Students will understand the following:
For this lesson, you will need:
Adaptations for Older Students:
Consider asking students also to examine other persuasive works by Paine—for example, essays in The American Crisis series and The Rights of Man— and to analyze their rhetorical effectiveness.
You can evaluate your students' arguments, or persuasive essays, using the following three-point rubric:
Three points: exceptionally clearly expressed thesis statement; substantial and varied appeals in support of argument; well-articulated responses to anticipated objections to argument; error-free grammar, usage, and mechanics
Two points: adequately expressed thesis statement; sufficient and varied appeals in support of argument; attempt to respond to anticipated objections to argument; some errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics
One point: inadequately expressed thesis statement; insufficient and unvaried appeals in support of argument; absence of responses to anticipated objections to argument; many errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics
You can have students contribute to the assessment rubric by determining how many and what kinds of appeals the persuasive essays should include.
Supply Line Logistics
Explain to students that the American rebels used initiative, daring, and well-thought-out logistics to win the Revolutionary War. Logistics involves the moving of people and materials from one point to another. Raise the question "How do we handle logistics in modern times?" Encourage students to think about natural disasters such as earthquakes and fires. Assuming their community didn't feel the brunt of a natural disaster, how should that community respond to a nearby community that was devastated? Ask students to describe a relief plan in detail. What would they need to get into the community, and how would they get it there? Alternatively, whom would they have to get out of the damaged community, and how would they go about that task?
A Second Declaration of Independence
If your students have had a chance to study the Declaration of Independence, now give them an opportunity to read or reread Lincoln's Gettysburg Address in light of the declaration. Ask students to comment on how the later document reflects the earlier one. What does Gary Wills, the historian and writer, mean when he says the address marks a refounding of America?
Tom Paine : Voice of Revolution (Milton Meltzer Biographies Series)
Milton Meltzer, Franklin Watts, Incorporated, 1996
Recommended for grades 9-12, this biography of the early American essayist and pamphleteer brings us closer to one of the true patriots of the revolution. Descriptions of Common Sense and other pivotal writings are balanced by insight into his difficult personality.
Wendie C. Old, Enslow Publishers, 1997
An autobiography of George Washington, in the publisher's "United States Presidents" series geared toward junior high school readers, that covers his life from childhood through presidency.
American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence
Pauline Maier, Knopf, 1997
This book describes the second Continental Congress evolving into a national government, the influence of Thomas Paine's book Common Sense , the influence of the document immediately following its signing, and how President Lincoln ensured the Declaration of Independence would remain a living force in American society. It is very scholarly and long, and thus appropriate for older, highly interested and motivated students.
Maryland Loyalists and the American Revolution
Want the other side of the story? This Web site offers information and links about those who remained loyal to Great Britain during the American Revolution.
The Declaration of Independence
What influenced Thomas Jefferson as he wrote The Declaration of Independence? What has happened to the original document? What other documents related to the war and the founding of the new nation are stored at the National Archives? Visit this site to see the documents that shaped a nation.
The Virtual Marching Tour of the American Revolution
This site bills itself as "The Philadelphia Campaign—1777, From Rebels to Mature Army," but it is much more. Really a collection of sites compiled by the Independence Hall Association, the site examines the people, battles, events, and documents of the Revolution.
The History Place: American Revolution
Get background plus all the details you need about the entire course of the American Revolution. The site also includes five tips for students on how to write a better history paper.
The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies
In addition to the Declaration of Independence itself along with the list of signers, this site also offers a "Brief Summary of Events Leading to the American Revolution" and "The Events of 1776 Leading to the Declaration of Independence."
Click on any of the vocabulary words below to hear them pronounced and used in a sentence.
Context: American colonists were known as rebels in their fight against the British.
Context: Taking an inventory of military supplies, the rebels found that they were sorely in need of ammunition.
Context: Washington coveted the military supplies stored in Quebec.
Context: The rebels disagreed as to what they were fighting for, whether to reconcile differences or for independence.
Context: Being mercenaries, the Hessians had no lasting loyalty to the British.
Context: General Clinton planned to deploy 20,000 troops to fight the rebels.
Context: To the rebel fleet, the flotilla of British vessels seemed to approach all at once.
Context: Defection was a problem in the ranks of the rebel army.
This lesson plan may be used to address the academic standards listed below. These standards are drawn from Content Knowledge: A Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K-12 Education: 2nd Edition and have been provided courtesy of theMid-continent Research for Education and Learningin Aurora, Colorado.
Grade level: 6-8
Subject area: civics
Understands the concept of a constitution, the various purposes that constitutions serve, and the conditions that contribute to the establishment and maintenance of constitutional government.
Understands the importance of political leadership, public service, and a knowledgeable citizenry in American constitutional democracy.
Grade level: 6-8, 9-12
Subject area: U.S. history
Understands the causes of the American Revolution, the ideas and interests involved in shaping the revolutionary movement, and reasons for the American victory.
Understands the strategic elements of the Revolutionary War (e.g., how the Americans won the war against superior British resources, American and British military leaders, major military campaigns).
Understands the major developments and chronology of the Revolutionary War and the roles of its political, military, and diplomatic leaders (e.g., George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Richard Henry Lee).
Understands perspectives of and the roles played in the American Revolution by various groups of people (e.g., men, women, white settlers, free and enslaved African-Americans, and Native Americans).
Paula Kasper, media specialist, Hoover Middle School, Rockville, Maryland.
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