Monday, March 19, 2012

American Revolution!

My third graders are currently studying the American Revolution in Social Studies. This topic is so immense and complicated to understand so when I sat down to plan out my unit I tried to incorporate as many "fun" and "hands on" activities as I could. Google was my first stop! I found a lot of ideas on there and adapted many to fit my classroom.

One of the best ideas I found was to explain taxes to students. This is a very complicated topic so I was glad to find there were some ideas to make it a bit simpler for my students! I passed out 12 jelly beans to each student. I told them that this was their "money" for working hard during the week, but I told them that they were not allowed to use/eat it yet. I then pretended to be a king and imposed many taxes on my students! They each had a card that listed some of the things their character/colonist would need to buy. When their item matched one of my taxes I took some of the jelly beans. In the end they each ended with none or one jelly bean and I ended up with all of the extra! We talked about how they felt and how the king felt! We also talked about how this related to taxes! This activity worked perfectly and my students now have a decent understanding of taxes!!

We have also been creating a timeline together. At the end of the unit the students will be creating their own personal mini-timeline.

It is a bit hard to see, the picture came out dark and there are a lot of things behind it, but I created a road and glued mini-clothes pins to the dates listed. Every time we talk about a new event, we add it to our timeline. Here are a few close-ups!

One of the activities that the kids loved was holding a mock Sons of Liberty meeting. Using a brown paper bag I created secret messages for the kids. I wrote them each a letter (in my best revolutionary war phrasing) and then using juice from a lemon I wrote a secret message (Sons of Liberty Meeting, Benches at 10:30) Using a wet paper towel I revealed the secret message to each student. They loved looking over their shoulders to make sure the soldiers didn't see us meeting. At our meeting I lead them to creating a plan for the Boston Tea Party! The kids loved this and it really helped them to understand!


  1. My 5th graders will love the secret message.
    Thanks for sharing.

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