Best Resources for Teaching the American Revolution

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Although the years covering the American Revolution were an extremely exciting time to live through, if this period is not taught well, it can be an extremely unexciting time to study.

My 7th grader and I finished this a few weeks ago – and she really enjoyed it. Here are a few resources we used, or I have used in the past that help bring it to life:

Liberty Kids

Liberty Kids began life as a half hour TV program. 4 children and Benjamin Franklin have various adventures from 1773 – 1789. These are great American Revolution videos for kids. All the episodes are now available on Youtube on the LibertyKidsTV channel. You can also get the whole series on DVD. Here is the Boston Tea Party episode.

In addition to the videos, there is also a supporting website – libertyskids.com. Here you will find games, information that will be useful for class projects, and the ability to make a newspaper set in this time period. Awesome stuff!!

And …yes, there is still more.

There is also a fun CD Rom game. My daughter really enjoyed playing it a few years ago when we last studied the American Revolution. You play the game in the role of reporter and get to interview people like George Washington, Molly Pitcher and Benedict Arnold. The characters require you to give them certain objects, which you first have to find.

Your interviews are recorded in your notebook, and eventually you will be ready to publish the newspaper. The game changes each time you play which makes it good value for money. Kids do need to be able to read to play it.

Johnny Tremain

We read the book together a few years ago, and then this year she watched the movie with a friend. She did prefer the book, but both are a great way to reinforce what it was like living at that time.

The book was a Newbery Award winner, and it is an exciting page-turner of the adventures of a young silversmith during 1773.

The Sherwood Ring

We have just finished reading The Sherwood Ring – one of my all-time favorites. The story begins in the present with Peggy moving to live with her uncle who she has never met. Family ghosts visit Peggy and give her a window into the past and help her unravel the mysteries she is faced with in her new life.

The past she learns about, was a past that happened during the American War of Independence. While the reader is focusing on the exciting story, they are also learning many historical facts without even noticing.

American Revolution Jigsaw Puzzle

If you and your kids like jigsaw puzzles, I an heartily recommend this American Revolution one. Like all White Mountain Jigsaw Puzzles it is well made and easy to work with.

Making the jigsaw puzzle with your children gives you the opportunity to review what they have learned. As you put pieces together, quiz them on the details. Look up facts you perhaps didn’t know before.

 

 

George Washington’s World

Don’t be put off by the uninspiring cover. George Washington’s World is a history book that tells history like it should be told – like a story! If you homeschool, or have sufficient time as a parent to read the whole book to your kids, do it.

My children far prefer this to Story of the World (which also tells the ‘story’ of history) as it provides a lot more detail and really draws you into the story. If you teach a class, you could still use some of the chapters to read aloud. It really is very well written.

Mission US Games

Mission US Thinkfast! is a really fun app – and a challenging one – to quiz kids on the 18th century in the USA. (The app also contains a Mission set in the 19th century). You have to answer questions to move yourself around Boston chasing after a puppy. You have to do this in 5 minutes.

The game can also be played on their website – mission-us.org. On the website there is an additional game – an adventure game “For Crown or Colony” aimed at 5th-8th graders that teaches the causes of the American Revolution. You play as Nat, an apprentice in a printer’s shop and have various to tasks to perform as the story unfolds.

A few more American Revolution Resources

For older students I can also recommend the John Adams mini series. It is long, very long, but my husband and I watched it over a number of sessions with our boys and we all loved it.

For completeness I want to mention the musical 1776. It is really fun and very enjoyable BUT it does contain quite a lot of bad language, although it is rated PG. This means you couldn’t show it in a classroom session, and you may not want to show it at home either.

So, what have you used to teach The American Revolution? Any more ideas?

**Main blog picture courtesy of jimmiehomeschoolmom. Visit her great website at Jimmiescollage.com.

 

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One comment

  1. Jimmie says:

    Can you believe that I thought American history terribly boring in high school? I never knew how interesting it was until I homeschooled my daughter. Living books make all the difference. (The links is perfect. Thanks!)
    Jimmie recently posted..The Beauty of Homebound Homeschool

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