Historical Scene Investigations

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Who fired the first shot at Lexington Green?

The case

Students will have studied the economic development of the colonies and the causes and effects of the French and Indian War. They will understand the growing anger in the American colonies towards British control and taxation.

Student Books:

  1. For Liberty: The story of the Boston Massacre by Timothy Decker

  2. A History of Us : From Colonies to Country volume 3 by Joy Hakim.

Becoming a detective

Working as a “Defense Team” you and your fellow historians will create and present a defense for either the American Colonists or the British soldiers involved in the incident that occurred on Lexington Green on April 19, 1775 (some say the shots fired on this day were actually the start to the American Revolution).

Investigating the evidence

Develop a general understanding of what occurred in Lexington and Concord on the day of April 19th, 1775 by reading chapter 13 of Joy Hakim’s book , A History of Us :From Colonies to Country volume 3. Individually summarize what you learned about the Battle of Lexington, by composing 5-6 thin and/or thick questions for the chapter. You will exchange and answer these questions with fellow group members.

In groups, examine sources 1, 2 and 3 (the images). Analyze each image by answering the questions in the attached chart. We will discuss your analysis of these pictures as a class when you are done.

Searching for clues

Conduct your investigation of the Battle of Lexington to determine who fired the first shot: the colonists or the British soldiers. Divide the sources among the four members of your group. You will work with one other member of your group to analyze the sources you were assigned. You should complete a “Steps to Creating History” sheet for EACH source you analyze.

Cracking the case

Meet together with all the members of your group. Discuss the sources you analyzed. Come to an agreement on which side you think fired the first shot. This will require some careful listening and convincing! Use the sources to prove what you believe to be the truth. It may not be easy, but ALL GROUP MEMBERS MUST COME TO AN AGREEMENT. Once you all agree, you can proceed to the next step.

Create your defense. You will be presenting your defense for the side your group selects (colonist or British soldier) to the class. In your presentation, you must convince the class that you are correct by using evidence from the primary sources. To do so, you will have to complete at least 5 “Evidence Sheets”. You will be able to use the SMART board during your presentation to highlight the evidence in the sources for the class.

Present your defense. All group members will present the evidence that supports the side your group is defending (colonists or British soldiers) in response to the HSI question: Who fired the First Shot at Lexington Green? You MUST use direct evidence from the sources in presenting your defense. At least 5 pieces of evidence from the sources must be used in presenting your defense.

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