Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

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This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic Articles of Confederation, and supports the standard of analyzing how the U.S. was governed before the adoption of the U.S. Constitution. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of projects.

Step 1: ACTIVATE PRIOR KNOWLEDGE

Ask students:

  • What are some important documents from U.S. history?
  • How do these documents affect the way we live today?

Step 2: BUILD BACKGROUND

  • Read aloud the description on the Articles of Confederation topic page
  • Play the Movie, activating the Pause Points to check for understanding. 
  • Have students read one of the following Related Reading articles: “In Depth” or “Politics.” Partner them with someone who read a different article to share what they learned with each other.

Step 3: ENGAGE

Students express what they learned about the Articles of Confederation while practicing essential literacy skills with one or more of the following activities. Differentiate by assigning ones that meet individual student needs.  

  • Make-a-Movie: Create a mini-documentary that answers this question: What were some of the drawbacks of having a weak central government? (Essential Literacy Skill: Determine central ideas)
  • Make-a-Map: Identify the timeline of events leading to delegates drafting the U.S. Constitution. (Essential Literacy Skill: Summarize key details)
  • Creative Coding: Code a newscast announcing the start of Shay’s Rebellion. (Essential Literacy Skill: Summarize key details) 
  • Primary Source: Examine excerpts from the Articles of Confederation and Constitution, then cite text evidence to answer accompanying questions. (Essential Literacy Skill: Evaluate content presented in diverse media) 

Step 4: APPLY & ASSESS 

Apply: Students take the Articles of Confederation Challenge, applying essential literacy skills while demonstrating what they learned about this topic.

Assess: Wrap up the lesson with the Articles of Confederation Quiz

Step 5: EXTEND LEARNING

Related BrainPOP Topics: Deepen understanding of the founding of the United States with these topics: Declaration of Independence, American Revolution, and U.S. Constitution.

Additional Support Resources:

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