Historical Scene Investigations

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How does each battle shape the outcome of the Revolutionary War?

The case

The Revoluationary War was fought in many places throughout the 13 colonies. Each battle helped shape the war, and the people who fought in it. The words of those who participated shape our understanding of those battles and their historical significance.

Students will investigate the following questions:
- What allowed the battle to be won and lost?
- How did the battle help shape the war?
- How did it affect the morale/emotions of those involved?

Student Books:

Barnes, Ian. The Historical Atlas Of The American Revolution. New York: Routledge, 2000. Print

Bobrick, Benson. Fight For Freedom. New York: Atheneum Books For Young Readers, 2004. Print

The American Revolutionaries. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Junior Books, 1987. Print

The Spirit of Seventy Six. New York: Da Capo Press, 1995. Print

Becoming a detective

1. Students are assigned/choose battles from the Revolutionary War (see attached list titled ‘Battle Choices’)

2. Students have 2 – 3 days of research using the resources provided in this document

- Students get a relevant primary source quote from participants in the battle and make predictions/answer questions before beginning research, based on the quote (student recording sheet attached as ‘Quotes Questions’*)

- Pre-research question:

- Using the quote above from the person who participated in the battle, make a prediction about what you think might happen in this battle.

- Research the battle and choose 5 out of 7 ‘Thin’ questions to answer (student recording sheet is attached as ‘Thick and Thin Questions’*).

1.) Who is involved in this battle? Who ‘won’ this battle?

2.) When and where was this battle fought?

3.) Why was the battle fought? What were they fighting over/for?

4.) List 3 key facts/details about the battle.

5.) How many British/colonists/Natives were fighting in this battle? How many were killed/wounded?

6.) Who were the key people involved in this battle? List at least 2 from each side of fighting.

7.) List 2 – 3 interesting facts you learned while researching.

- Research the battle and choose 6 out of 9 ‘Thick’ questions to answer.

1.) What do you think was the most important reason why one side won the battle and the other side lost?

2.) What do you think was the most important lesson learned from the winning side and those that were defeated?

3.) Was this battle/event a turning point in the Revolution? Why? What changed after it?

4.) What was the most memorable moment of the battle/event you studied? Write it in a sentence that has 12 words or fewer.

5.) How do you think this battle effected events later in the War?

6.) If you were a teacher and could only teach your students about 2 – 3 battles in this war, would you choose to include this one in your lesson plans? Defend why or why not.

7.) How was this battle affected by those that came before it, and how did it affect those that would follow?

8.) How do you think soldiers on each side felt after this battle? Give at least one reason why you think this based on evidence.

9.) If you were commanding the colonists/British/Natives after this battle, what would be your next move and why?

3. After researching, students answer the post-research question based on the initial quote they received.

- Post-research question

After researching the battle, what do you think the importance of this quote was as it relates to the battle? Was your initial prediction correct/on the right track – why or why not?

Cracking the case

After researching, students will choose a format in which to share information about the battle they researched in a jigsaw format. The project description and rubric are in attached document ‘Project Directions and Rubric’. Here are options the kids may choose to present their material (students may also choose another format which can be approved by the teacher):

  • PowerPoint

  • Poster

  • Travel brochure for the battle site

  • Digital Storytelling

  • Letter home to family as a soldier in the battle

  • Letter as a member of a Committee of Correspondence

  • Plan for battle strategy drawn up by army commander

  • Poem

  • Short play or re-enactment

  • Song

  • Battlefield Monument Plaque

  • Storyboard with illustrations and key points

All projects must include:

  • Name and date of the battle

  • Description of key events (in written, timeline, or map format)

  • Description of feelings of soldiers during/after battle

  • Results or impacts of battle

Rubric for Scoring

1 -

History Novice

2 -

Historian-in-training

3 -

History Buff!

Did not include name or date of battle Included either name OR date of battle Included both name and date of battle
Did not describe all key events in battle Describe SOME key events of battle Described all key events of battle
Did not describe any feelings soldiers had during/after battle Describe SOME key events of battle Fully described feelings of soldiers during/after battle
Did not explain results or impacts of the battle Explained either the results OR impacts of the battle Explained the results and impacts of the battle

Student did not demonstrate time, effort, and thought in this project

Student partially demonstrated time, effort, and thought in this project Student fully demonstrated time, effort, and thought in this project

Differentiation

  • Resources have a variety of reading levels

  • Assessment product is a choice-based product

  • Resources can be modified by the teacher to meet a variety of student needs

Extensions

  • Certain battle/event choices (Trenton, Saratoga, Valley Forge, and Yorktown) have abundant information and students can do additional research in areas of interest

 

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