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What Tensions did America Face During The Revolutionary War Period?
Unit Designed by: Brenda Cheathon, Tammy Black, Annette Durbin, Donna Williams and Wendy Zorea.

Philosophy of Education
Students who study history should be given opportunities for authentic learning. The Revolutionary War is one piece of the required content that must be covered in the 5th grade. As students study the required material, they will use primary documents from the Revolutionary War that illustrate the tensions America faced. Students will discover that America not only faced the internal tensions related to earning its independence from Britain, but also tensions women and African American’s regarding their rights to freedom.
Students will gain an understanding of our history through instruction that is meaningful and authentic. This is why we choose to introduce primary documents into many of the lessons within this unit. As historians analyze historical documents, students will do the same as they study the Declaration of Independence, laws and letters that were written during this period of tension in the colonies. Students will learn to understand the significance of the primary sources and learn to identify the differing perspectives prevalent during this time period.
Many of the lessons will include the use of an interactive notebook. The notebook is a tool developed by the “History Alive” curriculum. With this tool students engage in thought provoking questions, note taking, and processing of newly learned information. The interactive notebooks encourage cooperative interaction and allows for multiple intelligences. The other benefit to the interactive notebook is that it helps students become academically organized by giving them clear guidelines for creating high-quality notebooks.

The American colonies were struggling with their perceived rights prior to the American Revolution. Colonists became frustrated over the many Acts passed and enforced by Britain including the Stamp Act, Townshend Act, and Intolerable Acts. The new laws caused tensions to rise within the colonies between people who wanted to remain loyal to Britain and those who wanted America to become independent. Following the Declaration of Independence these tensions did not cease and others arose. Women such as Abigail Adams hoped for equality between men and women. Independence and freedom were the ideals of the Revolutionary War yet slavery was highly practiced in the South and legal in all 13 colonies. African Americans wrote many petitions to colonial leaders seeking an end to slavery. This unit will enable students to investigate and analyze the documents created prior to and during the Revolutionary War.
National Council for History
Standard 1: The Student Thinks Chronologically
B. Identify the temporal order in constructing historical narratives or story.
Standard 2: The Student Comprehends A Variety of Historical Sources

  1. Reconstruct the literal meaning of a historical passage by identifying who was involved, what happened, where it happened, what events led to these developments, and what consequences or outcomes followed.

  2. Identify the central questions the historical narrative addresses and the purpose, perspective, or point of view from which it has been constructed.

Standard 3: The Student Engages in Historical Analysis and Interpretation

  1. Compare and contrast differing sets of ideas, values, personalities, behaviors, and institutions by identifying likenesses and differences.

  2. Analyze cause-and-effect relationships bearing in mind multiple causation.

Standard 4: The Student Conducts Historical Research:

  1. Formulate historical questions from encounters with historical documents.

Standard 5: The Student Engages In Historical Issues-Analysis and Decision-Making

  1. Identify issues and problems in the past and analyze the interest, values, perspectives, and points of view of those involved in the situation.

Alaska State Content Standards

  1. A student should understand that history is a record of human experiences that links the past to the present and the future.

7. understand that history is dynamic and composed of key turning points.

8. know that history is a bridge to understand groups of people and individual’s relationships to society.

9. understand that history is a fundamental connection that unifies all fields of human understanding and enedeavor

  1. A student should understand historical themes through factual knowledge of time, places, ideas, institutions, cultures, people, and events.

  1. comprehend the forces of change and continuity that shape human history through the following persistent organizing themes;

d. the consequences of peace and violent conflict to societies and their cultures.

e. major developments in societies as well as changing patterns related to class, ethnicity, race, and gender

  1. A student should develop the skills and processes of historical inquiry.

  1. use historical data from a variety of primary resources, including letters, diaries, oral accounts…maps…photos, historical sites, documents.

  2. apply thinking skills including classifying, interpreting, analyzing, summarizing, synthesizing, and evaluating to understand the historical record.

  3. use historical perspective to solve problems, make decisions and understand other traditions.

  1. A student should be able to integrate historical knowledge with the historical skill to effectively participate as a citizen and as a lifelong learner.

3.define a personal position on issues while understanding the historical aspects of the positions and roles assumed by others.

4.recognize and demonstrate that various issues may require an understanding of different positions, jobs, and personal roles depending on place, time and context.

5. base personal citizenship action on reasoned historical judgment with recognition of responsibility for self and others

English/Language Arts

  1. A student should be able to speak and write well for a variety of purposes and audiences.

  1. Write and speak well to inform, to describe, …, and to clarify thinking in a variety of formats,..(specifically journal writing)

  1. A student should be a competent and thoughtful reader, listener, and viewer of…. a variety of information.

  1. Relate what the student, views, reads, and hears to practical purposes in the student’s own life, to the world outside, and to other texts and experiences.

Enduring Understandings:
At the end of this unit students will understand:

Tensions can cause change in society

People perceive change as positive or negative

Freedom requires a voice

Essential Questions

  • What tensions were present prior to and during the Revolutionary War?

  • What were the causes and results to these tensions?

  • How do people react to tensions in society?

  • What is freedom?

Expected Learning Outcomes

At the end of this unit students will be able to:

  • Identify the leading causes and events of the Revolutionary War.

  • Compare and Contrast Colonial Forces and British Forces.

  • Read and analyze letters and documents written during the time of the Revolutionary War.

  • Understand the tensions women and African Americans endured when colonist declared “All Men Are Created Equal.”

  • Keep an organized notebook on the people, and events of the Revolutionary War.

  • Respond to events of the Revolutionary War in a thoughtful and critical manner.

  • Make connections between tensions in history and current life issues.

Social Studies Concepts





Social Studies Content

Paul Revere, Abigail Adams, Petition of Rights, Sons of Liberty, Boston Tea Party, Taxation without representation, soldier, rebel, Tory, loyalist, American Revolution, Boston Massacre, Thomas Paine,
Social Studies Skills and Dispositions:

(See Alaska Content Standards C and D written in the standards)

Special Note to Teachers:
Most of the primary source documents listed in the lesson plans are in the Social Studies Anthology that goes with our 5th grade text book, The World Around Us. You should have one in your book room. If not, contact Wendy Zorea, Donna Williams, or Brenda Cheathon.

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