Lesson Plan—Unit 3—A New Nation Begins (1750-1791)
Coeburn Middle School
Time needed for completion of each section: part one—3-5 class periods (half hour
periods), part two—minimum of 5 half hour class periods, and part three minimum of 5-7
half hour class periods.
Students will trace the birth of our nation from 1750 to 1791.
Students will research and list the sources of dissatisfaction that led to the
American Revolution and place them on a timeline.
Students will research, list, and tell the contributions of key individuals in
the American Revolution.
Students will, using a timeline, list and tell the significance of the key events
and major battles of the American Revolution.
Students will list and explain the events that had a direct impact on the
writing of the United States Constitution and the ratification process of this
Students will present written and oral reports on their research findings.
When did the birth of our nation really begin? Students will probably say it began when
we gained our independence from England. If they say this, it is understandable, but in
truth, the birth of our nation began long before the actual revolution took place. In this
first activity, students will trace the events that led to our new nation and place them on a
simple timeline. This activity is for 5th grade Social Studies and will cover Virginia
SOLs 5.3 (e,f, and g), 5.4, 5.5, and 5.10.
Student Activity Sheet
Textbook or selected material for study
Social Studies notebook or folder for taking notes
A. Using the textbook or materials being used in class, list the events that preceded the
American Revolution and led to the birth of our nation. Write the date of the event and
write a brief description of the event and tell how it related to our nation’s first steps
toward independence. Make a chart similar to the one shown below.
Date Event Impact on U.S. History
1754 The Albany Plan was This plan, proposed by Benjamin
proposed Franklin, was the first attempt to unite
1755 Braddock’s defeat at Fort The British saw this defeat as a sign the
Duquesne colonists were weak and needed the
protection of England. This battle
would provide valuable information for
the colonists when their war with
England broke out.
Students are to continue this chart, listing events as they read the assigned sections.
B. Students will choose one of the events from the timeline and do a presentation to the
class. Each student will research their topic and present their findings as a play,
report with posters and graphics, or any manner they choose (this may also be done in
C. Students will look at their timeline and answer the following question by writing their
response as a well developed paragraph:
“Which event or events do you think would be considered the main reason the colonists
were ready to fight?”—Remember to support your answer.
Assessment: Students will be assessed on their oral and written reports and also on their
observed participation in the making of the class outline. Students will also be assessed
orally in individual or small group discussions with the teacher. The final assessment
will be the students’ written responses to the questions posed by the teacher and answered
in their Social Studies journal or notebook.
Reflections: The next time I do this project, I want to make certain that every child is
working on something if they are doing this as a group. With special needs children, I
noticed there were times when they were left out of any preparations.
Unit 3—Part 2
War was inevitable between England and her American colonies. Tempers were rising
throughout the land and the cry “taxation without representation is tyranny” could be
heard in every city and town. Our country was growing and becoming more independent.
They simply did not want to be ruled by England any longer. They were ready to go to
any extent, even war, to obtain their freedom. In this activity, you will trace the events of
the Revolutionary War from “the shot heard round the world” to the signing of the peace
treaty when the “world turned upside down”.
A. Students are to read the material and sections assigned by the teacher. In journals
or notebooks, students are to list each date and event as it appears in their text.
Beside the date, they are to write a question about the event that could be used on
a test. Using TimeLiner, they are to list the events and the dates, then go to the
Internet and download pictures of the events. After they have found their
pictures, they are to copy them to their timeline. (Note: They may not find
pictures of every event.)
B. When the students have completed their timelines, have them get with the other
members of their class or group and separate their questions into categories
similar to those you would see on Jeopardy. Have them write their answers on
index cards along with the point values for each question, and place them in
envelopes with the categories written on the outside of the envelope. Take these
up when the groups finish. Now you’ll be ready to challenge your class to a game
of “Revolutionary Jeopardy”.
Internet Sites to Use:
Unit 3—Part 3
Now that the war is over and the treaty is signed, the colonists must now decide how they
are going to govern their nation. In this section, you will learn what out Constitution is
and how it came to be our governing document.
A. Using their text, have the students answer the following questions and place the data
on a timeline.
a. What happened in 1777?
b. What plan was approved in 1781?
c. What ordinance was passed in 1785?
d. In 1787, what did Congress use to decide how the Northwest Territory would
e. What did Spain do in 1784?
f. What rebellion took place in 1787?
g. What convention was to meet was to meet in May 1787?
h. What document was signed on September 17, 1787?
i. New Hampshire was the ninth state to ratify this document in June 1788.
What document is it?
j. In 1789, the first amendments to the Constitution were put forward by James
Madison. The first two were rejected. What name was given to the 10
remaining amendments that were approved?
B. Now, as a small group, have them research each state that ratified and signed the
Constitution. On their group timeline, have them include the state and the date they
ratified the Constitution. Include an outline map of each state on this timeline.
C. With their group, have them discuss and list the things they would like to see on a
Class Constitution or a constitution for their imaginary country. After this has been
completed, have each group select a spokesman to present their thoughts and concerns to
the class. Following the speeches from all group representatives, the class will select the
items from those presented to be written into a Class Constitution. After this constitution
has been written, a vote will be taken and the groups will ratify it.