Independence (U3, Q4)
Key people and groups of people involved in the American Revolution, including: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Paine, Nathaniel Greene, Thomas Gage, Charles Cornwallis, Marquis de Lafayette, Native Americans, Women (U1)
The role of Massachusetts in the American Revolution (U2, Q2)
The major battles of the American Revolution, including: Lexington and Concord, Bunker Hill, Saratoga, Trenton, Yorktown (U2, Q2)
The effects of the American Revolution and how the war changed American politics and geography (U4, Q4)

Students will be skilled at…

Analyzing primary and secondary documents to understand the roots of the American Revolution (U1)

Recognizing the patterns of change over time through passive and aggressive colonial reactions to government policies (Q1)
Identifying sources as credible evidence in historical events such as the Boston Massacre (Q2)
Using secondary sources to understand the competing points of view in the Continental Congress (U2, Q1)
Identifying and analyzing the opposing points of view of patriots and loyalists (U3, U4, Q4)
Writing persuasively about independence (U2, U4, Q3)
Comparing the two sides in the armed American Revolutionary conflict (U4, Q4)
Making inferences about historical situations, such as Valley Forge, based on primary and secondary sources (U1, Q2)
Explaining the important details and significance of key battles in the Revolution (U1)
Using maps to analyze the importance of the Treaty of Paris (U1, U3, U4)
Evaluating the outcomes of the war on underrepresented historical figures (U1, U4, Q1, Q4)
Determining the most historically significant parts of a story in order to tell the most complete version of that story (U2)

Stage 2 – Evidence

Evaluative Criteria

Assessment Evidence

Choice of

Captions and Dialogue
Landscape and

Accuracy and Fulfillment of Criteria



Your goal is to tell the story of the Revolutionary War using images in a creative comic strip, from the road to revolution through the effects of the war (1763-1783).


You are an artist who has been commissioned to explain the story of the American Revolution. You have decided to show the most important events and people of the story of the Revolution through a comic strip.


Your audience is composed of other historians completing the same commission. You will examine each other’s work and give constructive feedback based on your own work and knowledge, and you improve on your own performance through listening to other historians critique your work.


As historians we must determine what happened in the past. We do this by examining primary and secondary sources, filtering out bias, and determining the best possible way to explain our history. History can be told in many forms, and art is one important way our history is told. Through the comic strip medium you will tell the story of the American Revolution


You will be responsible for choosing at least nine historically significant events and, using images as well as words, create a comic strip panel for each event. Ask yourself, does the comic accurately and effectively explain the events both leading up to and immediately following the war? The final copy must be in color.

Standards and Criteria for Success

See rubric


  • Road to Revolution wikipage lessons

  • What Really Happened? Using primary sources, make a claim about what happened at the Boston Massacre

  • SHEG Close Reading: Preamble to the Declaration of Independence

  • Letter to the Editor of the Boston Gazette: In support of or opposition to the Declaration of Independence

  • Two-Column Notes: The War for Independence

  • Documentary Film Making: Alone or in groups, students write the script or create an actual five-minute documentary to present to the class

  • The Winners and Losers: Students write two paragraph persuasive responses to the question “Who were the winners and losers of the Revolutionary War?”

  • Revolutionary Era test

Stage 3 – Learning Plan

Summary of Key Learning Events and Instruction

Lessons to include:

Lesson 1: Evaluating The Road to Revolution: Acts, Protests, and Escalating Violence (U1, U2, U4, Q1, Q2, Q4)

Lesson 2: Examining the Causes and Effects of Declaring Independence (U1, U3, Q1, Q3, Q4)

Lesson 3: The War for American Independence (U1, U2, U4, Q1, Q2, Q4)

Lesson 4: CEPA (U1, U2, U3, U4, Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4)
Lesson 1 – Evaluating The Road to Revolution: Acts, Protests, and Escalating Violence

  • Identify and explain the rights and responsibilities of students and governments

  • Debate the appropriate expression of dissent among citizens

  • Identify and analyze British Acts of the late 18th Century and Colonial Responses, including the use of a timeline, primary and secondary sources, and resources found at http://theroadtorevolution.wikispaces.com/home

  • Assess conflicting points of view in primary and secondary sources describing the Boston Massacre and compose the true account of the event

  • Determine whether the colonists were justified in their reactions to British policies or if their liberty was not in danger

Lesson 2 – Examining the Causes and Effects of Declaring Independence

  • Analyze the causes and effects of the First Continental Congress

  • Examine the events in Massachusetts, including the causes and effects of the Battles of Lexington and Concord and the Battle of Bunker Hill

  • Identify the causes and assess the outcomes of the Second Continental Congress and analyze the members’ contradictory points of view

  • Examine John Locke’s theories of natural rights and the social contract

  • Analyze the preamble to and identify Enlightenment ideals in the Declaration of Independence

  • Assess the reactions to the Declaration of Independence from Patriots and Loyalists and empathize with an historical figure

Lesson 3 – The War for American Independence

  • Compare and contrast the strengths and weaknesses of the British and the Continental Armies at the beginning of the war

  • Examine the conditions of Washington’s army and predict whether conditions will improve or worsen as the war continues

  • Analyze the role of various groups of people involved in the war

  • Evaluate the significance of major battles in the American Revolution by creating documentaries

  • Interpret maps to review the terms of the Treaty of Paris

  • Assess the positive and negative outcomes of the war on America

Lesson 4 – CEPA

  • Examine rubric and anchor papers to recognize elements of high quality comic strips

  • Develop comic strip by identifying important events and people to include in the final product

  • Draft, revise, edit and complete final comic strip

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