The most amazing thing about the outcome of the American Revolutionary War was that after the fighting was over, the colonies agreed on a new government and wrote a new constitution. A new nation was born, the United States of America. George Washington was a pivotal part of the creation of the new nation.
Learning about the Constitution
Lesson Objective: The Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 with the goal to fix the Articles of Confederation, which kept the 13 colonies loosely bound by a weak central government. The main problems with the Articles of Confederation were that there was no executive to raise taxes, lead an army, or negotiate with foreign powers. The suggested creation of a new constitution solved these problems, but the representatives from the 13 colonies needed to negotiate for months to come to an agreement on what the new government would look like. (Copywork sentence: The Constitution created three branches of government: the Executive, the legislative, and the judiciary.)
I find the creation of the Constitution to be a miraculous time, with the delegates led by God to come to compromises and find solutions. However you feel about the Constitutional Convention, it is nice to see it’s creation in terms of American history. For the youngest kids, maybe you don’t need to do much. For others, it may be fun to discuss some of the events and issues delegates faced. How easy would it be to have your own group (family/class) compromise as you create your own government or rules?
- Read We the Kids by David Catrow to understand the preamble and have the kids could make their own preamble of rights.
- Read A More Perfect Union by Betsey Maestro* and test your knowledge of the Constitutional Convention with digital task cards.
- Learn the Preamble to the Constitution with a free copywork download of the Preamble.
- Role play two people at the Convention to learn the main issues that needed compromises
- Celebrate the Constitution (lesson plan for grades 3-5) at Scholastic and write a classroom constitution
- Consider the rights we have as citizens: Why Should We Care? Lesson plan
- Rules lesson plan: why laws and rules are so important with the Pass the Eraser game
- Visit The Government Publications Office for a fun interactive Ben’s Guide to the U.S. Government
- Fact versus opinion case: The Case of the Stolen Bicycle Lesson plan
- What is a fair trial for Goldilocks vs Three Bears? Choose an impartial jury Lesson plan
- Conduct a Mock Trial for Yertle the Turtle
- Learn more all about the Constitutional Convention
Learning about George Washington
Lesson Objective: George Washington, who was a wealthy landowner from Virginia, served in the French and and Indian War, led the Continental army during the Revolutionary War, and then was elective both the president of the Constitutional Convention and the first president of the new United States of America. (Copywork sentence: George Washington was the first president of the United States.)
Learning about George Washington is very important since he was the first president of our country. Although he was given much power, he did not overstep the Presidency. Because he was first, he set the precedent for how the Constitution should be interpreted. See some explanations about the significant precedents he set (geared for teachers or older students).
George Washington’s Teeth by Deborah Chandra & Madeleine Comora is a humorous but true rhymed story about George Washington’s dental problems, from 1773 until his death. Did you know that poor George had horrible teeth and only had one natural tooth remaining at his inauguration as president? The book is a lot of fun as it shows the number of teeth George has at each of the major events. Plus is shows funny ways that he lost his teeth. rotten teeth I suppose are never funny (and George Washington would be rolling in his grave to know we are laughing at it since he hid his dental issues from the public his whole life) but maybe it will prompt your kids to brush more often! You could also make a teeth mold like George did to make his fake ones.
Farmer George Plants a Nation by Peggy Thomas* focuses on George Washington’s true love: running his farm in Mount Vernon) and compares his work on his farm to his political work in building the new nation. I loved the honest look at how his life may have been (with slaves and with the need to run a farm) and I loved that it showed his own innovations to improve the way the farm ran. He tested various fertilizers, he invented a plow, he designed an indoor threshing barn. As he watched over soldiers during the war years, he requested accounts of the farm animals, the new orchard, and more.
Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.
he wrote in 1788. So ends this gorgeous picture book as well.
More learning ideas:
- George Washington and the General’s Dog by Frank Murphy helps give personality to General Washington during the war years!
- George Washington’s Breakfast by Jean Fritz. Read the book and make some George Washington food.
- George Washington’s Mother by Jean Fritz.
- George Washington’s Birthday by Margaret McNamara. A funny story about George’s childhood to help separate true from fiction.
- Plan a birthday party and parade for George Washington
- George Did It by Suzanne Tripp Germain*
- Sing Yankee Doodle and write a verse about George Washington
- Play the Journey to the Presidency board game
- See what it took to feed the Continental Army during the Siege of Boston
- George Washington’s First Victory by Stephen Krensky
- Examine George Washington’s character traits
- Learn how to dress up like George Washington and his contemporaries
- Read Washington’s 110 Rules of Civility. What manners are still expected today?
- Make a George Washington peg doll or do another George Washington craft
- See the Smithsonian Institute teachers’ guide to George Washington
Check back tomorrow for more American History learning ideas!