The Articles of Confederation are a key stepping stone to the United States Constitution as it exists today. Students need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation in order to understand how and why changes were made by early politicians. The better understanding that students have, the better they will be able to analyze the Constitution and the three branches of government. The activities below will help students get a better grasp on the Articles and their impact on today’s government. Here are 25 awesome activities to teach the Articles of Confederation!
1. BrainPOP Lesson
This resource provides a video as well as a graphic organizer for students to complete. Using the resources, kids will understand the purpose of the Articles of Confederation and how the national government uses them in practice. This lesson is best suited for grades 6-12.
Learn More: BrainPOP Educators
2. Try, Try Again
This lesson is for 4th and 5th graders. Students will match the terms in the Articles of Confederation with the new terms outlined in the United States Constitution. This lesson will help students understand how the Articles of Confederation impacted the central government.
Learn More: The Mailbox
3. Articles of Confederation Simulation
There’s nothing more engaging or educational than having students participate in a simulation where they recreate history. This Articles of Confederation simulation will help students understand how the Articles were created, how the structure of government impacts decisions, and how the Articles became a basis of government.
Learn More: Mike Clancy
4. Articles of Confederation Analysis
This task was created by a national board-certified teacher. She engages students with the actual text of the Articles of Confederation as well as detailed discussion questions that promote student thought and analysis of the text.
Learn More: DOCSTeach
5. Articles of Confederation Timeline Game
This game from BrainPop has students place events in order. As they place the events in the timeline, they get points. Each event includes a detailed description, which helps students remember facts and important pieces of information.
Learn More: BrainPOP
6. Rags to Riches Millionaire Game
This is another game that kids can play online to review the Articles of Confederation. In a Who Wants to be a Millionaire game style, students can play the game with a small group, as a whole class, or individually.
Learn More: Quia
7. Articles of Confederation Arcade Games
This website is a great resource to help kids practice skills and vocabulary important to the Articles of Confederation. Students can choose from classic arcade games where they will be asked trivia questions about the Articles of Confederation in order to advance in the game.
Learn More: Classtools.net
8. Articles of Confederation vs. Constitution
This lesson helps students compare and contrast the Articles of Confederation with the Constitution. Students will look at the strengths and weaknesses of both approaches to government as well as the limitations of each of the three branches of government.
Learn More: OSU.edu
9. Short Answer Response
This lesson uses both a visual aid as well as a short answer response to help students recognize the flaws of the Articles of Confederation. Students will analyze the weaknesses of the articles and provide evidence to support their claims.
Learn More: Articles of Confederation
10. Articles of Confederation Quizlet
Quizlet helps kids practice vocabulary words and dates related to the Articles of Confederation. They can use flashcard-style reviews, play games, or take quizzes to test their knowledge.
Learn More: Quizlet
11. Write Your Own
After reviewing the Articles of Confederation and its strengths and weaknesses, have kids write their own set of governing rules. They can work in small groups or as an entire class to create a government plan. This hands-on learning activity is both memorable and effective!
Learn More: Building a Nation
12. Around the World
Compare the Articles of Confederation to preambles from around the world. Use a Venn diagram to help students organize their thinking. Teachers can choose a country to compare, or each group of students can choose their own.
Learn More: Constitute
13. Listen to a Podcast
Podcasts are a great tool for aural learners. This podcast introduces the Articles of Confederation in an easy-to-understand way. This podcast covers its strengths and weaknesses as well as how the Articles came to be and how they were replaced.
Learn More: Civics101: A Podcast
14. “Attend” a Lesson at the National Constitution Center
The National Constitution Center posts free web lessons that students can view at any time. This lesson reviews the principles of the Articles of Confederation and engages students in a discussion about the Articles; focusing on analysis and key governing concepts.
Learn More: Constitution Center
There are many books about the Articles of Confederation, the American government, and the Constitution. Any of these books would make a great read-a-loud at any grade level.
Learn More: Amazon
16. Internet Scavenger Hunt
One of the best ways to teach new skills is to have students research the topic on their own. Have students do an online scavenger hunt to find important vocabulary words, skills, and concepts related to the Articles of Confederation.
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17. Complete an Escape Room
This digital escape room engages students to learn about the Articles of Confederation in a unique way. The escape room is provided on Google Drive and includes 20 pages. Kids will love trying to escape while learning about the Articles of Confederation.
Learn More: Think Tank
18. Signer Biographies
Have students learn more about the promoters and signers of the Articles of Confederation. Students can complete a biography project individually or in pairs. They can research one of the signers, complete a biography poster, and then share it with the class.
Learn More: Constitution Facts
19. Crossword Puzzles
Teachers can create their own crossword puzzles or they can use one of the premade ones that are easily found online. As an added bonus, teachers can have students create their own crosswords. Have students test their knowledge and complete a crossword puzzle based on the Articles of Confederation.
Learn More: WordMint
20. Rules, Rules, Rules
This activity and game is a great way to introduce the Articles of Confederation and government units to a class. Students will pass an eraser or other object around the room, but the rules will keep changing. Students will then discuss why and when rules are important.
Learn More: American Bar
21. Crash Course
This YouTube crash course video is great for introducing concepts to students at the beginning of a constitution unit. It explores the Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, and Federalism.
Learn More: CrashCourse
22. How Government Has Changed
This series of lessons begins with The Articles of Confederation and analyzes the changes to government procedures over time. Students will analyze why and how changes were made from the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution as it stands today.
Learn More: LOC
23. Read the Story of the Articles of Confederation
America’s Library is a great resource for all things history. There are two pages on The Articles of Confederation that explain the basic concepts of how the Articles were written and why. In closing, the read encourages students to think about what they would change and why.
Learn More: America’s Library
24. Interactive “Creating the Constitution”
This interactive web activity from the Library of Congress takes students through the creation of the Constitution, including the Articles of Confederation. Students will look at primary sources and other resource types to explore our government.
Learn More: LOC
25. Analyze a Political Cartoon
Political cartoons offer key insights into the overall morale and temperature of the nation. Teachers can have students analyze a political cartoon on the Articles of Confederation and then have students create their own.
Learn More: ShowMe