Last week while we were at Disney World, I was in line with two young people. The girl was in 5th grade and she said she liked Social Studies but hated learning about the Revolutionary War because it was so boring. After talking with her while we were in a very long line, she seemed very mature and smart so I was disappointed to hear that she found this topic boring. I loved learning about the Revolutionary War and also teaching it. She said it was all about facts and boring dates but wasn’t very interesting.
So, I began to think about the activities I enjoyed doing while learning and what activities I enjoyed teaching my students to do. If I was her teacher, these are some activities I would have my students do while learning about the Revolutionary War. I wish this young lady was in my classroom because I think she would enjoy doing some of these activities.
· I think it is important to personalize this for students so they can relate to what is going on during that time. I like to focus on important characters during the time like George Washington, Benedict Arnold, Mary Draper, John Paul Jones, Paul Revere and many others. Imagine what kind of letters they might write to their family members (wife, daughter, son, mother etc.). What would they tell them? Why do they think it is important to be an independent country?
· Think about the soldiers and the conditions that they are facing while in war. Have the soldier write a letter home describing what the conditions are like. Maybe have the family member write back and tell what life is like back at home and what the soldier is missing.
· Imagine that a soldier deserts his troop but is caught. Act out his trial with witnesses and testimony.
· Pretend you are Thomas Paine and write a newspaper with articles about what is going on during the American Revolution. What events would you cover? What people would you interview?
· Imagine that you are a citizen and are on the side of the British. Write an editorial to the newspaper.
· Imagine that you are in favor of the revolution. Write an editorial to the newspaper.
What other activities do you think students would enjoy? Please share.