Lesson Plan

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This is a 3 day Lesson Plan where the students examine primary and secondary sources regarding the Battle of Lexington. The will watch 2 videos and examine primary source documents. The will make observations on their analysis and record their observations about the Amos Doolittle print on a voicethread. 

Mastery Objectives:

Historical Benchmarks:  -Analysis of primary and secondary sources
-Engaging in inquiry and understanding the role it plays in historians' work

Content Standards:      - Students will be able to understand what a primary source is and what a secondary source is.
                                    -Students will be able to understand the role a historian plays by examining sources and looking at different points of view
                                    -Students will be able to make observations and be able to discuss the Battle of Lexington from both the British and Patriot points of view

Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum
5.17 Describe the major battles of the Revolution and explain the factors leading to American victory and British defeat. A. Lexington and Concord. (1775)

Background Reading: The Minute Man and Their World, Chapter 2, “The Reluctant Revolutionaries” and  Paul Revere’s Ride, Read pp. 113-128 “The March” The Ordeal of the British Infantry, pp. 138-144 “The Alarm”.

Materials: (see Resources page of Blog for links)
Primary Sources: Amos Doolittle print, firsthand accounts from John Robbins, Lexington Militia and Jeremy Lister and John Barker of the British Army.
Secondary Sources: Jim Hollister and Alex Cain videos
Student Worksheet, “What Really Happened”
Voicethread.com is the website needed to create you our own class voicethread.

Day 1
Students start by talking about the question written on the board,
“How do we know the history of past events long ago?”   Class discussion to review previously covered topic of what history is. Students may bring up (or you can) that we know the history we do know comes from either word of mouth passed down or by the written documents that people who witnessed history. 

Introduce the vocabulary words: Primary source and Secondary source. A Primary source is from someone or something that witnessed history.  This can be a written document, a drawing or piece of art, an artifact or even a building.  A secondary source is information that has been gathered by researchers and recorded in books, articles, and other publications.

Show the students the video “How to Be a Soldier”, Jim Hollister Video, Minute Man Park Ranger. (3 minutes) Before you show the video have the students write one thing down in their notebooks that he says about what it was like to be a soldier.  (The video discusses what it was like to be a rank & file soldier and how confusing it could be).

After students view the video and discuss what is said about being a soldier.  Ask the students was this a primary or secondary source? (Secondary) Why? (Jim Hollister did not actually witness being a rank & file soldier during the Revolution). Discuss with students that the life of a soldier back then was not fun or glamorous.  You can talk briefly (background reading) that British soldiers wore heavy and uncomfortable clothing and sometimes marched for days as discussed in the Jim Hollister video.

New Material:

Write: What is the role of a historian? on the board.  Have students write in their social studies notebooks the question. Then write on the board:” The job of a historian is to examine the documents or evidence left behind and ask questions”

Questions such as:
1)    How do we know this information? Who/Where did we get the information?
2)    Why did this person write this down? What was their point of view?
3)    When was this information recorded?

Tell the students over the next 2 days we will be wearing our “historian” hats and examining two different points of view on one event: The Battle of Lexington.

Hand out the Student Worksheet(s) What Really Happened? Tell students to turn to 2nd page where it lists C) Alex Cain Video: Have students watch this video (@14 minutes) and see if they can answer the questions on the worksheet.  Wrap up Day 1 lesson by discussing this video and the information: this was a secondary source, What was the Lexington Training Ban? What happened when the British first arrived on the scene? Who fired the first shot? What does he say happened to the Lexington soldiers? British soldiers?

**Prior to Day 2 you’ll need to go to Voicethread and set up an account for yourself and register student accounts for each of your students.  I posted some instructions on the home page of this blog as well as a Class Manager  document that helps you set up your account. You will need some extra time set aside ahead of time to set this up.  You will also need to decide how your students will comment either by webcam, external microphone, typing or by calling on the phone prior to Day 2 so your students will be able to log onto your voicethread and respond.

Day 2
New Material (cont.)

Start Day 2 by reviewing what we “historians” learned last time about the Battle of Lexington.

Tell the students that today they will be working with a partner to review some primary source documents on that day April 19, 1775 as they complete their Student Worksheet “What Really Happened” parts A) and B).

A)   Hand out copies of the firsthand accounts from John Robbins, Lexington Militia and Jeremy Lister and John Barker of the British Army to each team.  Explain that these documents have the actual words used by this person (primary source) up top and then any vocabulary that might be unfamiliar to them in the middle and at the bottom is a translated version of the same account but in modern day English. Have the teams work together to answer the questions on their worksheet.

Processing and making connections

While students are working on A) pull one or two groups to look at the Amos Doolittle print, Battle of Lexington. (See the Resources page for link: make copies and blow up if possible or show on the overhead projector) Explain this is a primary source engraving made by Amos Doolittle who was an eyewitness on April 19, 1775.  Instruct the teams to take some time to examine the print and then independently write down their observations on part B) on their student worksheet.  Let them know they will be recording (responding) their observations with you when they are ready.  Have 1 or 2 students work with you in the back of the classroom or out in the hallway to record their observations on voicethread. (If you are recording or using a webcam you will want a quieter spot to do the recording. If students are typing in their responses this will not matter). Cycle through all teams until you are finished or run out of time. Teams that don’t have a chance to record today will be able to next time.

Day 3

Start Day 3’s lesson by letting teams who have not recorded their observations on the Amos Doolittle print or the First Hand Observations will finish today.
(Depending on how many if any you need to finish then move on the Summarizer & Assessment)

Summarizer  (adapted from the lesson plan from the Minute Man National Park.)

** Optional: Show students your finished Voicethread for your class and let them hear one another’s thoughts on the Doolittle print**

Use the questions below to summarize what students have learned from examining the engraving and eyewitness accounts:

What was the British point of view regarding what happened at the Battles of Lexington?

What were the colonial points of view regarding what happened at the Battles of Lexington?

Have students write down their responses in their Social Studies notebooks, then discuss with a classmate next to them for 2 minutes and then ask for volunteers to add their opinions.

Assessment (adapted from the lesson plan from the Minute Man National Park.)

Imagine that you are a British soldier, a colonial minute man, or a citizen of Lexington or Concord in 1755. In a letter, a friend asks you, “What really happened on April 19th ?” Answer your friend in letter form, using information you learned in this lesson.  In your letter make sure to let us know who you are and give reasons to support your point-of-view.

(You can do the letter writing portion in your English Language Arts block if not enough time).