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Making Sense of The Declaration of Independence

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Grade 5, 6, 7, 8

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About This Product

"Making Sense of the Declaration of Independence," is an engaging, interactive, and collaborative 24-page mini-unit designed to give students in fifth through eighth grades the opportunity to read, critically think about, interpret, and analyze the Declaration of Independence, one of the most important foundational documents in our nation’s history. At the end of this mini-unit, students will have a deep and meaningful understanding of the philosophy of liberty and equality that is underpinning our nation. Students have opportunities to work with a partner, in small groups, and individually. I have included the original text of these articles as well as an annotated version so students can understand the text in plain English. This is particularly helpful for students who are ESL learners, RSP students, and struggling readers.

Learning Targets

  • I can define the word Tyranny, identify words in the Tyranny word family, and come up with examples of what tyranny is and isn’t.

  • I can read and interpret the meaning of the Declaration of Independence.

  • I can use my prior knowledge of the events leading up to the writing of the Declaration of Independence to help me understand the document.

  • I can draw conclusions about the Founders' motivations for deleting the paragraph on slavery.

  • I can create a Say, Mean, Matter visual that shows my understanding of the Declaration of independence.

  • I can work collaboratively with my partner to interpret the Declaration of Independence.

What's Included

A downloadable pdf that includes

--a detailed lesson plan with objectives and learning targets for the skills students will be using that are aligned with the Common Core standards

--a graphic organizer word study on the word Tyranny

--quick notes on a graphic organizer on the Declaration of Independence

--critical thinking questions about the Declaration of Independence which will help students interpret the complexities of the document

--opportunities to analyze and draw conclusions on why the Founders deleted the famous slavery paragraph

--the original text and a paraphrased version of the Declaration of Independence

--a Say, Mean, Matter visual assignment on a passage, phrase, or sentence from the Declaration of Independence to show their understanding of its importance

Resource Tags

U.S. History Critical Thinking constitution declaration of independence 4th of July declaration of independence critical thinking questions

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