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Social Studies Unit 2 - The Constitution
Students are learning the following:
In February 1787, Congress asked the states to send delegates to a convention, or meeting, in Philadelphia to fix the weak Articles of Confederation. When they arrived in May of 1787, James Madison had a plan for a whole new government. The framers faced many challenges when framing the Constitution, but one of the greatest problems they faced was the diversity of the states. The delegates to the convention worked out a compromise to meet the needs of smaller and larger states alike.
Students will be able to identify James Madison as a delegate from Virginia who had a whole new plan for the government when he arrived in Philadelphia. He had helped develop the Virginia Constitution and used that as the basis for the debate that took place about the Constitution in 1787. He was also the chief recorder for the notes during the convention. He argued for a strong central government that would unify the country. He is considered to be one of the main authors of the Constitution since it was his Virginia Plan that was the model on which it was based.

Students will be able to explain that “We the People” means all people in the United States. It shows that the power to govern belongs with all the people. This is popular sovereignty, or the principle that the power of a state and its government is created and sustained by the consent of its people, through their elected representatives (Rule by the People), who are the source of all political power. By voting and being active citizens people retain their sovereignty.
Vocabulary: preamble, reflection, consent, governed, popular sovereignty

Students are reviewing the following:
Declaration of Independence
The purpose of the Declaration of Independence was to
officially inform King George III  and other countries that America was no longer a part of Great Britain. Students will learn that in April of 1776, in the middle of the Revolutionary War, the colonies sent representatives to the Second Continental Congress. This congress chose Thomas Jefferson to write the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson occupied the second floor of a bricklayers house in Philadelphia and this is where he wrote the Declaration of Independence. It was only seventeen days from the time he wrote the Declaration of Independence to the time it was presented to Congress and approved on July 4, 1776 (Independence Day). (highlight and right click) 

Key Battles of the Revolutionary War
*Students should distinguish the battles of Lexington and Concord in April 1775 as the beginning of the Revolutionary War. Students will be able to explain how Paul Revere was waiting on the signal from the church tower in order to make the ride from Boston to Concord warning residents that the British were coming. The British were attempting to seize weapons and ammunition stockpiled by the colonists in Concord. When soldiers arrived in Lexington at the town green, a British major yelled for the militia to disarm. The minutemen dispersed and a shot rang out (historians do not know who fired the first shot) and this marked the first shot of the Revolutionary War. This is often called “the shot heard round the world.”
*Students should recognize the Battle of Saratoga as the turning point/climax of the Revolutionary War. General John Burgoyne lost two battles at Saratoga because it took his troops so long to travel with equipment through the dense woods. This allowed the American soldiers time to gather until they outnumbered and defeated the British. Benjamin Franklin used this battle to convince France to help America win the war. Students will also discuss the role Benedict Arnold played in the Battle of Saratoga. He was a general who fought in this battle and played a major part in forcing the surrender of General Burgoyne at Saratoga. He did not feel he received the credit he deserved, and decided to switch sides to help the British. In doing so, he became one of the most famous “traitors” of all time.
*Students should be able to identify Yorktown as the last major battle of the war. General George Washington and the Continental Army needed this important victory even though
his troops were discouraged and lacked the supplies they needed. Washington decided to attack General Cornwallis at Yorktown because the French could help him.
Vocabulary: major events, factors, victory, defeat, battle, force, attempted, physical geography, battle
site, benefit

Key People of the Revolution
King George III (ruler of Britain during the American Revolution)
George Washington (general during the American Revolution, 1st President of the United States, and a Founding Father of our country)
Benjamin Franklin (helped edit the Declaration of Independence; drew one of the first political cartoons)
Thomas Jefferson (Author of the Declaration of Independence, a Founding Father, and 3rd President of the United States)
Benedict Arnold (American hero in the Revolutionary War until he switched sides and fought for Britain, becoming one of the most famous traitors in American history)
Patrick Henry (Politician, lawyer, one of the leading figures in the revolutionary movement, and famous for his “give me liberty or give me death” speech; later governor of Virginia)
John Adams (a Founding Father of our country, a lawyer and diplomat who served as the first vice president and second president of the United States),
Paul Revere (a silversmith and patriot most famous for his role in warning the people along the way to Lexington and Concord that the British soldiers were coming; he was also a member of the Sons of Liberty) 
Black regiments (The first Rhode Island Regiment, known as the "Black
Regiment" due to its recruitment of free Blacks in 1778).

Vocabulary: describe, influence, individuals, regiments

Causes of the American Revolution:  French and Indian War, Boston Tea Party, Boston Massacre, Sons of Liberty, Daughters of Liberty, 1765 Stamp Act, "No Taxation Without Representation"

Students will be required to learn and discuss the causes of the revolutionary movement as well as explain its main events. Students will learn about how the movement began with the French and Indian War, in which Britain and France fought over control of the Ohio River Valley. Students will explore how many American Indian nations united with the French to fight against the colonists and Britain. In order for students to understand “No Taxation Without Representation,” students must learn how Britain won this war and had large war debts as a result. These debts led to Parliament passing laws that taxed the colonists to pay for the war. Students will learn about how the Stamp Act was passed in 1765, which put a tax on the use of paper. Colonists objected to this tax because they did not have representatives to speak for them in Parliament related to this and other issues. Students will also be able to explain how the activities of the Sons of Liberty (attacking tax collectors, boycotting, spying on the British soldiers, etc.) and Daughters of Liberty (making their own cloth instead of buying from Britain, later boycotting tea) protested the Stamp Act as well as the Act’s ending. They will be able to explain the details of the Boston Massacre, in which a squad of British soldiers were sent to control a heckling, snowball throwing group of people. They will also examine the Boston Tea Party, in which colonists dressed up as Mohawk Indians and dumped tea into the Boston Harbor. 

Vocabulary: trace, revolutionary movement, taxation, representation, liberty, massacre


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