Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

*Click to open and customize your own copy of the Articles of Confederation Lesson Plan.

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.


Ask students:

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


  • 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: APPLY and ASSESS 

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


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?
  • Make-a-Map: Identify the timeline of events leading to delegates drafting the U.S. Constitution. 
  • Creative Coding: Code a newscast announcing the start of Shay’s Rebellion. 
  • Primary Source: Examine excerpts from the Articles of Confederation and Constitution, then cite text evidence to answer accompanying questions.

More to Explore

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

Teacher Support Resources: