Articles of Confederation Lesson Plan
By Deven Black, MS 127 TAH Teacher/Historian
Unit Goal: Like the framers of the US Constitution, the 7th grade students will use the processes of
proposal, debate, negotiation, compromise, decision making, and planning to establish a constitution
specifying the framework, operating rules and responsibilities of a student government for this school.
Lesson Objective: The students will brainstorm and record in writing ideas for solving some of the
problems that resulted from the Articles of Confederation.
What can happen if there is too little government, if the government is too weak?
Do the ideas you generated connect to the goals of the revolution? Is so, how? If not, why not?
Who would be helped by the ideas you generated? Are there people or interests who would be hurt by
Why didn’t the Articles of Confederation work?
Which problem seems most important? Why?
Standard: Standard 1: History of the United States and New York -- Students will use a variety of
intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of major ideas, eras, themes, developments, and
turning points in the history of the United States and New York.
Standard 5: Civics, Citizenship, and Government -- Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to
demonstrate their understanding of the necessity for establishing governments; the governmental
system of the United States and other nations; the United States Constitution; the basic civic values of
American constitutional democracy; and the roles, rights, and responsibilities of citizenship, including
avenues of participation.
Materials Needed: Copy of the Articles of Confederation; Chart: Powers Granted/Powers Denied in the
Articles of Confederation (socialstudiesforkids.com); Chart: problems resulting from the Articles of
Confederation (teacher created); t-chart worksheets for recording results of brainstorming (teacher
created); student journals.
Motivation/Connection: A KWL chart generated last session identified the need to learn about how the
former colonies governed themselves once the Revolution was won. (5 minutes)
Show: KWL chart.
Discuss: The British are gone, are the colonies still colonies? What are they? Who’s in charge?
Show: Chart: Powers Granted/Powers Denied; Chart: problems resulting
Discuss: The former colonists feared strong government. Most states had constitutions. The A of
C were created to make rules for the government, but also to restrict its power. This led to problems
settling disputes, dealing with foreign countries or even trade between states, and the problem of
states printing their own money. Not to mention how to pay for government. (10-15 minutes)
Activity: The students will work in groups to brainstorm ideas for solving some of the problems caused
by the C of A. Ideas will be recorded on a t-chart worksheet. (15 minutes). Students will then write in
their journal about the ease or difficulty of creating solutions to these problems and the thought
processes involved (5-10 minutes)
Share: Students will share ideas generated and thoughts about the process (5-10 minutes)
Criteria for evaluation: 1) Group processes: students were on task, took turns, sought input from all
2) Brainstorming: quantity of ideas generated, pertinence of the ideas to the problems; 3) Journal:
quality of reflection.