The American Revolution is an interesting and complicated part of American history. Teachers can make this topic accessible to students by developing engaging activities that bring important events and historical figures to life! Children can explore the life experiences of colonists through the arts or use primary source documents to learn important facts about events like the Boston Tea Party or Paul Revere’s ride. Pick a few of the activities from this list to make your social studies class truly revolutionary!
1. Word Search
This simple word search is an excellent, low-prep option for a center activity! Students will review topical vocabulary and identify important figures from the Revolutionary War as they hunt for them in the puzzle. Have students race for some friendly competition too!
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2. Class Vote
Teach students about exercising their right to vote, sharing opinions, and having friendly debates with this interactive activity where they must pick a side! Students should be prepared to justify their support of the Patriots or Loyalists with a few facts or figures from the time of the American Revolution.
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3. Escape Room
Bring the mystery and collaboration of an escape room to your social studies class with this printable activity. Students will solve clues and codes all relating to the causes of the war. As they play, they will learn about events like the Boston Massacre, Stamp Act, etc.
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4. The Spies’ Clothesline
This incredible STEM challenge integrates writing, problem-solving, and social studies as students develop a secret message-sharing clothesline like those used by spies during the Revolution. Children will put themselves into the shoes of colonists as they use trial and error to create these functional models!
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5. Ducksters Research
Ducksters are a treasure trove of information for students when researching important historical events. It covers everything from the major events before the war, to key battles, to specific information on what life was like during that time. Students can even test their knowledge with a quiz after they read!
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6. News Columnists
Inspire budding journalists in your midst by having students write the “front page news” from the perspective of those living during the Revolutionary War. Possible topics include “interviews” with key figures, casualty reports, depictions from period artists, or whatever concepts showcase American life in this era.
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7. Spy Quotes
This activity requires a small purchase, but it’s worth it to bring a bit of spy-related fun to your history lessons! Instead of a typical quiz, have students record who they think spoke famous quotes in invisible ink (you can use erasable highlighters or purchase these pens on Amazon!).
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8. Interactive Notebook Foldable
A key topic to cover during any study of the American Revolution is why exactly it happened. In this foldable, students will record what they know about four major events, including the French and Indian War, taxation, the Boston Massacre, and the Intolerable Acts in this interactive notebook Freebie!
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9. George vs. George
Students will learn to consider others’ points of view as they complete this classroom activity. After reading the book George Vs. George: The American Revolution as Seen from Both Sides, students can use this freebie to compare and contrast both leaders and what their motivations were for the American Revolution!
Learn More: Teachers Pay Teachers
10. PBS Liberty
The Liberty Series from PBS details the course of the American Revolution for viewers through dramatic reenactments. PBS has a whole teacher site devoted to utilizing the entire series in the classroom, with lesson plans, quizzes, and arts integration extensions where children can learn about the music of the Revolutionary War!
Learn More: PBS
11. The Candy Tax
This role-playing activity will help your students bring history to life. To explore the concept of taxation without representation, a “king” and “tax collectors” will require “colonists” to give up pieces of candy according to intolerable new tax laws. It’s a perfect way to generate perspective-taking about historic events!
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12. Cut and Paste Timeline
Having children assemble a timeline of events will help them to better understand the connections between key occurrences and have a deeper understanding of how those experiencing them might have felt! Have them complete this as a standalone activity or add new pieces as you cover more!
Learn More: The Clever Teacher
13. Adopt a Character
Help students understand the experience of the Revolutionary War through this role-playing activity. Assign each student an identity as a Patriot, Loyalist, or Neutralist, and let them keep the role as you share opinions, hold debates, and experience things like “taxation.”
Learn More: The Clever Teacher
14. The Women of the Revolution
From graphic novels to biographies, there are some amazing resources out there to help students learn about the incredible women who contributed to the American Revolution. Students can read about important figures like First Lady Martha Washington, brave spy Phoebe Fraunces, and Paul Revere’s news-spreading contender Sybil Ludington.
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15. American Revolution Flipbook
These pre-made flipbooks are an excellent resource for learning about the importance of six major elements of the American Revolution. Assign one topic a day to read about, and have children respond in the flipbook with facts, impressions, and sketches about what they’ve learned.
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16. Political Cartoons
Drawing political cartoons is an excellent way to integrate the arts into social studies in place of traditional writing activities. You can assign children a particular stamp act to doodle about, a figure to share an opinion on, or give them free rein!
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17. Mini Books
Pre-made, printable mini-books are a great resource to help students develop topical vocabulary, learn about important people from the time, and review what they have learned! Students can trace the titles of each page and color the illustrations while they learn important facts about the Revolutionary War.
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To engage artsy students, teach them how to make silhouettes of important figures like George and Martha Washington, Alexander Hamilton, etc. Use these to accompany your biographical writing pieces or as part of a presentation!
Learn More: Education Possible
19. Revolutionary Artifacts
Spark curiosity about this era with this fun teapot-painting kit. Children will get to learn about the hand-making processes of real historical artifacts from the American Revolution. This unique activity will teach students about popular art forms and the detail that went into each and every piece!
Learn More: Education Possible
20. 13 Colonies Geography
Children need adequate background knowledge of what exactly our country looked like in this time period before things like battles and important events make sense! To do this, you can have your students make puzzles to practice the geography of the original American colonies! Simply print two copies of a map, then cut one apart to make the pieces!
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